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About Case Studies

Case studies are wierd. Just like the FDA allows an "average of 30 or more insect fragments and 1 rodent hair per 100 grams" of peanut butter, case studies are allowed -- and probably expected by prospects -- to contain a certain amount of bullshit. That said there are good reasons to minimize the amount of bullshit: easier/faster reading being the main one, along with somewhat easier/faster creation of the case study in the first place.1 Also: increased believability is another likely benefit of low-bullshit case studies.

Extremely Short-Form Format

You could do a lot worse than using this very short format with mostly phrases and bullet points:

  1. Describe the improvement your work created or contributed to. Try to quantify it using simple metrics your clients care about.
  2. A short phrase describing the problem you helped solve or improve.
  3. The project budget and duration.
  4. The client name, the name and job role of the highest-ranking person at your client who was involved in the project.
  5. If possible, a quote from the above that reinforces the quantifiable outcome(s) of your work w/the client.

If You Must Go Longer

First, please consider not going longer. :) But if you must, some recommendations:

  • Try to have a publishable, attributed client quote for every significant claim your case study makes. In other words, let your clients do the talking/selling for you.
  • If the results you created are attributable to your expertise, process, or IP, your clients should say so via publishable, attributed quotes.
  • If you're going to make claims about your expertise, process, or IP in the case study, link out to supporting evidence elsewhere (in addition to having the aforementioned client quotes).

Additional reading:

  1. I've spoken to a lot of people who have "Write those dang case studies" sitting in their backlog for years