How to write an enticing PR case study

By Lauren Wilson

Studies show that consumers’ decisions are influenced more by emotion than by logic.

Marketing campaigns that include human interest stories can generate thousands of new readers and shares on social media. To influence consumers, PR pros should build stories around their products. Adding a personal touch to your campaign can lead consumers to associate your product with their daily lives.

To write a case study successfully, adopt these approaches:

Write for journalists, like a journalist.

To craft their stories, journalists often use events, anecdotes and community issues. When pitching, include a case study about your product within the context of a consumer’s daily life.

How many times have you been told, “Sorry, but we’ve already covered that topic,” or, “That’s old news,” when you’re pitching an idea? A well-written case study adds a personal element to an otherwise data-driven news story and makes your pitch more appealing.

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For example, consider your pitch is about a new development of eco-friendly homes in Brooklyn, New York. This could be interesting, but it lacks a personal hook.

Instead, try pitching, “I have a case study about a couple of teachers living in one of these homes, and they pay just a $1 a day in energy costs.”

This angle appeals to a wider audience, because it tells a story.

Write for your reader.

An effective case study suggests to consumers that your product will improve their quality of life.

I call that tactic the “Joneses Effect,” and it works like this:

Mr. X reads an article in the personal finance section of The Guardian on his evening commute. The article is about how Mr. Y—who is also 46, with 2 children and working in finance—has made his life “so much easier” by investing in a [insert product here.]

Thirty minutes later, Mr. X discusses his day with his partner over dinner, and he mentions how Mr. Y fixed an issue in his home by buying a [insert product.]

An hour later, Mr. X receives confirmation of his new purchase from after clicking on the hyperlink in the online article he read on the train.

Although most conversion rates won’t be this quick, the strategy is effective, because consumers tend to buy into examples that look and feel human. By pitching a story that has emotion or that is relatable to a target audience, you increase your chances of securing coverage and converting customers.

Here’s how to write a great case study in three steps.

1. Find a target. Focus on a specific demographic, and explain how your product will benefit them. Audience research and persona profiling are good places to start when deciding on what scenario and story to build.

2. Add detail. Answer specific questions about your product, and include those of the average consumer. Include important product information, but be sure to balance that with detailed descriptions and emotional anecdotes. It’s the trivial details that help the reader to identify with the protagonist and sell your story to news outlets.

3. Be authentic. Tell a relatable story. Give your protagonist a name, a dog and an address. An element of authenticity will prevent your case study from being dismissed as a sales pitch.

Lauren Wilson is a member of Impression Digital’s PR team. A version of this article first appeared on the agency’s blog.



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