8 Best Practices for Economic Development Case Studies
May 20, 2015
Case studies or company “success stories” make great additions to any EDO website—not only because they help to showcase the range of business in the region, but also because they add third-party credibility to the region’s business advantages. With that in mind, here are 8 top tips for writing economic development case studies.
- Think Like a Journalist – Take off your “marketing hat” and focus on the Who/What/When/Where/Why of the company’s relocation or expansion story. Make sure to include a brief background on the company, details of their relocation/expansion (including investment and jobs created), the company’s “outlook” or future plans for its local operations and, most importantly, why they chose to locate or expand in the region.
- Get the Scoop Firsthand – Interview a key official who can speak to the company’s decision to relocate or expand in the region. This may provide a unique opportunity, not only to get some great third-party content for your website, but also to foster your organization’s relationship with existing businesses in the region. Be sure to ask strategic questions, keeping in mind the kind of content you’d like to take away from the interview, and set a friendly, collaborative tone by offering the opportunity to review the case study before posting it to your website.
- Keep it Short, Sweet and Consistent – Try to limit case studies to a specific word count (around 350 words is a nice, manageable length) so it’s not overwhelming to the reader. Hit all your key points and hone in on the “meat” of the story to make for a concise, enjoyable read. It’s also a good idea to follow a consistent format for all case studies so the reader knows what to expect. Consider breaking it into sections or including “Fast Facts” at the beginning or the end so key facts are easy to find.
- Use Pull Quotes as Visual Tools – Use pull quotes as a way to break up the text and draw the reader’s eye to particularly important quotes that highlight the region’s strengths. Use a strong color consistent with your branding to really make them pop.
- Write a Descriptive Title – “[Company Name] Case Study” isn’t exactly crying out to be read. Give your viewers incentive to “read more” by providing a little more information about the contents of the case study in its title. You can even throw in some of your key messaging—i.e. “[Region] Quality of Life Seals the Deal for [Company Name]” or “[Company Name] Finds the Skilled Workers it Needs in [Region].”
- Include Hi-Res Images – Keep your content visual by including the company logo and one or two high-res photos in the body of the case study.
- Feature Throughout Your Website – Feature case studies on relevant industry and/or business operations pages of your website. Use a logo, company image or pull quote accompanied by a “read more” click-through link to the case study itself to draw the reader’s attention.
- Use Content to Drive Traffic to Website – Push out new case studies on your social media platforms using key quotes or facts about the company’s relocation/expansion to drive traffic to your website. You can even Tweet at the company you profiled to start a conversation and get interest from their followers.