Picture this; you’re working on a story for your client, maybe it’s a press release, maybe it’s a feature, it doesn’t matter. What matters is, you’re sitting there thinking ‘Wow, I am good. What I’ve written is absolutely amazing’, you just can’t quite believe how talented you are and you’re so looking forward to getting this over to your client and then selling this work of art into the nationals.
But wait. You need to stop to ask yourself whether this absolute masterpiece could be made further compelling. How, I hear you cry? Case studies my friend.. case studies are the way forward. They could elevate your piece to levels you’d never thought possible.
They add a human element
Journalists are constantly receiving dry, dull and drab stories that they feel no connection to. If they don’t feel some human attachment to your story, why would their readers even be interested?
Adding a relatable, human element to any story is a great way to give it additional depth. For example, if you’ve written a release about the worst case of office hangovers (not sure why this springs to mind, lol), finding a person who has experienced a god-awful hangover during work hours (feat. throw up, crying and napping) would elevate your story tenfold. Human elements to stories often evoke emotion in others, making them far more likely to read the story and remember it down the line.
This reasoning encourages journalists to cover your story in the first place, meaning you should have some very happy clients on your hands.
Don’t start thinking that case studies can only be used for B2C stories – hell no, they can also be utilised for B2B stories too!
They establish trust in your client
You can use case studies for B2B articles similar to how you would for B2C stories; having them support a general press release you are writing by adding a relatable element. However, you can also use testimonial case studies in profile pieces about your client.
These promotional case studies do certainly have their merit, although they are harder to find a home for. Certain business journalists who may be writing about specific industries could want to hear details about your clients’ business, which can be the perfect time to whip out success stories they’ve had.
Everyone loves a picture; they pull focus, meaning that every Tom, Dick and Harry will likely be drawn to your story if you’re selling it in to journalists with relevant images. Luckily, case studies lend themselves perfectly to imagery.
Ensure you ask any potential case studies that they are happy to potentially be pictured in national publications. If they say yes, collate the information you need to support your story and then ask them to send images across to you that do the same.
Using the office hangover example again, you could ask them to send across a picture of them being sick in the office bin or sleeping under their desk.
Without images, journalists are less likely to be as smitten with your case study choice so do make sure you have checked with people willing to feature that they don’t mind their face being plastered all over the news.
They can create a niche
With the use of specific case studies you can actually create a niche within your existing story, meaning you can sell it in to a larger pool of journalists, increasing coverage opportunities, links back to your clients’ site and ultimately boosting SEO.
An example of this is regional publications – you may have got a case study for one of your releases wherein the person in question is based in Liverpool. With this additional element, you can now sell your story into publications such as the Liverpool Echo.
Some of these regional or niche sites have a great DA (Domain Authority) and are often more likely to link back to your client’s website, so utilising them where possible is always a wise move and case studies are the perfect opportunity to explore them.
What’s more, you can find multiple case studies in multiple locations and sell the story in across a number of regional publications, each with its own exclusive case study.
Journalists want them
Let’s cut to the chase. You should mainly be utilising case studies for the simple reason that journalists want them.
I don’t know how else I can say this without repeating points mentioned above, but finding real stories about real people that support your press releases and features WILL make journalists more likely to cover them.
They want them so go out and find them. And it makes their job A LOT easier and saves them the time of having to go and find the case studies themselves!
Where to find these miracle case studies
Where do I case studies, I hear you yelping into the abyss? Well, there are a few options available to you:
- ResponseSource (or equivalent)
- Scream out of your office/bedroom window
Twitter is one of our favourite platforms for finding case studies – tweet out what you’re looking for, ensuring you utilise hashtags such as #journorequest #PRrequest and #casestudy.
An example tweet from yours truly can be found below:
I'm looking for a Gen Z'er who has either seen a Life Coach or has strongly considered seeing one for guidance in their life. They need to be comfortable being interviewed by a national publication about their experiences. Hit me up! #journorequest #PRrequest #GenZ #lifecoach pic.twitter.com/vIGgy1SijX
— Harriet Dalwood????????????? (@HarrietDalwood) July 8, 2019
I had many responses on the back of this tweet, one of which, named Josh Dixon, ended up in the Guardian. His story was paired with research conducted by my client, professional marketplace, Bidvine, who had seen a rise in life coach bookings by members of Generation Z. This can be read here: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/jul/31/safety-blanket-why-more-teenagers-relying-life-coaches
We have also had success on Twitter finding case studies for our client Hillary’s. One shared her story of her disastrous flat which made her ill, supporting research by Hillary’s which found that one in five renters had fallen ill because of the state of their properties. This can be read here: https://metro.co.uk/2019/05/16/womans-flat-damp-mouldy-toilet-seat-went-soft-9566898/
ResponseSource (or platforms similar to ResponseSource) allows PR’s and journalists to send out requests to those subscribed to the service. This means you can post a desperate plea to thousands, hoping to find an office worker who has experienced a nasty hangover at work to support your release at the click of a button.
Closed Facebook groups can be a great way to find case studies for certain stories or you can simply post a status and get your friends and family to share.
While I don’t really recommend shouting out of the office window, you never know who will hear your cry for help.
In conclusion, you should be utilising case studies for your PR campaigns as they can increase coverage potentially tenfold. One thing to bear in mind though – many people who are willing to speak to publications about their personal stories and experiences will expect some form of payment, so do be prepared to offer a small fee upon publication (or, if the journalist has come to you looking for case studies they may even have a little purse for the story themselves – if you don’t ask, you’ll never know).