how to structure a case studyYou’ve just completed a successful project with a client who’s thrilled with the results. Your entire team is on cloud nine, celebrating another big milestone for your organization.

Now’s the time to leverage your success and show future clients what you can accomplish for them. One way to make this happen is through a well-written case study.

Case studies have become an increasingly popular tactic in content marketing. They allow you to define a problem, present a solution and share how your solution led to a positive outcome. They also provide high-level insights into complex business issues and allow you to position your brand as a thought leader.

Putting together an engaging case study (and one that people actually read) comes down to using a sound process. Here’s how to structure a case study that reflects the value of your brand:

Preparing the information

Before you start writing, ensure you’ve gathered and organized all the information you’ll need. First, examine the case thoroughly, taking clear, detailed notes and highlighting any relevant facts or core problems that arose as your company explored possible solutions.

Focus your analysis on several of those key problems. Why did those problems exist? How did they impact the business or organization in question? Who or what was responsible for those problems existing, and who was charged with resolving them?

Once you’ve defined the problem, you can speak to the solutions your company presented. This can include all the ideas you came up with — including those that ultimately failed. The idea is to present the full story of the challenges you overcame.

Drafting the case study

Once you have all the information you plan to use in the case study, you can begin developing the content. The following structure works well:

  1. Introduction: Identify all the key problems associated with the scenario and formulate your thesis statement. Summarize your analysis in one to two paragraphs. After the introduction, the reader should have a general idea of the issues the case study covers.
  2. Background: Provide all important background information and relevant facts. Give the reader any necessary information on the individuals, businesses or organizations involved in the case study. Again, this should be as concise as possible.
  3. Problems: Identify the key problems your organization faced. What was the challenge you had to overcome, either for your own firm or for your client? If relevant, include any previous, unsuccessful attempts to solve the problem.
  4. Proposed solution: Thoroughly explain the proposed solution you came to based on your investigation of all available alternatives. Explain why you chose this solution and support it with solid evidence. Discuss the strategies and tactics used to implement the solution.
  5. Outcomes: In this section, you can share the results of your solution. How did the solution you developed and implemented address or fix the problem?

Case studies can be difficult and time-consuming to create. To that end, case study writers often get “too close” to these documents and find it difficult to edit their own work. Have several other people review the case study before you publish it, and try to look at the document from the perspective of your potential clients. What do they need to know about the value your business delivers?

ProPRcopy creates case studies, white papers, articles and other long-form content for businesses and organizations across a range of industries. Get a quote for your project.