The first question is: Why bother to write case studies at all?
After all, white papers seem to be more hip and trendier. Entire websites are dedicated to white paper marketing. Even Penny Marshall now offers courses on using white papers for strategic advantage. Editors seem to think they have more gravity than the plain ol’ case study. And, in some ways, they’re right.
But case studies have one advantage over white papers – they demonstrate success.
Robert F. Abbott makes this point, “If you want to persuade others to adopt your point of view, buy your product, or vote for you, a useful tool is the case study, which will put your reader or listener in the shoes of a decision maker.”
Whereas white papers can be abstract and theoretical, case studies are practical, no-nonsense, down-to-earth documents. At least, they should be.
For business people involved in decision-making roles, case studies make very interesting reading. Remember these people are short on time. They’re under pressure to make decisions quickly. They want directness. They want facts. And they want proof.
You can address all of these in a case study.
– What’s involved in a Case Study?
There are three main strands to this document. To make the case study successful, you’ll need to show:
- Who in the organization and/or public benefited?
- What was the client’s dilemma before they used your product?
- When were benefits seen?
- Where benefits were gained, both from a technical and business perspective?
- How you solved the problem?
- How you quantified its success, i.e. faster customer service, fewer complaints, more online mortgage applications?
For a professional writer, case studies offer many lucrative business opportunities.
– Who Wants to Pay For Case Studies
The people you want to target are Marketing Managers, Finance Directors and Proposal Managers. All of these people have valid reasons to use case studies.
Remember: case studies are mostly used for sales and marketing. They’re slow-burning documents with a long shelf-life. You can post them on websites, append them to press releases, use them as supporting documents in proposals, and give them out at trade shows, presentations, and workshops. For such a small document, they have many uses.
– Who Else Is Interested?
Contact mid-size companies many of whom have no sales collateral. They are desperate for quality material that’ll promote their products. Tell them you can write a sharp, professional case study in less than ten days. Maybe five!
They’ll know they’ll never get anything written in ten days. They’ve tried it over the years (believe me, they have) and still can’t get around to it. Take the pressure off them.
For example, say, “If I start on Tuesday, it will be ready by next Wednesday.” Most people will jump at this.
Don’t mention fees until they agree to take you on. And, of course, you have to deliver!