I’ve written about feature stories in general. Here’s some information about application stories or case studies.
A special type of feature story, an application story or case study is a description of how a product is used. For a company, its purpose is to enhance credibility and provide a third-party reference. For the readers, the purpose is to learn about some product or approach that could help them solve a problem.
In developing a case study, make sure it is a story. Just because the sale was large does not make it interesting. What is different about the situation that could interest a reader?
Also make sure that the company is willing to have a story written. Oftentimes the actual user of the product is willing, but the company (especially larger ones) has a policy against participating in such stories or has a procedure that must be followed. So ask the customer for a contact in the company’s PR department to cross-check.
In writing, include the following:
- The name of the company
- The type of business
- Its headquarters
- The URL
- The situation before using the new product or service
- The new product or services used
- The criteria for selecting the product or service
- The results (as quantifiable as possible)
- Any future plans
Pitching a Case Study
The procedure for placing a case study is similar to that of other types of feature stories. Specifically, you’ll review the target magazines and websites to make sure they’re appropriate, suggest the story in an abstract, and either submit a written application story or give the editor enough information to write the story him or herself.
Even if you submit the case study, the printed version will seldom have your byline.
And, even if you don’t place the case study elsewhere, companies often write up case studies for use as marketing collateral and for their websites.