The kind of case studies I write don’t just sell, they help people. Through the lens of stories, they reflect back the reader’s problem. They empathise with their predicament and offer earnest advice on how to help themselves get out of it.
Do it right and your case studies won’t just be insightful, they’ll be magnetic. People will see themselves in your client’s story, absorb your expertise, and come away feeling more invested in your cause.
My case study writing process
This usually involves interviewing my client’s client. That’ll be someone my client helped to fix a problem. And their story forms the scaffolding for our case study. But all throughout the copywriting process, I’m asking myself the same question, over and over again:
How can this help someone struggling with the same problem?
Essentially this is the same age-old question of “what’s in it for me?” transposed into a case study. In copywriting terms it’s empathy – putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. You’re demonstrating that you feel the reader’s pain and that you have their interests at heart.
All I’m doing is reminding myself that this case study isn’t a product or service showcase. My primary goal isn’t to make my client look good (although that is a byproduct). A case study must be practical and useful for a reader, for it to represent any value to them. It reminds me to persist in mining for nuggets of gold to share as valuable insight and advice.
Other ways of asking the same question in your case studies
Of course, you don’t have to literally ask the exact same question over and over again.
One powerful technique is to ask the same question in different ways. This works because first time helps focus the interviewee. Subsequent questions probe deeper, now their attention is on what we want to know more about.
- What does this mean for someone in the same situation?
- Are there practical steps I can replicate here?
- How would someone mimic what this interviewee did?
- Why this and not that?
- But what does that mean once I’ve finished reading this case study?
- What would you say to someone in this position?
- What one thing could someone change to achieve this?
Insightful case studies stay focused on sharing value
We’re imparting useful advice, remember – through the vehicle of a story.
Therefore, to resonate with the right kind of people, our case study must be thought-provoking, truthful and genuine. And you can only achieve that if you really care about the people reading it, and helping them help themselves.
Because that belief – in the principle of paying it back to a community of people, underpins and influences everything. From the way you write, to what you write about in your case studies.
Trust me, I’m a copywriter.