Using case studies in white papers is one of the best ways to improve your business-to-business white papers. In the event you’re not familiar with the simple yet remarkably powerful tool known as case studies, they are real-world examples of something your company did for someone, how you did it, why you did it that way, and how the results turned out.
Case studies in white papers are appropriate
After all, the purpose of white papers is sharing practical information to help readers make complex or difficult decisions. Case studies show readers how someone else (often in the same industry) faced a similar decision and what led them to the choices that were made. Not only do readers find those real-world stories more interesting and engaging than promotional copy, but they also lend credibility to the solution you’re offering.
Example of case studies in white papers
Suppose you’re developing a case study aimed at car wash operators. Your company manufactures a high-quality detergent that includes additives chosen to soften water, increasing the amount of suds and allowing operators to wash more cars with fewer water and less detergent. You can explain all that information in your white paper but including a couple of case studies will bring your message to life.
For example, one of your case studies profiles a car wash operator who had found that using your product allows her to wash the same number cars each day while using 15 percent less water and 10 percent less detergent. Other operators will immediately see the value of that, because they know how much they spend on water and detergent, and they can easily mean what savings like that would mean to them. Best of all, because that message is coming from another operator instead of your company (even though it’s in your white paper), operators will be more likely to believe it.
Where can you find case studies?
Every company has satisfied, loyal customers. If you ask your sales team for information about people who have used your product successfully and are willing to say so, you have the opportunity to develop a case study. And don’t assume those customers will be hesitant to talk. Most people are flattered to be asked to share their story.
How do you gather information?
Two of my favorite ways to collect what I need to develop a case study are phone interviews and email “interviews.” With a phone interview, I’ll schedule 15 to 20 minutes to talk to the customer by phone and collect their thoughts. With the email approach, I’ll send them a list of questions, get their answers through a reply email, and then follow up as needed to clarify their answers and gain additional information. The email approach can simplify the process of gathering information from subject matter experts because it doesn’t require extra time for arranging phone or in-person interviews, and because it’s easy to copy and paste their comments directly from the emails they send.
Writing the case study
Instead of doing a technical analysis of the problem and solution, write it as though you’re telling a story. Make it conversational and include quotes from the person you interviewed. Writing in an informal style is easier on the reader and will make reading your white paper case study more enjoyable. And if they read it, they’ll get the message you want to convey.
Don’t have the time?
Too busy to do the work on a white paper case study? Are your staff members overloaded with work? That’s when it’s time to consider outsourcing case studies to a professional white paper writer.