The dreaded Case Study. They’re the business equivalent of a trip to the dentist. They are absolutely essential for your business’ well-being, but motivating yourself to write them can be just as painful as pulling teeth. In our experience, most people fear writing Case Studies because they don’t know where to begin. And if we’re going to be totally honest, Case Studies are boring. At best, they see-saw between being a self-congratulatory pat on the back and a monotonous list of And thens.
Here at Briteweb we’re doing our small part to put a stop to the boring Case Studies epidemic. We’ve collected a few of our favorite writing tips here that will hopefully inspire you to write your next great story… I mean Case Study.
Think of your Case Study as a Story
Just because you’re writing a business document doesn’t mean that it can’t read like a good story. One of our favorite books around the office lately is Peter Guber’s Tell to Win. Throughout the book he talks about the importance of telling Purposeful Stories, which he describes as the best way to connect with your audience and inspire them to respond.
One of the key components of a Purposeful Story is structure. For thousands of years, popular fables, novels, plays and movies have followed a three-act format that you can use to make your Case Studies interesting and engaging:
- Grab your reader’s attention with a challenge or problem. Identify your project’s goal up-front. You may even want to consider interviewing your client post-engagement. Get him or her to describe in their own words the problem that they needed you to solve, then lead with that.
- Describe the struggle to meet or overcome the challenge. Use this section to introduce obstacles that were encountered during the project, and then describe how you were able to overcome them. (Boom! Instantly you’re a problem-solving pro!)
- Reveal an eye-opening resolution. If this final section doesn’t make people nod their heads knowingly while murmuring ”Ah-Ha” then keep writing. A successful conclusion to your story should motivate your reader to act, to pick up the phone and call you.
Formatting, Formatting, Formatting
No one likes reading big blocks of text, especially on websites. When I come to a long, scrolling page of dense text I’m instantly transported back to my university days, slogging through never-ending journals with titles like A Critique of the Feminist Charges Against Prostitution. I can usually make it through three sentences before my mind wanders and before you know it I’m flipping through photos of Brad and Angelina on Lainey Gossip and I don’t even remember how I got there.
To avoid inducing boredom blackouts in your readers, don’t force too much text on them. Break your Case Studies up into digestible sections with relevant titles. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you might even consider adding some humor to your titles to grab their attention and entice them to keep reading. Include bullet-point lists within your copy. Use these to quickly list off key facts, tasks or achievements. Use images or video alongside your text. A strong visual can often tell your Case Study’s story far better than a description.
The Proof is in the Proof
The most effective way to show that your project was successful is to prove it. Include a follow-up summary after your project has concluded which focuses on how your project impacted your client’s business. Did your work help increase sales, client relationships or internal processes? Describe how, and BE SPECIFIC. Include stats, real numbers and quotes from the client. This is your moment to prove your value, don’t miss the opportunity by delivering a vague summary.