Breathing New Life into an Old Concept: Developing an Effective Case Study

Jul 14, 2017 | Public Relations

There’s nothing like a good story — especially one that draws its readers in and leaves them wanting to know more. Case studies must have a shelf life that allows them to be repurposed across multiple marketing channels, offering a big bang for the buck.

In the building supply and architectural industries, case studies are the way into your customers’ hearts. They love to know the “why” behind a project: the specifications, quotes from industry authorities and final outcomes. Pepper in some illustrative language and customer testimonials, add dynamic imagery, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for intrigue.

Start with mapping out your case study. What is the compelling story? What makes this project unique and interesting? What angle do you want the story to have? Gather project specifications and professional photos, and ensure you have full, unlimited IP rights to the professional photos. Otherwise, you could find yourself in some legal hot water.

Next, outline possible interviews with industry experts involved on the project. Get approved direct quotes from them, as Google loves third party expert endorsements. Offer to send the expert a link to the case study to post on their website, and don’t be afraid to ask the expert for a backlink to their site.

Furthermore, high-level employees are a great resource for interviews as well. Include a customer testimonial if you can get one – people care what other people think.

The final prep step is to design a print and digital template that you can carry across multiple case studies. You want all case studies to have a sense of cohesiveness to each other, and to your current branding efforts. These will become great pieces to leave behind with prospects. A digital version of the case study to email can help sales people open new doors with prospects, showcasing similar projects to the one the prospect may be working on.

When the case study is ready to print, be sure to run a copy by all parties who were interviewed to get written sign-off on their quotes before sending the files to your printer. This is a critical step that cannot be missed. You don’t want the expense of printing hundreds of case studies, only to have to throw them away because you didn’t get official approvals from all parties involved.

Once the case study is printed, don’t hesitate to repurpose the content on your social media platforms, lead generation campaigns, in email marketing efforts, and on your website.

Case studies are a great door opener for public relations efforts as well. Trade publications love when you have prepared content and photos ready to go, with approvals already wrapped up.

If you play your cards right and develop your case studies one step at a time, you’ll have a real showstopper piece to share with your audience that you can show to them in different ways, reinforcing your branding and your message.