Are Case Studies actually just business stories?

(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.

But…

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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