«Return to Blog List The ‘Tell ‘Em, Tell ‘Em, Tell ‘Em’ Approach to Case Studies
Ever heard this popular expression regarding presentations?
“Tell them what you’re going to tell them. Tell them. And then tell them what you told them.” Or something along those lines.
Why should we repeat ourselves? Because people have short attention spans. By repeating, audiences hopefully go away having heard your most important points at least once, if not more.
In a written story, repeating ensures that skimmers catch your main ideas.
So how do you apply the “tell ’em, tell ’em, tell ’em” advice to case studies and success stories?
Try applying these three ideas to your next case study project:
The Intro Summary
In longer magazine features or even the evening news, the story often kicks off with a brief summary of what’s to come – usually only about a paragraph.
For each of its case studies, Microsoft includes a summary just under the headline, before the body copy starts.
Keep it short and to the point. Ideally, mirror the rest of the story in that single paragraph by briefly mentioning the main challenge, how it was solved and the biggest benefit the customer experienced.
The Body Copy
Before you ever start writing, ask one question: What is the most important thing I want the audience to know? Then, structure your story around that message.
For example, maybe the #1 take-away is that the featured product enables faster customer support.
Early on, talk about the challenges of delivering customer support and how slowness has affected the business.
Follow that with solution delivery that indicates HOW the solution expedites support.
Finally, let the reader know that customer support is indeed faster, and back that up (hopefully!) with metrics.
Include customer quotes that touch on the speed of delivery through your story, and headlines as well.
With multiple mentions of your main idea, you not only “tell ’em,” but a case study lets you SHOW the audience.
The Wrap-Up Quote
Personally, I love ending a case study with a quote that’s the equivalent of a big bow around the whole story – something that truly encapsulates the customer’s experience.
Who should have the last word in a customer story? The customer. A quote feels more authentic than ending with a summary paragraph.
The perfect wrap-up quote doesn’t introduce anything new, but rather reflects the relationship in a nutshell.
To get a spot-on final quote, I usually ask this simple question, “Is there anything else you would like to add that we haven’t talked about yet?”
Often, the customer provides his or her own summary of the relationship.
If not, try, “What would you tell others about your experience of working with ABC Company?”
With your story written, go back and count where your key points pop up to make sure you’ve told them, told them and told them again.
Seen any great examples of companies that do this with their case studies? Send them my way and I’ll feature them on the blog.