Lianna Doley
 · Community @ Ceros

Content Best Practices: How to Create an Impactful Case Study

Case studies are a great way to showcase the positive impact your company has had on other clients. A good case study will put the reader in your client’s shoes. You want them to feel your client's pain points viscerally, relate to their challenges, and visualize their success with your organization.  

As a format, case studies tend to be shorter than articles and more detailed than blogs. But how do you get started? Below we have outlined a few rules and steps we’ve learned over the years, for how to create a compelling case study every time.   

Some rules to follow: 

  • Beware the ‘Great Wall of Text’: Detailing previous escapades you and your team went through can be exciting, but make sure you stick to the essentials. Keep your readers captivated by breaking up blocks of text with visuals, playing with different text formats and colors, and making distinctions in copy between the challenge, solution, and results.

  • Make it relatable: What are your readers concerned about? What are some previous issues they encountered and how can you help them? Case studies need to get into your reader’s head so they speak to their challenges and showcase ways you can empower them. 

  • Select exciting statistics and key testimonials: Make your story quantifiable through key statistics and reliable through customer testimonials. Don’t drown the information in numbers, but provide enough to set the scene and show tangible outcomes. 

  • Hook readers in with the “so what”: Have you ever read a recipe online that droned on with irrelevant details before getting to the actual instructions? Reading an overly detailed case study can have the same effect on the reader. Bring out the value of your case study early on so readers are encouraged to dig deeper. 

  • Give readers clear next steps: There should be a purpose behind writing the case study you are developing. Whether it is to get readers to inquire about a new solution, think about, or learn about an offering, include call-to-actions (CTAs) that take your readers where you want them to go. 

  • Share the good news: Don’t lock your case study in a forgotten corner of your website never to be seen again. Keep driving traffic to it by adding links to it in sales collateralinfographics, and even in a content hub.

Ready to start creating? Here are a few steps you can follow to help create that compelling case study.

Steps to get started: 

  1. Build a list of happy customers: Which customers benefited the most from your solution or product? Happy customers highlight the strengths of your team and showcase how potential clients could also benefit.  

  2. Think about how the data will be presented: Think of the best ways you can showcase your data. Explore and play around with different formats your data can take.  For example, if you helped bring down client costs then think about using a bar chart that compares last year’s spending to this year’s. 

  3. Decide on a structure: Break up the story into sections so readers can easily follow the narrative. Usually when reading a case study, readers are curious about which pain points were solved, how you did it, and the steps involved (all in that order). To keep reader engagement high, highlight the most important takeaways from the case study first. 

  4. Get readers to interact with it: Make your readers feel involved in the story that is unfolding in the case study by adding interactive elements such as carousels, toggles, videos, and external links.  

  5. Make it scalable: Think of ways you can templatize your case study. For example, establish the format and word count of the case study that future pieces will have to adhere to. This will speed up the case study process for future entries and establish consistency in quality, feel, and brand.