Clients often come to us for copywriting case studies. They’re a great way to showcase your products and services, and have a lot more credibility than any amount of generic marketing copy.

One of the first questions we ask is whether the client has a standard structure for their case studies. They often don’t. But even if they do, we usually need to change it.

Here’s why.

In the absence of any other template to guide them, most people will usually opt for a variation of the traditional case study structure of:
• Background
• Challenge
• Solution

But if you think about it (and we do, a lot), that’s like writing a news story or a press release but not saying what actually happened until the very end.

As any journalist will tell you, the model for writing an engaging, reader-friendly news story is what’s called the ‘inverted pyramid’. What that really means is that you start with the most important information first, at the top of your story, and then work down, gradually adding the less vital details as you go.

There are two reasons for this approach:
1. It means you are grabbing readers’ attention immediately with the most important facts
2. If you (or someone else) needs to shorten the story to fit the space available, you can cut from the bottom, safe in the knowledge that you’re not removing some major detail.

It’s the first point that is important for case studies. If you follow the traditional structure, the most important part of your case study – i.e. what you actually did and how it added value to the customer or client’s business – comes last.

Before readers even get to it, they have to wade through the background and challenge which, although they are relevant, are not the key messages you want them to focus on.

So next time you’ve got a case study to write, instead of taking the default option of background – challenge – solution, try and flip it on its head and start off with the message that’s most powerful for the reader, and for your business – the solution.

Or if you’re struggling, just drop us a line and we’ll see what we can do.