Don’t Wing It with the Questions

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Recent research from the Content Marketing Institute found that business marketers rated customer case studies as the second most effective tactic when it comes to content marketing, second only to in-person events.

If you’ve wanted to write case studies, there’s no time like the present. It’s important to present your case study in the best light, so asking the right questions is crucial. Whether you’re doing the interview yourself or giving direction to someone else, you may only have one chance to get input, so make your questions count.

Here are three tips for preparing a great case study:

First, do your research. You can’t really ask good questions if you haven’t done your homework. Check out the customer’s website, and Google the name for additional information. Make sure you have input from your sales person about the exact products and/or services your customer uses. Not only will this save you time on the call, but it will show customers that you respect their time. It will also allow you to focus the interview on the questions most likely to produce the most valuable answers for your write-up. From the research, you should be able to have a basic theme for your story.

Second, use prepared questions that begin with why, how or what to get your subject to open up. You want your subject to answer more than “yes” or “no.” Really listen to what they are saying, and ask follow-up questions or request examples. Encourage customers to speak freely. Don’t overestimate the power of flattery – sincere flattery – to keep the interview moving forward.

Third, show them the story. Make sure your customer has a chance to review the case study before it is published, and incorporate any changes or additions they may have. Also, artwork enhances any story. If you plan to use a photo, ask them to provide one or offer to take the photo yourself.

Success stories will set you and your company apart. Take the time to do them and do them right. For more tips on how to write a case study, read this guide from Convince & Convert.


About Chris Ruys

Chris Ruys is founder and president of Chris Ruys Communications, Inc., a marketing/public relations firm that specializes in high visibility campaigns using both traditional and social media strategies. Her blog, originally called "Getting Social," was launched in October 2010 as a way to share her progress as a "student" of social media. While she's still learning, Ms. Ruys has broadened the scope to include other aspects of marketing communications and PR, including blogging, email, traditional media and advertising in the blog she now calls "Proactive PR."