No Business Is Too Small to Make Headlines with Case Studies
In a crowded media landscape, case studies capture an editor’s attention. Caster writes case studies for many of our clients, pitching them for placement, using them to showcase work on client websites, and using them to book interviews on the topic – and our clients’ marketing teams continue to see momentum in campaigns and on social media.
Case studies can be a tool for any size company, and are great for those who sell services instead of products. Here’s how small to large-sized businesses can succeed with case studies that make headlines:
Save Your Assets
Photos are a necessity to getting the most out of a case study in a PR, marketing, or social media program. Set your case study up for success with the right assets: Take photos throughout your project process, or hire a photographer to take photos of the finished work.
Before you start a project, discuss your intentions with the client and get their agreement using a common photo release (here’s a good example). And, if you work with a photographer, make sure you get the rights/licensing to use the photos wherever you’re planning – social media, marketing assets, editorial, etc.
In addition to photos, track details of the project like scopes of work, products used, processes, results, etc. The more technical detail you can include, the better.
Find Your Angle
Writing an interesting case study takes more than logging every detail. Craft a newsworthy angle of the project:
- Timeliness: A current topic, meaning a recent event or project. This can also mean seasonal, sharing a project of a pool or outdoor installation in time for spring or summer, for example. Or it could highlight how your technology or service helped the end customer get results faster.
- Proximity: The region that the project is located, or where the company is located, can open up doors to press that cover that area might be interested in it. If you completed a big project in Utah, for example, it would be relevant to media in that area.
- Human Interest: Having an appeal to emotion, case studies with human interest could be about solving a problem for a family, like caregiving, or fundraising for a cause, helping the community, etc.
- Prominence: If the case study is related to or about a famous person (or their home), a well-known business customer, etc.
- Significance: Usually refers to the size of the project, such as “the largest lighting system in the area”, “first 8K home theater”, etc.
Developing the newsworthiness of your case study as you write it will ensure that it’ll capture headlines once it’s completed. Highlight what’s special about the project across the above five elements – you might hit two at most.
Anatomy of A Case Study
Case studies should be straightforward, presenting the information factually and with detail. They typically are presented in the following format:
- Challenge: The problem you had to solve, or the demand from the client.
- Solution: How you approached the project, including tools, processes, troubleshooting, team collaboration, etc.
- Results: How did it turn out? Was the client pleased? Paint a picture of the results of your work, describing the experience and/or impact.
To pump up your case study, include quotes from your customer, collaborators, and staff who worked on the project. When writing your case study, be careful not to include jargon – target your tone and language to suit the audience you’re trying to reach. Load up on the technical details if you want to reach a business-to-business (B2B) audience, or lend more explanation if you’re targeting a consumer (B2C) group. Read more on how to tailor your writing for B2C vs. B2C in this blog post.
“Pitch It Real Good”
If you want to get media coverage from your case study, you have to pitch the final project. Use the angle you worked on to make your case study newsworthy in a short pitch and send it to relevant editors. They could be B2B publications who cover similar work and projects, or they can be local newspapers and magazines with a readership of potential customers in your area. When you pitch your case study, hit on the points that make it newsworthy – and don’t forget to share your assets like photos, interviews, etc.
Case studies are a shortcut to starting media conversations, gaining recognition, and targeting new customers. Do you love case studies? Need help writing one? Sound off with us on Twitter @LauraShoebell @CasterComm.