Everyone wants to be published, cited, mentioned! Articles like ‘How to publish your press release’ (by adding ‘for free’ in your title you are guaranteeing at least 30% more hits on your article) are all over the internet and there were never more self-proclaimed writers than now (sorry real writers, I feel for you). Everyone has re-discovered the power of the written ‘searchable’ word:
- the power of web-content (which you can get written by an outsourced freelancer for the price of a decent dinner in any big city)
- the power of blogs (which you can buy on a monthly basis or in bulk for a discount)
- smart and meaningful posts on Twitter or Facebook (which you can schedule to be posted hourly on your ‘private-professional’ profile by an offshore marketer)
I’m not planning on writing an article on discovering all the tricks and shortcuts that ‘marketing gurus’ are using nowadays. I’m actually planning on just giving you advice on how to write a business case study – so that you actually get some ‘organic’ readers really interested in the topic.
1. Pick a widely applicable issue / case
The past offers a wide range of events to choose from - choose wisely when deciding on the phenomenon that you want to describe in your case study. This can be an example of a challenge that was addressed, a decision that needed to be made, or a strategy that was developed for the future. Even if you are using a very specific situation, make sure that your case study can serve as a representative for similar situations and can be widely applicable (either to diverse industries or functional units within an organization).
2. Have references
You want to show that you conducted a sufficient amount of research for you case study and are well educated on the topic. You want to support your stand from multiple sides. See what other people have said about the situation, learn about the socioeconomic conditions at the time, and find all the pieces of the puzzle to understand the bigger picture. Use these references to go beyond the situation and to present a case for why you would or would not have managed the situation in the same way.
3. Provide a thorough background to the case
Think about these questions – who, what, where, when, and how. Pretty elementary questions, right? You want to analyze and classify all the factors influencing the case, so that the audience can clearly recognize the situation at hand, and see the challenges and actual solutions that were implemented, as well as alternative solutions and outcomes.
4. Be well structured
Ensure that your case study follows a logical structure. By now, you should have already introduced the case with enough background information. One of the commonly utilized business writing frameworks (e.g., pyramid principle) can be a perfect tool for connecting the 1) challenge to the 2) various activities and decision making processes that were executed to the 3) final actions, recommendations and solutions that were implemented to resolve this case.
5. Add strong visual objects
Let me be boring and repeat what you’ve heard many times before – a picture is worth a thousand words. Let charts, graphs, pictorials and diagrams tell the story. Don’t be afraid to be creative and to combine written and visual content, if nothing else to break the break the monotony. Should you publish your case study on internet be sure to consider one of the many tools that are available to ‘sex up’ your case (e.g., embedding video or audio clips, linking to online references, engaging readers in an open forum).