How to write case studies and why are they important? These are the questions we are gonna answer today. The short version is because they give potential clients a window into how you work. A little longer version would include explaining the importance of stories.
The film director Jean Luc Godard is often cited saying that ‘Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form.’ and it’s hard not to like this quote. You see, stories are less commonly found in approaches to change management, but they can be really useful. They enable teams to discuss in groups the problem they are trying to solve. They provide a reference point to return to when things get murky. And they also offer a structure, which is very important.
Now, back to our question. How to write case studies? Since it’s not always easy to come up with a case study, we shared the most important steps and some additional tips and tricks.
Step #1: Highlight Your Most Important Projects
To be clear, you shouldn’t go and create a case study for every single final project. It’s more two-to-three projects that will show the arc of how you solve your clients’ needs.
The whole goal of writing case studies is to show how you arrived from point A to point B on a project. Whereas a forever-scrolling page of all your favorite work will be an overload of information, a handful of case studies offers up everything a reader needs to learn about you.
Be sure to delve deep into your own work and choose the right projects. The tricky part here is that people are prone to be subjective toward their work, so they end up choosing their favorite projects rather than going with the most suitable ones for this particular job. Avoid that.
And don’t be discouraged. Case studies are actually among the most challenging types of content to create, whether you’re writing them for yourself, your business, or a client. They’re challenging even for seasoned professional writers and subject matter experts.
Step #2: Share A Bit About Your Process
How did you get from the problem to your solution?
The process section should describe how you approached solving the client’s problem and why you made the decision(s) to approach the project this way. It’s helpful for prospects because it gives them a glimpse into the experience of working with you.
You’ll want to present clients with a walkthrough of your research and workflow as well as with iterations at various stages of the process.
Collaboration is another thing that’ll make you stand out. Your case studies show both your talent and your ability to work within a team, to listen to criticism, and work together to make changes everyone can be proud of. While writing out your case studies, be honest about your thought process and be clear when ideas come from others.
Step #3: Now, Showcase The Final Product And Share Results
This is the place to truly impress your prospects. Take screenshots. Include links. Record a video. Do anything to showcase the final product in the best way possible.
But don’t forget, and this is very important, to show the numbers. Success metrics could be qualitative (a testimonial or press quote), quantitative (KPIs), or better yet, both.
And I’m sorry to say this, but it’s more than likely that your target audience won’t read your case study verbatim. Instead, they’ll probably just skim it for keywords and phrases. That’s why it’s especially important to support your written case study content with compelling visuals, which tell the story of your work in pictures.
How To Write Case Studies: What A Case Study Is Not
Case studies are not press releases. Although case studies can be used to accompany new product launches, they are not merely vehicles to talk about new products.
Case studies are not advertisements. They can be used to advertise new products or features, but it’s not about you.
Good case studies are about the customer’s journey, NOT your company.
Most case studies are bland and instantly forgettable because people ignore the fact that case studies are stories in the most literal sense. They get preoccupied with things like brand voice and forget to leverage the narrative form that makes the stories so compelling.
How To Write Case Studies: Additional Tips And Tricks
Different styles for different projects
Each study can have a different style and in fact, it should. You need to create an experience based on each project you’ve worked on. Choose different mockups to help differentiate and set them apart.
Hire a professional
You do not have to do it all alone. Using a professional to write a case story or edit a draft you have written can be a very smart move. Given the obvious role that case stories can play in your content marketing campaign, it’s essential to get it right.
Have mercy on your readers and avoid industry jargon and acronyms. A surprising number of readers will not understand what you are trying to communicate. The key here is to lay the situation out simply and to make your success easy to understand for any reader. Make your case stories easy to skim. Use short sentences, descriptive headings and bullet points.
Now, the copywriter in me wants to encourage you to take one more step – include a call to action. Even if you hate them. Even if selling feels a little strange to you. Push yourself to sell just a little bit right here.
Your potential client just read a story and enjoyed it. Might have seen images of your work and is probably excited to work with you. So don’t be shy, make it easy…tell your potential client what to do next.
That will be all. See you next week.