Case studies are among the top three most influential types of content online. They fall in right behind white papers and significantly higher than blog posts, videos, e-mail, social media, infographics, slideshows, podcasts, and e-books. In other words, they’re pretty darn important if you want to reach your target audience and close the sale.
So why are case studies so influential?, you might ask.
I believe it has something to do with the clout that others in similar situations carry. A case study is nothing more than a success story. You pick a client, interview them, and tell how they used your product or service to overcome an obstacle, solve a problem, or beat a challenge. It has everything a good story needs:
- A hero
- And a happy ending
Okay, some people might dispute the happy ending part. But whether you like stories with happy endings or not, you definitely want your case studies to show your product or service in a good light. Happy endings do that well.
With that in mind, here are six distinct ways you can publish a case study online and be effective.
- As a blog post
- In a podcast
- As a video
- On a web page
- In a PDF document
- As a slideshow
This is a no-brainer. Blog posts are easy to share through social media and they allow your audience to comment on the case study and interact with the subject as well as the author. Blog posts are also easy to format, and you can get creative. For a look at some of the ways you can publish case studies as blog posts, check out these independent author case studies published as blog posts.
Podcasting has grown quite popular in recent years. In this format, you can perform your case study through an author-subject interview. Record a phone call or conduct the case study through Skype for the best results. To be most effective, make sure both you and your case study subject has top quality microphones, and be sure to invest in the best audio editing equipment. As a free tool, Audacity will do the trick.
We live in an age of online video. While YouTube is popular, if you publish your case study as a video, you’ll be limiting your audience. However, if your audience very strongly interacts with video, then you’d be a fool not to publish your case studies in this format. Make sure you have a high quality camera and good audio equipment, just as you would with a podcast.
You might think it’s necessary to get the case study author and subject together in the same place to record a decent video. While I’d agree that would be awesome, it isn’t necessary. If you both have a camcorder, then you can conduct your interview over Skype while recording the video on both ends. Your case study subject will have to e-mail you his video recording and you can dub them together, or splice them into each other, during the video editing process.
If you don’t want to publish your case studies on your blog, you can publish them instead as static web pages. Many companies devote a special section of their website to case studies. This can be very effective, especially if you publish a lot of case studies.
On the other hand, PDFs allow you to offer your case study as a download. Some companies sell their case studies. If you can pack your case studies full of value, then that certainly is a way to go. On the other hand, by giving away case studies, you offer proof of your authority and value as a service provider to anyone who may be interested. Since case studies are among the top three most influential types of content, it’s well worth it to give them away.
It really doesn’t take much to create a slideshow, but if you’re publishing a case study as a slideshow, then you want to get a bit creative in the presentation. There are all sorts of ways to do that. You can dub the audio, or sections of the interview, over the actual presentation. Your entire slideshow can be an audio interview with visuals, or you publish segments of the audio on specific slides throughout the slideshow.
You’ll have to think about the graphics you’ll use on each slide of your slideshow. Also, you don’t want it to be too long as people who view slideshows do so partly due to time constraints. Nevertheless, slideshows can be effective.
SlideShare is a good place to publish your slideshow case studies. After publication, you can share your slideshow on your blog and through social media. Push it out wide for the best distribution and results. For the slideshow itself, be brief. Each slide should highlight specific points during the interview. Think of it as a business presentation in a board meeting. If you see people nodding off, you’ve gone on too long. Don’t make people nod off.
Why You Should Publish Case Studies
Choosing a medium or format for your case study is one thing, knowing why you’re publishing the case study is another. Long story short, case studies are good social proof. They illustrate how your product or service has helped other customers solve a problem. Your potential customers can see themselves in your success stories because, if you write it right, they’ll be able to relate to your customers. Get your prospects to relate to your customers and they’ll become customers too.
Need a case study? For a free consultation, call me at 717-253-2306 or check out my long form content/case studies page for more information.
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