8 case study myths, debunked in 3 minutes video
Before asking the questions, “what is a case study” or “how to write a case study” let’s run through the basics first. It’s not a secret how many recruiting firms love case studies. They are usually short, sweet, and to the point. As a result, firms are more likely to use case studies with less room for error in terms of compliance. They can contain many different elements, including hard metrics about your results or even your thought process.
We’ve written before about the importance of having a good case study on your firm’s recruiting website. Case studies are not easy to write, though, and like any kind of content marketing, finding success in what you do will require some trial and error.
Today, we want to take a few moments to debunk some case study examples myths with you. It’d be great if every recruiter reading this blog post to be armed with the most up-to-date information.
Myth 1: A case study needs to be written by the company doing the case study
Reality: A well-written testimonial can be just as effective (and much easier to produce) than a full case study. The company benefits from a more engaging, less formal presentation of its results. You benefit from having an easily shareable content asset that you can place on your website and social media profiles.
An opinion piece that shares the writer’s personal experience and gives actionable insights for readers is a win-win and has proven to be just as effective as a full case study.
Myth 2: A case study must contain content from multiple sources
Reality: Case studies typically use a variety of formats and media, but it doesn’t need to come from the company writing the case study. The same goes for the testimonial-style piece you read about in myth 1. Many websites have a testimonials section where clients can post brief reviews of their experience. These work just as well in your case studies.
Myth 3: The length must be an even number (1,222 words)
Reality: There is no set length formula for a case study. Some studies are concise, and others range into thousands of words. A short 2-3 minute video with a clear and actionable message can be even more effective than a long and complicated case study. It’s important to remember that you’re really trying to present your research clearly, share your findings, and give an example of how they were applied by your company or client. A detailed history of the project is not necessary.
Myth 4: A case study must have a single client
Reality: Company case studies are ideal but don’t automatically exclude you from being considered for publication on top industry websites. The key is to provide helpful advice that readers can apply to their business or situation. For example, suppose your company offers consulting, training, or professional services. In that case, you may be willing to create a case study of your process or findings and an accompanying testimonial.
Myth 5: You must pay to have a case study published
Reality: These days, there are many industry magazines, blogs, and websites open to publishing high-quality content for free if it is the right fit. For example, my own business strategy consulting firm is available to publish case studies of our projects. We benefit from the exposure, and if it helps us land future projects or attract potential clients who are researching businesses in our industry, then it’s got a positive ROI.
If you’re willing to provide quality content that can be shared with your target market, then you could be surprised at how positive the results can be.
Myth 6: It’s not possible to write a good brief case study in 2 pages or less
Reality: You might have been told that you can’t have any more than X number of sentences on a page without the reader losing interest. I would challenge this notion with a question: “Have you seen a modern-day blog post?” In most cases, you will see that blogs have become a series of short paragraphs with multiple points on a single page.
In the same way, plenty use case study format and shorter case studies can be written by being very clear and concise about your results and using helpful images to illustrate your information. A video format can also help keep things brief while still presenting a powerful message.
Myth 7: It’s impossible to get a case study published on an industry blog or website without paying
Reality: It may be true that some websites and magazines will not publish your content unless you pay. However, many writers and bloggers are looking for good content and information for their own blogs, audiences, and clients across the social web. If you’re offering an industry-specific case study that provides valuable information, then it’s likely to be shared or discussed all over social media. This can generate leads and sales for your business, apart from the exposure you get in the original publication.
Myth 8: Most people won’t actually read a case study all the way through
Reality: That may have been true in the past, but now with social media and other technologies people are actually reading more than ever before. On average blog posts are shared 2000 times on Facebook alone, which means that your target audience may be exposed to your content even if they don’t read all the way through it.
We’ve seen case study writers use bold formatting to emphasize important points, make the most of infographics, provide fast facts at the end for readers who are short on time and also put it all in video format. These are all ways to make your case study stand out from the crowd.