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Henry Stimpson’s PR and Marketing Tips
October 2003

Case Histories—Telling a Persuasive Story

Case histories are a marketing staple, but few are done as well as they could be, with lots of drama and narrative punch. Some tips:

Consider a first-person case history. Telling the story in the third person is the norm. However, many publications require a byline. If the key publication you’re targeting wants a bylined article, consider ghostwriting the case history in the first person—under the client’s name.

Start with an intriguing lead. Some case histories begin with a dry recitation, like “XYZ Corporation, based in Xenia, Ohio, is a worldwide leader in widgets, with sales of $1.5 billion in fiscal 2003.” Instead, get the problem right in the first sentence to create tension that will propel the reader into the story.

Show some emotion. When possible, use quotes from the customer that show how good he or she feels about the solution. Of course, quotes must be specific and credible. “Boy, this is great!” doesn’t cut it.

Facts and figures count. Document the results provided by the solution. Figures showing how much money and time have been saved or how much sales have increased add depth and credibility. If the customer can’t provide numbers, make sure to detail the customer’s thoughts about qualitative improvements.

copyright Stimpson Communications


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