Case studies can be defined and executed in several ways. For content marketing purposes, case studies are NOT what you think of from business school. Case studies done for marketing purposes should be visually rich, written (or video) presentations detailing success. They are typically one to three pages long or, if you produce a video, about three to five minutes.
Basic steps on how to create case studies:
Background – You can’t just jump in to what you did for a client or project. You need to give an overview. In the introductory portion, include information about the client or project and how your area of expertise matches up well. You can also include why a client selected you, whether it be industry leadership, previous success, etc. Keep in mind that a case study doesn’t always have to be what your company did for another company, but what you did for yourself as well.
Problem or Challenge – This section will state the main problem that was addressed. The problem can be any hurdle a company faces and needs to overcome in order to succeed or improve. This can include new regulations or legislation, procedure impediments, process efficiencies, workforce improvements, environment issues, etc.
Solution – The solution is the main part of the document. It describes in detail the steps you took in order to overcome the problem. In this area you will highlight how you solved the problem. Did you create an awareness campaign? Did you train employees in certain methodologies? Did you create a documentation process to follow regulations? Each solution will have multiple steps, and it is also the time to show what you and your company are capable of.
Evaluation or Results – You’ve explained the who, what, when, where, why and how, but what was the result? The evaluation section of a case study shows what you accomplished. This is where you prove your solution was effective and successful. Use concrete evidence, and be specific. Include statistics, figures or tables to explain and state what the ROI was. Did you increase sales by 23% in three months? Substantiate your claim or else you lose credibility.
- Stay focused on one issue, and do not address other problems. This is a simple, easy to follow document with one problem and one solution.
- When working on a major project, document it as you go. You miss details when you write them retrospectively.
- Make sure you get permission, in writing, from any client, partner or other participant to use their name, image or logo before you publish.
- Keep it simple. Don’t weigh down your study with useless fluff because you think it sounds good. And don’t overuse statistics. Make your point and let the work speak for itself. It should be easy and enjoyable to read.
Case studies can be an influential marketing tool when done correctly. You can create a refined, polished example of why outside businesses should buy from, partner with, or contract work from your company. Case studies can act as a reference that gives you credibility and validation. Building a repertoire of case studies is great for content marketing. You get to showcase your work without bragging and have the opportunity to reach out to other potential customers and show them how you can help.
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