When the average person thinks about public relations or marketing, they likely think about media relations, news releases and outreach that stems from announcements or proactive ideas. But case studies, when executed properly, are an underrated and vital part of an effective PR strategy.
Consider a case study to be the dark horse of your media and promotional strategy. It may not have the punchy slogans of paid advertisements or the newsworthiness of a new and upcoming announcement. But without case studies, where is the proof of a company's value? It is easy to talk about how innovative your client’s new technology solution is or how a given company presents the remedy for a societal issue, but without evidence and third-party validation, these topics can appear to be all talk.
The Creation Process
To construct an effective case study, it’s vital to have a partnership with the company you plan to feature in that particular use case. An initial sourcing call or interview to discuss their experience with your client’s technology or product is a great starting point. By having this conversation, it will be easier to build your case study in a way that tells a cohesive and dynamic story from start to finish.
Be sure you speak with your client about their target audience as well. This will help formulate the direction of the case study in terms of whether it should focus on the niche pain points of the customer or if it should broadly discuss the capabilities of the technology as a whole.
During your sourcing call, ask questions that address the macro issues that technology is solving, as well as more granular questions about this customer’s experience working with the technology. Suppose the case study will be read by reporters who are experts in the field or prospective customers with deep familiarity with the technology. In that case, it is important to write with authority and a firm understanding of the technology being discussed. This interview is the optimal time to garner that information for your case study and to improve your recommendations as you continue future partnerships with the client.
After a sourcing call, you should be prepared to write a first draft of the case study. After introducing your client, their customer and the challenges at hand, you’ll have the opportunity to explain the technology solution being implemented, describe what the process of getting started was like and portray a real-world experience of how working with that technology solution looks.
Any visuals, such as charts, graphics or images of the product in action, can also be helpful and make the case study all the more dynamic.
Be Sure to Quantity Your Results
While all of this is important, perhaps the most critical component in an effective use case is results. These results could range from how much time or money was saved by deploying the solution to more niche benefits specific to this particular use case. Numbers and statistics are almost always a helpful way to objectively prove your point and showcase your client’s product in action. A case study alone is already a strong display of success, but quantifiable results highlight this type of third-party validation.
How Can I Promote My Case Study?
Once you have written your case study and sought feedback and approval from both your client and the featured customer, it’s time to publish the article. While the optimal route for publication certainly varies on a case-by-case basis, consider your desired results for the outcome of your case study.
It may be a good fit for a particular reporter. If so, and if your contacts are open to speaking with the media, the case study could be an excellent proactive pitch opportunity.
If your client wants to use it to uplevel their website content, encourage them to share it on social media after it has been published to drive traffic back to the site and increase readership.
Though often overlooked, case studies are essential in proving your client’s value in their given sector. Be thoughtful in how you source information for these case studies, leverage quantifiable results when possible and promote your case study appropriately to get the right eyes on it. By following these steps, you can show a real-life, contextualized example of why your client’s technology is successful and what results it can offer.