How to Write a Case Study: Are You Doing It Right?

Case studies are one of the most valuable types of content your content marketing team can create. When executed well, they demonstrate your company’s ability to solve real-world problems. That’s a story that no prospect can resist. However, there are parameters and best practices to follow. We’ll review them all and show you how to write a case study for maximum results.

Why Write Case Studies?

Creating a case study is a unique form of content marketing. They are excellent for bottom-of-the-funnel (BoFU) content. At this point, your prospect is aware of their problem and the solutions available. They simply need an illustration of how implementing a product or service will work. Case studies deliver on this.

The biggest challenge in writing a case study is getting your customer to participate. Some companies have restrictions against this for legal reasons. Others may be hesitant to pull back the curtain.

You can assuage their concerns in two ways. First, assure them that you won’t include anything proprietary. Second, offer to create a version for their own use that demonstrates their capabilities.

If you’re looking for more reasons to write case studies, they include:

  • Being niche-specific: You may work with many industries, but having content relevant to a specific field improves your credibility.
  • Reiterating your expertise and ability to solve the most complex problems: Your case study illustrates the steps of the process that explain things for buyers.
  • Showing social proof: As you know, new customers want to hear what current ones have to say. A case study is much deeper than a review or testimonial. It provides an overview of a partnership with your brand.
  • Offering lead gen content: Gating a case study is a good idea. It’s valuable enough that people will provide their contact information for the download.
  • A case study is a story, and storytelling in content marketing is authentic and resonates well with audiences.

Now that you know why you should write one, let’s talk about how to do it right.

The Case Study Structure

There are lots of templates for case studies. How you create yours will depend on the context, industry, and goals. Most use a format of:

  • Introduction/Background: This is all about your customer and their history and story.
  • Challenge: This section describes the challenge your customer was facing and how it was impacting their capabilities.
  • Solution: Next, you’ll define the specific solutions provided to the customer to solve their problems.
  • Results: Finally, you’ll end with what occurred after implementation.

In addition to these sections, it’s always good to highlight any metrics and specific quotes from the company. Keep in mind that you can do anonymous case studies if that’s your only option, but being able to use the company name is more credible.

How to Write a Case Study in 10 Steps

case study example - how to write a case study

To complete all the areas defined above, you’ll need a content workflow for the project. Here’s a solid process to follow:

  1. Get a customer to say yes: This step is the hardest. It often depends on sales or account management teams developing strong relationships.
  2. Make the introduction: The person with the relationship needs to introduce the client to your writer.
  3. Research the company: The writer from your team assigned to the project should research the company. He or she should also get some backstory from sales or account managers. Looking up the individual on LinkedIn is also a good idea.
  4. Send the customer a set of questions: This may vary depending on the project but could include asking about the company’s history, its challenges, the search for a solution, why they chose your company, and the results. Your writer should send these to the customer with direction, leading to the next step of the interview.
  5. Interview the customer: With the questions pre-provided, your customer will be able to prep and not have any surprises about where the meeting will go. The interview may start from the seed questions but, based on responses, can go in different directions. So, you shouldn’t feel constrained by those questions. They are just a starting point.
  6. Start drafting: You now have information from your team, the customer, and other context. It’s time to get writing your template for the background, challenge, solution, and results. Stylistically, a case study is very narrative. You shouldn’t treat it like a blog or long-form content.
  7. Ask for the customer’s approval: Once you have a draft, send it to the customer for feedback first. Make sure they are comfortable and that you’ve embodied their experience accurately. Take any feedback into consideration.
  8. Finalize the content: Once the customer signs off, get any other approvals you need so that it’s ready for design.
  9. Design the case study: While you can post a case study as a blog, consider making this a download, gated or non-gated. Using a branded, eye-catching template with imagery and callouts will make it more appealing.
  10. Publish and promote: Now you are ready to get the case study live and promote it. When posting it on social media, be sure to tag your customer. You can also use graphics with quotes from the case study to post on social media to generate more interest. Also, consider distributing it through email and paid channels. Then you’ll want to check your content analytics to understand its performance and if it directly contributed to new leads or won business.

Ready to Create Case Studies that Deliver?

Learning how to create case studies is critical for your content team. They require your writers to be great researchers and intuitive interviewers. While they often take longer than a typical informational article or blog post, their value is immense. Keeping all the steps in place can be challenging too, but not with content marketing software like DivvyHQ. You can build out your case study workflow, work your plan, and all tasks remain visible and streamlined with our platform. See how it works today!