Everyone loves a great story. As PR professionals, we love digging down into the heart of what our clients are working on or have accomplished, because there’s no better way to get a reporter’s attention than with a good old-fashioned success story. Case studies, if used correctly, can go beyond marketing collateral and serve as a great asset for the PR team to showcase a real-life example of how the client drove actual, tangible results for their customers and to build credibility with media they’re working with.
Before compiling a case study, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:
- Get permission from your client’s customer to be named or referenced within the text. A strong case study is best used for media purposes when a client is willing to be included because reporters are interested in specifics when referencing examples in their stories. Apple, for instance, sounds way more credible and will pique more interest than “top-tier consumer and electronics company.”
- Talk to the right person. This can be a marketing lead or a sales representative who was there and saw it all, and can offer real insight into how the project, campaign, program or product was initiated.
- Ask the right questions about the challenges they were looking to solve for the client and the solution they implemented — including key developmental stages and processes. If you’re frequently writing case studies, it might be beneficial to develop a questionnaire template that you can easily reference to get to the heart of the story you’re trying to tell. Questions should include things like what areas of the company’s operations were in need of improvement and why, why your client was selected to provide their services and their area of expertise, along with what solution was created and how it was implemented.
- Determine the results that will effectively highlight the value add that your client provided their customer – and leverage as many impactful stats or data that you can to really up-level the content and drive home the success. This can be a measurement of ROI (whether a dollar amount or a percentage), costs saved, or improved efficiency (i.e. improved time to market by seven days).
While case studies are sometimes thought to be boring or dated – an old tool used in paper press kits and housed on a company’s website – they’re a great way to develop content for social media, video, or blogs and are still a valuable asset in driving media relations.