«return to Tip of the Month ListingThe Tool I Use for (Nearly) Every Case Study

By Casey Hibbard

Case study writers, embrace your inner detective…for the truth is out there. And by truth, I mean juicy details to make your customer case studies richer, more specific and more relevant.

Here’s the deal: On every case study project, the typical information-gathering process goes something like this…
• Someone at the vendor company gives you background details to help you prepare for customer interviews and craft the story
• Then you interview customers for more

These are your typical “sources.” But they may not be the only sources of information about a customer’s engagement with the vendor.

Try a Google search that includes just the customer’s name and the vendor’s name (or product name), and see what pops up. There’s a chance you’ll uncover relevant resources to support your case study. Maybe your vendor contacts didn’t know about them, or maybe they forgot. Either way, you’re in luck.

Just yesterday, I did my Google trick and up popped articles where the CIO of the customer company talked about the very project I was writing about. And he mentioned an aspect that was new to me. What a little adrenaline rush to uncover something to help my project. I immediately added that topic to my list of questions to ask the customer.

On a search, you might discover…

• Blog posts – Sometimes customers tout projects on their blogs.
• Press releases – Did the vendor or customer create a press release about their engagement?
• YouTube – Here, you might find promotional videos, event presentations, or even amateur videos captured by employees that highlight the very project you’re writing about.
• News – Maybe a media outlet covered this, or at least mentioned it in a story.

A Google search should bring up any of these. Then use that information to enrich your interview and story.

One caveat…If you’re featuring small customers, or customers that don’t produce much content like I described, then your search (gulp) may turn up nothing. But it’s worth adding this to your checklist for every case study project.