PR Notes- How to Refresh Traditional Case Study

For years, the case study has been a traditional PR tool to share best practices on behalf of satisfied clients and customers.  The format ranged in length from 3-5 pages of details regarding the challenge and solution.  The case study was typically distributed to sales and marketing teams and posted under a tab on the website…boring:)

My experience with real-time news and long time editorial contacts is that few people, if any, will be compelled to take time to read more than 2-3 paragraphs to determine whether or not the content is relevant.  That being said, case studies, which have several different names, including customer/client success stories, represent an essential PR/marketing tool to increase sales and engage prospects.  So, how can we refresh the traditional case study to better fit today’s media consumption environment?

Social Media-Low-budget Testimonials/Video:

These days, a customer/client with a decent smartphone camera can provide a short real-time video regarding their best practices and wins to post on FB, Twitter and even LinkedIn.  Who knows, if it’s interesting and creative enough, it may even go viral:) Of course, you would want to perform due diligence to select and work together to create strategy and messaging.

You could repeat the process with an industry influential or evangelist…don’t limit yourself to only customers or clients.

Refreshed Case Study:

If you decide to create a traditional case study, force yourself to think like an editor at one of your target publications.  This editor is responsible to inform readers ( your current and potential customers) of the latest trends, best practices and thought leadership in the market space.  Their inbox and voice mail box are full.  If you’re fortunate enough to have an editorial relationship which will result in a cursory review of your case study, make sure the format is short and the “news” is both compelling and concise.  In other words, what is NEW?  I know we are compelled to pontificate and include all of the key brand messages we worked so hard to create and approve with management.  Ask ourselves, does the editor care?

Keep it Simple:

  • Does the client/customer represent the MARKET SPACE? Reality check the size, scope and client base to ensure the market space can easily identify with the profiled company.
  • What is NEW?  Try to avoid words such as, “Announce, Introduce and Launch”…Just tell me what’s new in terms of best practices, trends and thought leadership.  Choose one for an entry point.
  • BRIEF description of your company value proposition- Include 2-3 sentences maximum focused on only the value proposition to the market space.
  • Distribute via SOCIAL MEDIA- Do not let this content die a slow death on your website.

Are you utilizing smartphone videos from customers/client and evangelists for social media content?  If not, would you consider for next campaign?

Are you still writing traditional case studies?

Does management still value this tool?