How To Write A Case Study In 3 Easy Steps

The Fairy Tale Formula

Fairy tales never start with happily ever after. When writing a case study on a service your business provided to a client, you may be tempted to start with your business as the knight in shining armour who came to the rescue. That would be like reading the last pages of a new story — it just wouldn’t make sense.

Think of a case study as a story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. So rather than starting with great success you achieved, but it’s much better to start with the ‘before’ picture and to position your client as an active hero of the story right from the start.

1. What dragons had to be slayed?
Start your case study with the challenges the client faced. Did they want to lower their operational cost? Launch a new product? Did they have to ward of competitors in their kingdom? 
Remember: Every hero needs a strong goal at the start of a story. What was your client’s business goal?
2. The middle is always about adventure
This is where you tell of how you worked together with the client to find a solution to a problem or helped them achieve their goal. What service did you deliver? Why did they choose your company? How did this adventure play out?
Remember: Don’t think of your client as the princess locked in the tower. That will make them look weak and they won’t agree to the case study. Rather show your company as part of their brave army — ready to take on the world.
3. Returning with the prize
The final section of your case study should focus on how the hero — your client — triumphed. Focus on the real business value they achieved, and not on the success your company achieved. Write about how they’ve become much better at their business and achieved the prize they so strenuously sought.
Remember:  Tell your best story. You want people reading the case study on your website to think ‘These people really help their clients achieve their goals’ – not ‘Oh, boy, this company likes to boast about its achievements.’

Make it a movie!

A case study is really just a business fairy tale that came true — so make sure you tell it as a story, and back it up with the right facts. Remember you can turn the story into a movie too — a case study can be turned into a video, animation, or infographic. 

Just as kids like a short bedtime story before turning it, your readers want something short and punchy they can read or watched on a train or over a cup of coffee. Keep it short.

If you want to learn how to write for business, join us for  The Plain Language Programme.

 by Anthony Ehlers

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