How to write a case study

Few types of literature hold a reader’s attention like a story. That’s probably why case studies abound. Also known as success stories, they portray your company’s offering in a real-world setting that your target audience can easily understand. You can use a case study to explain how a customer successfully solved a problem or created value using your offering.

And in a time-pressed world, magazine editors sometimes lift case studies as written and paste them into their publications – print or online!

To read a sample case study, click here.

Sample structure

Here is a basic structure you can use to organize a case study:

Customer profile

Describe your customer’s business in a quick paragraph.

Customer situation/problems

Include all causes and consequences. Where possible, use both qualitative (e.g., ease of use) and quantitative (e.g., cost savings) data.

Options considered

Quickly list the choices the customer investigated when deciding how to deal with the problem. Introduce your company and solution here.

Option chosen

State that the customer chose your offering and list the reasons why. These should match the causes and consequences you mentioned at the beginning.

Problem solved

Give data that shows clear and valuable improvement over the customer’s previous situation. This is the best place to put customer quotes, but quotes can be scatttered throughout the case study.

Contact names

Offer readers phone numbers and email addresses for both sales and media relations representatives.

Tips

  • Before you begin your project, ask the customer to participate in the case study.
  • Make sure your customer signs off on both the idea and the final copy.
  • Keep the study as brief as possible – one to three pages should do the trick. Four is acceptable if you include graphics.
  • You can use an abridged version of a case study as part of other materials.
  • Focus on the customer – the struggles prior to engaging your firm, the positive effects of doing so and any quotes that the customer offers.
  • During the project, keep objective records of improvements sought and ask the customer to verify them.
  • Avoid the hard sell – let the customer praise you. Credibility is easier to build when praise comes from other people.

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