According to the B2B Marketing report, 66% of marketers surveyed answered that case studies were the most effective content format. In Eccolo Media’s B2B Technology Content Survey Report, case studies are the third-most influential content format, just behind white papers and datasheets.
An efficient case study format includes issues — the reasons it was written —, an environmental analysis — problems and opportunities that must be examined by the leader —, and how products and services from businesses help solving the original point.
This piece of content convinces your clients to stay with your brand and is also an important inbound marketing strategy, attaching emotional content to sales presentations and helping your company gain trust.
Keep reading! We will give you some tips to structure a perfect case study format.
How to write an awesome case study format?
First, you must be realistic. Do not write about things that never happened or do not make case studies bigger to appear better. Using some data, you can improve the narrative and convince your reader.
Storytelling is the most important narrative to give life to your case study and to set you apart. To do this, follow the classic narrative arc: using between 200 and 300 words, introduce the client as well as the problems they are trying to resolve.
Then, you can talk about the solution, with a brief explanation of what drove the client to seek out the products, before going into more depth about how they use it. You could add direct quotes and data to be highly effective in the end.
When using storytelling in your case study, you need a conclusion to follow on from the main body. Avoid needless words and be a professional writer: use a persuasive discourse with action words, such as discover, learn, or unveil.
Following this structure — problem, solution, result, and conclusion, just like a hero’s journey —, you can drive more clients to know and like your brand.
What to do before writing a case study?
The case study writing process includes written planning and information structuring. In this first step, you have to identify your subject, considering how much does the customer or organization uses your product or service.
Also, think about how long they’ve been using this and if they had a positive result that would make a good story. Your sales team could suggest who might be willing to participate.
Ask for an authorization to talk about it. You can write a permission letter to do this and here is a template you can adapt to your needs:
Hi, [name of person],
We are conducting a case study and my team would like to tell the story of [name of company]. Would you be interested in working with us to create a case study around the use of our product? Here’s a description of our process and what we would need from you.
The process begins with an interview: it could be at your office or by phone or video call. Our marketing team will build a story out of it. We would also need to use some email conversations — to gather extra information —, a high-resolution company logo, images of your team and your company office, and some stats — before and after you used our products and/or services.
Once the final draft is complete, we will send it over to you for review. We will also create a landing page and build a campaign around it. In the end, we will share the final story with you.
Then, you can schedule the interview and formulate questions to do it. Make sure that you have a way to document it — a recording device or even note-taking.
The questionnaire will help you get the necessary information to develop the story of your case study. Check out some potential questions below:
- What does your company do?
- What is your work process?
- What are your goals as a business?
- How long have you been using our product or service?
- What problem did you experience before using our product or service?
- Did your problem happen suddenly or did it occur over time?
- Why did you select our product or service, preferably of a competitor?
- What solutions did you try before you came to us?
- What materials did you read or watch that influenced your decision?
- How did our product/service solve a problem you were experiencing?
- What tasks did our product or service simplify for you?
- How much time did you save?
- What tasks did our product or service eliminate?
- What difficulties did you face in the transition process?
- What advice do you have for anyone implementing our product into their work process now?
- Could you share some data and metrics to demonstrate this success?
How to structure a study case format to engage the website audience?
Downloadable PDF is the most common study case format, but it could be shared as a website page section, a video, or a slide presentation.
Although the content itself is more important than the appearance, some rules could organize ideas to make reading more attractive and fluid. Check out which items are essential for this:
- title: it should include the company or product name, identify the customer, and the result, but it must not exceed 67 characters;
- executive summary: this is a section summarizing the content;
- the subject: could be about the company or their product or service;
- problem or challenge: what did the client have difficulty achieving before using your product or service;
- solution: how did the company or product solve the problem or challenge;
- results: describe the results and use statistics, if possible.
- quotes: pick some quotes to feature in strategic parts of the case study;
- plans: in the end, tell what your subject requires for the future.
- CTA: not every case study needs a call to action, but this could induce the readers to pay attention to the website, or product.
Make your conclusion action-oriented: tell the reader what to do next and how to do it. You should use interactive content to make your case story format truly engaging.
Hundreds of leading brands and agencies entrust their interactive marketing experiences to ION Interactive. Read some of their stories here.