Case Study: How to Write an Engaging Case History

The case study – also known as case history – is a short document that explains how a company has resolved, through its products or services, one or more problems to a customer.

The customer can either be another company or a private individual. As a rule, the length of a case study is between one and three pages. Rarely exceeds four or five.

A case study is a great marketing tool for any type of business. In fact, it is both a means of effective communication and a powerful weapon in the service of the sales division.

Case Study may of course be applied to blogging, in order to report successful histories and achievements.

It is evident that a case history is a concrete example of how the products or services of a company can work in real contexts. And we all know, nothing is more persuasive than a success of a real story.

Is there anything more convincing than a client who praises your work?

Consequently, each company should include in its website a section about “success stories”, to give testimony to the effectiveness of their products and services.

Now the question is: how to write a persuasive and effective case study?

The answer is simple: just follow the points below. These are very practical advice, able to help you create a successful and engaging case history.

1 . Design a Clear Structure

A case study must have a clear structure. In essence, the case of success must :

  • Describe the problem that the customer complained to the company.
  • Expose the solution that the company has proposed to the customer.
  • List the advantages that this solution has produced for the customer.
  • Predict future developments of the relationship between customer and company.
  • List business contacts. People interested in learning more can easily find more information.

2 . Use a Simple Language

You should write a case study with a simple and clear language, which can be understood by all potential customers.

Conversely, if the company decides to write with difficult terms, too technical, its case history risk to be unreadable.

3 . Use the Method of the “5 W”

A case study tells a story of success. In order to avoid leaving out any detail, it is useful to remember the rule of the “five W”. What does this mean?

You must write the case study giving a point to each of the following : who, what, when, where, why”.

In short, create a case history means to dive a bit in the shoes of a journalist.

4 . No Self References Exaggeration

The case study should not be the exaltation of the virtues of the company.

The language should be simple, accurate, anchored to the facts. So, you need to eliminate the self promotional reviews to the products and services that the company offers.

Case Study

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5 . List Specific Plans

In a case history you should enumerate as much concrete data as possible :  numbers, facts, statistics, tables, graphs etc.

Remember to indicate also the “when” part of your case study!

So people can recognize if this is up to date or not.

6 . Insert Testimonials in your Case Study

Nothing is more effective than the direct testimony of your customer.

Therefore, in a case of success, it should be included the statements of a testimonial of your clients.

The icing on the cake would be publishing a photo of those who made the testimonials.

7 . Create a Catchy Title and Subtitle

This rule is applied to any type of document, and then also for the case study.

It is necessary to create a catchy title and a subtitle, which shows a great appeal. This should intrigue the reader, encouraging them to go trough the entire content.

In addition, the title and subtitle of the case story should be able to bring at least one of the benefits that the customer has obtained relying on the company’s product or service.

What about your experience with Case Story?

About Erik Emanuelli

Hi! I am Erik Emanuelli : entrepreneur, traveler and blogger. You can follow me on Twitter, add me on Facebook or circle me on Google.

Comments

  1. Testimonials are great; on one of my projects I added testimonials into the portfolio – guess what? Thanks to their positive reviews, I’ve got 2 new clients! After reading your article, I’m thinking of writing a case study myself!

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      You should do it, Cristian!
      Case Studies are just great and you can learn a lot from them.

      The articles about “case studies” in my blog are one of the most viewed posts. ;-)

  2. Your blog is my favorite. As a ninth grade English teacher, I have to sneak in the writing lessons because of a strict curriculum map and little flexibility. Students are measured through mandated testing. Alas, most teachers leave the writing out because it is just too hard to do it and “no one will ever know.” After all, if the scores are good, who cares? Well, I do, and your site is just what I need. Thanks for your help.

  3. Awesome post, Erik!
    I have been giving many conferences over the past weeks, detailing what inbound marketing is about and explaining the differences between paid, owned, earned and shared media. And every time I go into owned media, I explain the different tools brands should use. When I mention using case studies, I rarely get any feedback, as it seems to be a very much under-utilized asset in the marketing tool box.

    This post ought to convince those who doubt it or perhaps did not even consider it. Well done!

    Cheers,
    Frederic

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      Thanks for your feedback, Frederic.

      I recently learned the power of a nice written “case study” article,
      and I think this kind of content may go easily viral.

      Thanks for your comment! :-)

  4. Case studies are an important marketing tool and one that’s under-utilized in content marketing. Thanks for going through the steps and explaining it all so simply and lucidly. Definitely a post worth bookmarking for future reference!

  5. I would like to go with last one option which is so important in SEO techniques because if you want to get good number of visitors then this is one of the good source to use.

  6. Clarkmartin says:

    Hi Erik, excellent release, well written, valuable content, thanks for sharing. Have a great IBO day. Thinks for share it.

  7. Hey Erik,
    You gave out some good pointers on doing a case study. One thing I would add is turning case studies into infographics, too. Put a code on your post where people can grab your infographic with a link to your site :)

    Garen

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      I am not a big fan of infographics,
      even if I understand it can be a fast way to explain concepts,
      I do not think you can cover completely a topic.

      Thanks for sharing that, Garen! :-)

  8. Oh awesome! I need to start doing case studies. I only haven’t done them because I don’t know how.
    This is pretty much a step by step tutorial, thanks heaps Erik!

  9. Erik,

    Well done! I shared this one widely across my social networks.

    Pete

  10. Thanks for this Erik! I’ve bookmarked for when I’m ready to get a case study together. This is going to be very helpful indeed ;)

  11. Thanks for this advice, Erik. I always have such a hard time with case studies. I find that they come out sounding really boring (at least when I write them!) Plus I fight with myself about structure every time. It would probably be more helpful to outline it using your suggestions and then just write it like a blog post!

    • Erik Emanuelli says:

      I am glad you found the article useful, Carol! :-)
      I hope it will guide you next time you will write a new case study.

  12. Hello Erik Emanuelli
    Excellent Article Thanks for share this article! I just started following you on Twitter and added your blog to the long list of PR blogs I subscribe to. Looking forward to reading more from you!

  13. Hi Erik,
    I’ve seen this kind of self-glorification on some weblogs where webmasters show how tough their startup is and how they achieved success through hard work. I believe that this is the same with every successful story which is why I prefer it to be omitted. Talking in the third person to me, particularly on success is somewhat bragging. Just show the testimonials and they will speak for you. Nothing speaks better than testimonials from happy and satisfied customers.

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