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Why the case study is still king in PR

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Show don’t tell. Actions speak louder than words. People believe in what you do over what you say. How true is this? In the world of PR at least, we say it’s pretty spot on. What better way to prove the worthiness of a brand is there than to have somebody else say it for you?

In a world of hashtags, flash mobs and online influencers, it’s the good old-fashioned art of storytelling which remains at the heart of it all, and the case study therefore remains king.

Despite an unprecedented rise in the use of technology within our daily lives, people ultimately still look to connect with people - whether or not that connection happens through Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok or, heaven forbid, an actual face to face conversation.

It’s word of mouth that we seek to rely on the most when the boiler breaks down and the need to find a trustworthy plumber swiftly arises, or when the car breaks down and we need to find a garage which isn’t going turn our stricken state of affairs to their own advantage.

The PR case study is an extension of this in so many ways. It’s when someone is so impressed/satisfied/delighted with the services that they have received, they are happy to tell the rest of the world just that (and they haven’t even been paid to do so!).

The case study is the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to PR, and if you need convincing, we’ve compiled a few reasons why it’s such a staple in the PR toolkit:

1. It explains what you do: Let’s just say your business specialises in predictive maintenance software – go you! - and you need to sell this to other businesses. The best way to do that is to show them how their competitors saved £xxx by using predictive maintenance. A sales presentation is ok but if you can actually show how it works, then it will go much further. It’s great way for brands operating in a niche sector or delivering highly specialist services to explain what they do in a more understandable and accessible way.

Demonstrating business services in a working environment and hearing the human side of what exactly is being provided, either through the written word or on film, via your website or another suitable channel is the best and easiest way to explain to someone less familiar with your brand what exactly it is that you do.

2. The press love them: Above all else, and most importantly, the case study also brings your brand news to life in the eyes of the media too. It turns your company developments into proper, bona fide new stories as opposed to a simple advert for the services you offer - gaining you vital column inches in the process.

Journalists, like you or I, can’t know everything but they have to write accurate articles in a short space of time. So the best way to show a journalist that your service works and people are happy is to provide a case study.

3. It can be used everywhere: A case study can be used as web content, on social media, in the press and as part of your sale literature. It really is the gift that keeps on giving. If you have a customer who’s happy with your product or service – and they’re happy to talk publicly about it – you’ve hit the jackpot from a sales and marketing point of view.

But why is it that recruiting case studies is so hard? So many companies struggle to find good case studies which can often make or break a piece of coverage in a PR campaign. This is why it’s worth thinking about how you, as a business, can develop your case studies…how are you recruiting them? Can you incentivise them to speak on your behalf? What are the customer points where you could be making more of the opportunities? Can you incentivise your sales team to help you find these great stories?

It can often feel like you have enough to do in running a business or a marketing department, but if you can implement a few tweaks in your customer sales process and garner some case studies in the process, it can be a sure-fire way to improve your PR, SEO and sales conversion.

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