How to Give Life to a Boring Case Study
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How to Give Life to a Boring Case Study

Image for blog post on case studies by Bonnie Nicholls, San Diego freelance writer

When you go to a business website and search for case studies, you’ve probably come across those three boring paragraphs: Challenge, Solution, Results. And the case study is written in the voice of the business, without any input from the customer.

To me, that’s like an Italian restaurant claiming it serves the best tiramisu without any testimonials from the patrons who actually enjoyed it. Is the claim believable?

Sure, if there’s data to back it up. And perhaps that’s all that matters to your potential clients, that the work you did for a similar client helped grow the business by 10 percent, streamlined efficiencies 30 percent, or generated quality leads by the dozens.

Still, case studies don’t have to be dullsville, especially if you plan to use them as additional collateral at trade shows and conferences, or as content to be promoted on Twitter or Facebook. If you want to make your case study compelling and persuasive, then get your customer to speak for you, in their own words.

Now, that takes a little extra effort. First, you have to check with the customer to see if they’re open to singing your praises. And then you need to have your writer interview them. It’s during the interview where the real magic happens. It’s where you get great quotes that will make your case study that much more engaging.

If your writer is slammed and you hire a freelancer to write the case study instead, here’s how the process works:

Background: You’ll provide background information on your product or service to the writer. You will also discuss the customer you would like the writer to interview, and describe the work you did for the customer and how it benefited the customer’s business or operations.

Research: The writer will most likely do additional research on your industry and on your product or service. He or she might ask you additional questions about the customer to prep for the interview.

Introductions: You will introduce the writer to your client, most likely via email.

Interview: The writer will interview your customer for about 30 minutes. You do not need to be on the call. The writer will be sure to ask the customer questions, such as:

  • “What problem were you trying to solve?”
  • “What work did Company X perform for you?”
  • “How did Company X’s product or service benefit your business?”
  • “What was it like working with Company X?”
  • “Was the work completed on time?”
  • “Why did you choose to work with Company X?”

Writing: The writer will write the case study. Most case studies are one to two pages long.

Reviews: You’ll review the case study, and after any edits are made, the case study will be reviewed by the customer. Depending on the approval process, it may be reviewed by others, but it’s best to keep the approval process down to a couple of people. In some companies, the legal department will review it as well.

Published: Voilà! Your case study is published online, in print, or wherever you want it to appear.

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Bonnie Nicholls
Bonnie Nicholls is a freelance writer specializing in thought leadership content: case studies, articles, white papers/ebooks and blog posts. She supports industries such as Agile/Scrum, defense and leadership training.