Of all the tools in the tech PR toolkit, among the best is the case study. Effectively a ‘review’ of your technology by one of your customers in which you participate yourself, case studies make for excellent sales collateral. They can also be offered to journalists as the bones of feature articles as they already tick many of the questions which tech editors and writers will often ask for – who is using your technology and how? 9 out of 10 people look at online product reviews before making a purchasing decision - this goes some of the way to fill that need.
Case studies appear to have simplified over the years. This might be due to their desirability as marketing collateral leading to higher level views. I remember getting a rigorous 9 question template from a fintech writer for one of the bigger UK publications, all of which had to be answered in detail before publication was considered (I kept it, and still dust it off when the occasion requires).
A good case study requires a good candidate. Generally, if people have bought your technology, they will be happy to say so, once deployment has been successfully implemented and enough time has passed to allow results to be judged. Large companies with household names make good candidates, as they will confer credibility. But smaller companies are also good – conferring dynamism, emphasising accessibility, affordability and scalability.
So what makes a good case study? Generally, a bit of background about the candidate company is good – industry, where they are based, size, main products etc. This is usually followed by a description of the issue or challenge the company needed to resolve. Then comes the evaluation process: I always ask if they considered other products, how the selection process worked, and what features made them make up their minds. I also get them to go into the deployment process and any issues they faced during the set up period.
Finally I ask about any measurable results, and get a few quotes we can use.
Depending on how good the end result is, case studies can make an excellent basis for a pitch into vertical media. They also make great collateral - there is a lot involved in getting you case study right, but the end result will be worth it.
There are some good guides out there: Hubspot offers a free guide including a template – in exchange for a simple registration process.