Monday, 05 October 2015 14:59 Written by

How to structure a case study


case studyWhether for presenting online or in print, a case study should be engaging and informative and most of all let the benefits of working with you shine. It should demonstrate how you helped others with a problem or issue they had.

Follow these simple steps for how to structure a case study, and you'll soon be sharing your customer success stories with others. A case study is also an ideal place to work in the Watertight Marketing Logic Sandwich concept - top and tail with emotion (see page 48 and 49 of the book).

Tone of voice

Each and every case study you present should always set the scene for your company as this could in fact be the first piece of content anyone has ever read from your company. It should in plain speaking language, but not dull or too corporate. It still has to be ‘a good read’.

In addition, it must adhere to your tone of voice guidelines, and the spelling and naming conventions that appear in your corporate guidelines.

Word count and visuals

Ideally your case study should fit onto two pages of A4 and in a branded/styled style (top and tailed with corporate information if for a download or printed version). For web, it should take no longer than 5-10 minutes to read and should always be accompanied by the case study’s featured company’s logo, and some relevant imagery (also to your brand guidelines style).

Structure

  • Headline: Use a compelling headline that mentions at least the company of focus’s name and the solution you provided (product or service). 8-12 words where possible and never over more than two lines.
  • Synopsis: Directly after the headline should be a short summary that encapsulates the problem they had. This should be accompanied by their logo, or picture of the person giving the case study. +/- 40 words.
  • Bullet point summary: Near the synopsis (and therefor at the beginning of the case study) should be an 'at a glance’ pull-out of bullets that summarises:
    • Who the case study is about (company name)
    • What their type of business/industry sector is
    • Their requirement
    • A brief list of the benefits they got from using your product or service
  • Customer quote: Next there should be a short customer quote/pull-out that must also be cited by the person giving the quote. This can be a short snippet from a longer quote that should be somewhere else in the case study and can also be accompanies by an image (them, or one of your own relevant to the story). 15-25 words.

NOTE: If on an A4 printed version, all of the above should be on page one (front side). The overleaf would then be:

  • Recap: A recap/summary pull-out of the above or (you don’t need this for a web page).
  • Case Study Detail: Three of four paragraphs outlining the problem, the solution and the outcome. 500-600 words. Abiding to tone of voice guidelines and in the third person. If you have an SEO strategy, key words and meta data should be considered.
  • Rest of/Full Customer Quote.
  • Call to action.

At the end of the day, these notes are just a starting pint. Your copywriter may also have ideas about structure and headings, but it's all about helping people evaluate you and presenting them with the proof of your proverbial pudding so to speak. Good luck and 'go case study'!

 

You might also like to read about where you might be leaking profit. Take a look at the Watertight Marketing profit leaks here >

Cheryl Crichton

Helps small businesses stop wasting money on marketing

Watertight Marketing Certified Practitioner, MCIM Chartered Marketer and mentor

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