(What follows is the outline I wrote in advance of recording the video. They’re my talking points. Not a regular post or article. Just an outline.)
This question came from Natalie, who has taken my course on Selling with Stories.
Hers is a very brief and simple question.
“Are Case Studies actually just business stories?”
I’m glad she asked this because I don’t think I talk about Case Studies in the course. Or if I do, I give them just a passing mention.
First, let’s define a Case Study.
A Case Study is essentially a business success story.
So yes, case studies are stories.
But not every business story is a case study.
Case studies been a round forever. Typically anywhere between 2 and 20 pages in length, they are used by companies as a sales tool – describing how their products or services have helped their customers or clients.
Their structure is usually similar to a simple story structure. Something like…
- Set up the situation
- Describe the challenge
- Present the solution
- Share the outcome
So yes, you have the potential for a good story.
The danger lies in this becoming a cookie-cutter process… where every case study feels and sounds the same.
Like… blah blah blah followed by a happy ending. (Case Studies always have a happy ending.)
When that happens, it’s snooze time.
So here’s my advice with Case Studies.
Follow another of the principles of selling with stories I have talked about before…
Thrown in something unexpected.
Wake up the reader.
Perhaps by being disarmingly honest.
Like, “The first time we tried this it was a disaster. The widget broke within the first 3 minutes.”
Or by having the CEO of the featured company make a very human statement, like, “Frankly, I was terrified.”
So yes Natalie… a Case Study is like a story.
But a good Case Study has to be a good story. And a good story is never predictable or boring or devoid of emotion.
NOTE: If you’d like to use the power of storytelling to increase your skills as a web content writer, online copywriter or social media writer, learn more about my course… Selling With Stories…
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