Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Best Practices in Writing Customer Case Studies

For B2B companies, customer case studies are more important than ever. Here are some tips for writing compelling case studies that generate interest from prospective customers.
  • Length: Some studies show that longer case studies rank higher up in search rankings while others suggest to keep case studies to about 500 words to keep your readers' attention. You might try experimenting, writing a short and long version of the case study to see what works best. For longer case studies, make sure to have clear summaries that enable readers to scan the story quickly.
  • Style: Pick a style -- whether formal or informal, for example -- that matches your company's corporate personality. Case studies should be consistent so consider developing a style guide that sets the standards for spelling (is it health care or healthcare), type of voice, and accompanying artwork. Keep in mind that case studies must be engaging and tell a story that has a logical flow. They also need to be informative and credible. 
  • Format #1: Simple can be best. We typically address the following items:
    • The Challenge (or Situation Analysis): Explains the problem and pain points that the client came to us to help solve.
    • Strategic Plan & Execution: Provides an overview of our strategy and what we did to help our client. In others words: this section details our solution and the implementation. This is a vital section in which to highlight clear, key benefits of working with your organization -- and should directly link to the Results (below).
    • The Results: Includes key metrics that demonstrate how we made a difference. 
  • Format #2: Make sure to have an interesting headline. Subheads (like the ones mentioned immediately above) are useful in breaking up blocks of text. Consider including a highlighted quote from the customer that encapsulates the key points. For long case studies (over 1,000 words), consider including a sidebar summary that delivers the key points.
  • Multimedia: Consider producing video interviews of your customers so that visitors to your site can read or watch the case study. Video case studies can also be uploaded onto YouTube.
  • Customers: Make sure to identify compelling customer stories and spokespeople. Hopefully your best customer also has a great spokesperson. Keep in mind, that the customer spokesperson should match the decision-makers you're targeting with the case studies.
  • Call-to-Action: Don't forget to include a clear call-to-action so that prospects know what to do to get more information.
Developing compelling case studies is important because you can also develop presentations and byline articles based on good case studies. For more information, email us at info@birnbachcom.com.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

In Reporting Fake News for April Fools, GMA Plays Trick on Itself

Although I watched "Candid Camera," I've never been a big fan of April Fools and practical jokes in general.

But the folks over at GMA seem to be big fans.

They kept talking about April Fools this morning.

href="http://abcnews.go.com/international/video">World News Videos
| US News Videos
Then they did some actual segments that were fake news -- to show they can have fun, I guess.

World News Videos | US News Videos

At one point, George Stephanopoulos held up a sign that said, "Happy April Fools."

I know -- it's all in good clean fun. But the segments weren't funny.

And given credibility issues surrounding NBC's Brian Williams and Fox's Bill O'Reilly, I think it's a bad idea for professional broadcast journalists to play on-air practical jokes on their viewers. It's okay to have fun but the credibility of their news readers is too important to play with.

At the risk of looking like I have no sense of humor, leave the April Fool gags to the late night talk show hosts.