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Get Publicity Through Case Studies

by Marcia Yudkin

A number of sites and publications specifically invite those involved in issues central to their mission to submit detailed accounts of what they did to solve a problem or achieve a goal. According to Hollis Thomases of, case studies are increasing in popularity and have tremendous “pass along” value, getting forwarded to colleagues and friends more than articles or other content. 

Often case studies get posted pretty much as submitted; sometimes they get turned into an article in the voice of the site’s writer or editor. Either way, they offer a terrific vehicle for showing how you get things done and an opportunity to celebrate your success in public. 

You can also submit a case study to online or print reporters who cover your beat, to inspire them to work you into a future article. Naturally, you can post it at your own site, too. If the case involves a product or service besides yours, submit what you’ve written to the vendor. I’ve even seen customer success stories or case studies highlighted in catalogs and at Web sites.

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In creating a case study, use one of the following conceptual frameworks:

Problem – solution
Problem – line of attack – results

You may disguise some of the circumstances to protect confidentiality or preserve trade secrets, but the case study will have value only if it contains nitty-gritty details. One of the most common shortcomings of case studies I’ve seen is omission of the results. The writer says, "Here was the challenge and we did such-and-such and such-and-such." OK, and what happened then? How did you know the solution worked? What numbers or qualitative changes demonstrate that this strategy was a success? Without results, the case study is simply hot air.

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Case studies appear to be especially popular in the fields of ecommerce and environmental studies, but there’s no reason not to use the format for other industries, too. 

Copyright 2004 Marcia Yudkin.  All rights reserved.

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