Trade publication editors love a good case study. (You know, those stories about your satisfied customer using your saved-the-day product.) So do magazine readers – your customers and prospects. This public relations tactic gets your product applications into magazines’ editorial columns, and it lets readers learn how you helped solve real-world problems.
So what separates strong case studies from less effective ones? Here are some guidelines for identifying print-worthy customer case studies that can generate awareness, credibility and leads for you.
- Demonstration – Above all, a good case study is a demonstration of how you solved a problem for your customer. The focus of the story must remain on what happened.
- Problem/solution – Case studies should illustrate a customer’s problem and your unique solution. Tell the story from the customer’s perspective, rather than from yours, to enhance the credibility of the story.
- Current or recent project – A case study will have more news value if it is current or at least recent. However, the application must be installed and operating so that the customer is satisfied with the solution and can talk about results.
- Anything but “run-of-the-mill” – Every case study has to be interesting to the editor and the publication’s audience in order to be placed successfully. If it involves so-called cutting-edge technology, it will have higher news value. Or, look for out-of-the-ordinary applications to arouse the editor’s interest.
- Illustrate an important design or engineering principle – Editors view case studies as good teaching devices for their readers, and they welcome case studies that educate as well as inform.
- Photography – Make the effort to obtain a good photo of the customer’s application. The more professional and dramatic the photograph, the greater likelihood it (and the story) will get used.
- Customer cooperation – Ideally, the customer should be willing to be quoted. Case studies in which the customer remains anonymous are possible, but they are slightly harder to sell to a publication and don’t carry as much credibility.
- Support positioning and marketing objectives – In order to leverage overall marketing objectives, potential case studies should be selected from industries, products and applications you’ve targeted for emphasis.
Need help identifying and developing customer case studies for PR placement and sales support? Contact your CCC account manager or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Creative Communications Consultants, Inc. is a business-to-business marketing communications agency. We specialize in providing strategic marketing communications thinking and implementation to marketers of industrial, technical and commercial products.