So, You Want to Write a Case Study

Hold on, what a terrible way to introduce a blog, especially one about case studies. No one actually wants to write a case study. It can be a long process that doesn’t exactly deliver thrills at every turn. Let me start over: You’ve heard you should have some case studies, and you’re trying to figure out how to write one.

This is good, because case studies are one of the most useful marketing tools out there, especially for business to business (or “B2B” in business jargon) companies, products, and services. In fact, case studies are not only among the most common pieces of marketing collateral—70 percent of companies use them—but they’re also considered to be the most effective, ranked second only to in-person events.

But, let’s be honest here: Writing marketing content can be a slog, and case studies are no exception. To make your job even tougher, everyone seems to have different (and often contradictory) opinions about how to actually go about writing one. Continue reading

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Filed under content marketing, writing

The Only Rules for Writing You Need to Know

There are three rules for writing. Continue reading

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March 10, 2015 · 2:20 pm

Anatomy of a Case Study

Okay, I’ve got some good news and I’ve got some bad news, and conveniently, they happen to be the same thing: There’s no one “correct” way to write a case study. That’s good because it gives you a lot of flexibility to create a marketing tool to meet your specific needs; it’s bad because it gives you an almost unlimited number of ways to tell the customer story. This can lead to frustration at best, and all out writer’s block at worst. Continue reading

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Filed under about section, challenge section, future section, results section, solution section

Keep It Simple, Superwriter!

In my last post, I laid out the four (sometimes five) “classic” parts of a case study. One thing I forgot to mention: If you follow the basic structure when you write your case study—About, Challenge, Solution, Results, and (maybe) Future—it will be much easier to tell your customer story in a clear, coherent way. Continue reading

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Finding Customers: Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are

The single most important ingredient of a successful customer case study is… a customer. Most large companies have entire teams devoted to building relationships with “reference customers,” but if it’s just you or one or two of your colleagues, you’ll have to be a bit smarter and more strategic in tracking down customers who are willing to help you. Continue reading

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Selling Your Customers on Case Studies

The whole point of a case study is to help you sell more of your stuff. You know it, I know it, and your customers know it. But, why should your customers care about helping you sell more stuff? They shouldn’t, and in fact, they probably don’t care. They have their own stuff to sell, and rather than waste valuable time talking to you, they’d prefer to focus on their own business. In other words, they have 99 problems, but your case study isn’t one. Continue reading

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What to Look for in a Case Study Customer

As wonderful as your customers are, not all of them will be right for a case study. Some might have lackluster stories to tell, or maybe they don’t know how to tell those stories in the first place. Enthusiasm can do a lot, but it often can’t make up for a lack of solid content.

It’s your job to separate the good customers from the not so good. Continue reading

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Filed under customers, the process