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:
- Describe the improvement your work created or contributed to. Try to quantify it using simple metrics your clients care about.
- A short phrase describing the problem you helped solve or improve.
- The project budget and duration.
- The client name, the name and job role of the highest-ranking person at your client who was involved in the project.
- 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).
I've spoken to a lot of people who have "Write those dang case studies" sitting in their backlog for years. ↩