White paper case studies can be one of the most effective ways to promote your company and its products or services. In simple terms, a case study is a document that tells readers what you did for someone, how you did it, why you did it that way, and what the results were. White paper case studies are powerful for two reasons:
- they’re factual, so readers trust the information more than promotional items such as ads and brochures.
- it’s easy for a reader to product the story outlined in white paper case studies on their own businesses.
White paper case studies share factual information
Instead of simply talking about the advantages of using your products or services, a white paper case study allows you to show how another company or individual benefitted from those advantages. Explaining how your expertise helped someone else achieve goals or solve business problems connects with your audience more immediately and memorably than merely sharing capabilities.
White paper case studies tell stories
Humans are evolutionarily wired to pay attention to stories. Whether it’s children listening to a favorite book, adults catching up on office gossip, or the family stories that bring laughter at holidays, what anthropologists refer to as the oral tradition continues to be our favorite channel for information. Our ears perk up when we know someone is about to tell us a story. When someone says, “I have to tell you what happened this weekend,” they have our complete attention. That’s why a company telling us white paper case studies captures our full attention. We’re drawn in and we block out other messages as we savor the story.
White paper case studies build reputations
If the companies that are described in white paper case studies are widely known or well-respected in your customer’s industry, you benefit from their reputation through what’s often called the “halo effect.” If an impressive company has chosen you to help them, it says a lot about quality of what you have to offer.
Creating white paper case studies
The best way to develop white paper case studies is to present them as stories:
- Begin with the problem or situation your customer was grappling with.
- Talk about the alternatives they considered and what led to their decision to choose your product or service.
- Then describe how that product or service was installed or implemented and any support you provided, such as special training for their team.
- Finally, share the results they received thanks to your solution. For example, if you offer a device that increased their production throughput by 17 percent, that sends an important message to readers.
Finding subjects for white paper case studies
It’s likely that your sales and management teams already know examples of customers that would make good subjects for white paper case studies. Most companies are willing to be profiled, and many will be complimented that you thought enough of them to ask. If they hesitate because they’re afraid of releasing proprietary information, you don’t need to disclose the company’s name or critical information. Saying “a $50 million radish processor” may not deliver as much impact as mentioning Perky Produce by name, but it will help the reader frame the story and know how the company that’s profiled compares with his or hers.
Overcoming the biggest roadblock
The thing that prevents most companies from developing white paper case studies isn’t a lack of good stories or uncooperative customers. It’s time. Asking staff members whose plates are already full to create case studies is rarely effective. Even if they have time to handle the work, it’s easy for case studies to get shoved farther down the to-do list. That’s why it pays to consider outsourcing case studies to a professional white paper writer.