The case for case studies

You’ve hired a public relations group and the first thing they suggest is to write some case studies. Cool. Maybe. How exactly does a case study, that lives on your company’s website, help you reach your PR goals?

We are so glad you asked!

The case study is the most akin to a building’s foundation. It’s not glitzy. It won’t have an immediate return on investment. But case studies are literally what great PR builds upon, regardless of organizational goals and strategies. Having multiple case studies will set the stage, highlighting organizational achievements, as well as goals, core values, and culture. Collectively, they tell the stories that define your organization.

Starting with what sets your organization apart from the competition—something you created, a high-level of service for customers, a benefit for employees—we gather all the information, we talk to key players, and we write. It’s basically a report, telling the who, what, where, when, why, and how. Once the drafting is complete, it moves onto design and typically is posted on your website. But that isn’t the end, that is really just the beginning for a case study.

The value of the case study comes with how it’s put to work. Unlike other materials, a case study won’t have an expiration date. For lack of a better analogy, case studies are like the reference section of a Wikipedia entry. Case studies become the background source of information for all other pieces of PR.

Say we are pitching a story to the media about your organization. Referring to or linking a relevant case study gives the supporting information necessary to answer a lot of the questions journalists ask before they make decisions on whether to include your story in their publication or program. Case studies also distinguish hyperbole from fact. It’s simply not enough to claim you have the best, you need to be able to support that claim with experiences from clients, remarks from organizational leaders, etc.

Over time case studies begin to reinforce the longevity and commitment of your organization by relaying the same underscored messages and illustrating how your organizational values continue to influence the way your do business. They can be used as references for the media, customers, or staff. They also can be used as part of your recruiting for staff, board members, and donors.

While case studies are not glamorous, they will only help your organization stand out among your competition by building a strong, reliable foundation for your PR team.

Need some help getting started with your case studies?  Give us a shout.