Giving knowledge new life – who, what and why?

In my last article I promised to reveal the secrets of creating a powerful case study. And I’m a woman of her word – so let’s get to it.

Before you even start developing your story you should understand:

  • who you want to inspire
  • what you want to tell them
  • why is it important that they understand or agree with you.

In fact, consider that the first rule of any communication.

Having a specific audience and a defined goal for your case study will help you focus your message and gauge its success.

Your story will be more effective if you start out with a clear picture of who you want to talk to. Find out what drives them; what do they want to achieve? Do you share the same goals, but just approach it from different perspectives? Can you both get something different out of the same outcome?  Is there something that you need from them? And vice versa?

What do you want to say to them? Or to think of it from the other way; what do you want them to understand and do with your information? Perhaps you want to inform your audience of an important issue so they can contribute to its resolution. Perhaps you want your audience to learn from previous mistakes and successes so that their actions are more efficient and influential. Or perhaps you want them to see clearly something they’re already doing, so that they can do it better. At this stage it is also valuable to understand how your target audience best learns and shares information.

Having the answers to these questions will influence both the form and the content of your case study.

For example, compare these two potential case studies’ audiences and goals:

  1. Teaching prep kids how to best respond in a home fire so they can help their families to be more resilient in emergencies.
  2. Informing the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development of your fire education strategy so that it can be implemented in schools throughout the state.

I suggest that to speak successfully to their audiences and to get them to act, these two case studies would look and sound very different. We will look more carefully at case study structure in a following article – so stay tuned.

But now you should have the bones of your case study. In the next article we’ll be looking at how you flesh out your story with its vital and delicious content.

*To see how one organisation has developed a fantastic piece of communication with a clear audience and intention, check out the MFB’s Community Resilience Strategy video…

– Cressida B

Check out more stories in the category: Knowledge Bank