Seven Tips for Better Case Study Storytelling

Mar 20, 2016 · 2 min read

Case studies are a principal ingredient for content marketing, yet they are often poorly executed. A case study is like a scene in a play. Know your cast.

Here are seven tips for improving published case studies from Knowlengr, who is an eager consumer of them.

Seven Case Study Tips

  1. Be discoverable. In an SEO-crazed world, you’d think case studies would be easy to find, but they’re not. Ask any writer looking for a case study that ilustrates an effective use of a product or service family. If you wrote an excerpt for SEO, let your viewer read it, too. Readers want to know if the case study is worth their time.
  2. Talk family, not instance. People need to understand the product or service family first. Don’t lead with your insignia and colors (i.e., your fancy, witty product name). (If you already dominate a market, ignore this tip.)
  3. Choose roles carefully. A well written case study is like a small scene in a play. If readers can’t relate to the characters (roles) chosen for your story, the rest of the story may seem irrelevant.
  4. Unpeel your onion, with respect. I’ve heard this one so many times that it seems pointless to list again, but so few case studies adopt it that it has to be done. If the concept or technology is complex, make sure your content reflects layers of depth being unraveled in a systematic way that respects the readers’ use of time.
  5. Make the case study artifact shareable. In addition to easy social media sharing, provide a separate, convenient downloadable PDF — perhaps on SlideShare or elsewhere. If it’s behind a registration payroll, try using an existing network instead of your own. For B2B, that’s often LinkedIn.
  6. Let your roles speak — a little. Instead of paragraph after paragraph of deep explanatory narrative, allow the characters in your story to speak — meaningfully. If it’s turning into an interview, that’s fine, but morph to interview form when you recognize it. Chatty, on the other hand, won’t work well with technical audiences, unless you’re quite witty.
  7. Provide memorable quotes or stats. Help other people tell their own stories in which yours can play some sort of role. The ultimate goal may be an order, but prospects first have to envision their stories embedding yours.

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    Knowledge Management, Business Intelligence, informaticist, writer.

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