Last week, the CIPR published their annual ‘State of the Profession’ report exploring the trends, issues and challenges facing the public relations industry.
When it comes to what you should communicate to your target audience, I am a firm believer that there are two things you need to show: your knowledge and your experience. Your knowledge is demonstrated through being a thought leader and publishing engaging, valuable content. Whereas case studies are the bread and butter of presenting your experience in a format that is easily digestible by your audience. Here’s a simple breakdown of how to write compelling case studies that best present your offering.
Depending on what you’re writing, you should adopt the appropriate style that suits the content. Different formats are used for different situations. In this case, the structure of content for case studies should be broken down into sections that take the reader through the example in a concise, informative fashion: situation, problem, approach, results.
Firstly, before delving into the case study itself, introduce the situation. Who or what is the case study about? What’s the background that appropriately introduces the key player in the scenario. Next, set the scene of the case study: what were the problems you addressed? What were the objectives your client wanted to achieve?
Now that your reader is aware of the issue being resolved, you can present your intended approach. Illustrate your experience and knowledge by discussing what research and development work was involved to reach your solution. Include your plan to address the problem and any key elements that you’re not restricted from sharing due to client confidentiality.
Clear, compelling stats are the quickest way to show the positive outcome of your case studies. Use numbers to succinctly illustrate the results. Think return on investment, increase in sales, engagement, website leads and the like. This is a great way of showing others looking for a similar product or service, what they can also expect to achieve when utilising your business.
In addition to the written copy of your case study, you can boost engagement with your reader through strong imagery and illustrations. By providing both client and in-house testimonials or quotes, you are giving the perspectives of those involved and humanising the content. Be sure to add a call-to-action that encourages readers to get in touch with you for help with the same or similar situation too. As well as links to other published content you’ve created that relate to the topic of the case study and similar case studies to further demonstrate the wealth of experience you have.
Depending on your target audience, it may also be worthwhile providing an overview of the case study. Pick key elements from each stage and present in a basic format, for example, a bullet point list. This form of presentation is especially useful for website users that are short on time and prefer to grab the highlights, instead of reading an in-depth article.
Finally, and with any written content that you produce, be sure to convert it into different types of content, such as an infographic, video or slideshow. Video, in particular, is growing year on year as an incredibly impactful form of communication. If you’re not already incorporating video into your communication strategy, start creating videos now!
Often, the first thing I tell my clients when we’re discussing how to communicate their brand with their target audience is, show don’t tell. Case studies are a perfect example of how to do this.
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