Success with Writing Case Studies
A case study is a product success story showcasing what one company did for another company in a sales or problem-solving capacity. “ABC Company just helped solve a major product purity problem by installing an advanced x-ray system for XYZ Food Processing, Inc. The result was a 95 percent improvement in detecting unwanted contamination.”
Case studies are among the most powerful sales tools because they are the most credible. They demonstrate how actual customers have succeeded in using the featured company’s product or service.
Copywriters craft these as short articles explaining how a product or service helped a company to solve a challenge or become more successful. The story includes precise numbers, direct quotes from key personnel and contact information. Companies then use the completed case study as a download on their website, as handouts for sales personnel or submit the feature to trade media for possible publication.
Writing a case study involves several steps:
– Use multiple resources to help gather background information. This includes, but is not limited to, industry trade publications, PowerPoint presentations, training manuals, product spec sheets, Internet sites and press releases
– Interview the customer at a time convenient to him or her. Interviews are usually completed over the phone and last between 30 and 45 minutes. Sometimes, you can forward a questionnaire so the interviewee knows what to expect. Also, it’s a good practice to interview a sales representative who has first-hand knowledge of the product and why the customer chose Product A over Product B.
– After fact gathering and interviewing, you’re ready to write the case study. Case studies are normally 400-1,000 words in length, written in standard feature article format. The manuscript will include headline, subheads, pull quotes, bullets and other text elements.
– Be clear about the approval process. Typically, both the client (the company/organization requesting the case study) and the customer (the company/organization using the client’s product) must review and sign off on the case study. This is particularly relevant if the case study will be ‘pitched’ to the media as a feature article. Editors want to know if the copy has been approved for publication.
A well-written case should be part of an integrated marketing communications and public relations campaign. The steps above might appear time-consuming, but the results can return your investment many times over.