Put yourself in the position of one of your potential consumers, of someone hearing about your product for the first time. Have you read the product description, done your research, read the reviews? Or are you imagining the product in your own life?
According to recent research, the latter is what would finally convince you. Decision making processes, including purchase behaviour, are based on emotions, not logic. This means that from a sales perspective, your consumer needs to form an emotional link to your product before they buy it.
There’s an art to doing this authentically, and the secret is to drop your reader and your product into a real-life scenario, where they can see the benefits for themselves.
Whether you’re just starting out with digital PR or you’re a seasoned professional, this guide is here to help you build a story around your product, boosting your success rate for pitches, coverage and sales.
The perfect pitch
Now put yourself in the shoes of a journalist. You arrive in the morning to check your emails and you’re confronted with endless product pitches from PR folk all eager for coverage. How do you choose what’s relevant? How do you find something your readers will relate to? How can you separate your content from the competition?
This is where you and your product will be one step ahead, because you’ll have already answered those questions in your outreach. You know that this is about creating a story, not a sales pitch. You have brought your product to life by placing it in a real-life scenario, and this is your ‘hook’. This kind of story already has an angle, which means you’re saving the journalist time and effort, and giving your story a great chance of being chosen.
Journalists want to add an element of human interest into every story, so a case study’s real-life edge lends itself to this in a number of ways. If a journalist mentions any benefits of a topic, your case study provides a real-life example of those benefits, with a convenient mention of your product.
A well written case study can also provide you with a great response to the set-back “sorry, we don’t think we’ll be covering that topic again”, because a case study is a new story in its own right and therefore creates the potential for a follow-up piece. Everybody wins.
Let’s look at an example of this approach in practice. A company has built a new development of eco homes in Lincolnshire with the aim of achieving a low daily energy cost. While this is an interesting concept, does it grab you?
Now let me try again:
“I have a case study here for you about a married couple from Lincoln who now pay less than £1/day on their energy bills thanks to their new eco home.’
Now you’re listening, along with the journalist and most importantly, your target consumer.
Pitch real-life case studies and gain coverage
Tracking conversions back to your case study
The beauty of online coverage means that after planting your product in the minds of target consumers, they can follow a link back to your website to find out more details about your product or buy from your ecommerce site. Tools like Google Analytics offer you the ability to quantify the increase in your web traffic and track it right back to your case study strategy.
This recent case study featured on Yougen Blog brought hundreds of new visitors to that company’s website and, most importantly, generated thousands of pounds in revenue.
Three steps to writing a great case study
Do your research
Know your audience and demographic. How will your product benefit their lives in particular? Which elements of their everyday lives can your product improve?
Profiling your consumers can help you to come up with the ideal real-life scenario that you can place your product into, built around their own lives.
Detail is key. The essential qualities of a well written product case study include a person, location, occupation and emotions.
A useful tip is to write yourself a list of practical questions for your case study to answer. Where in their home do the family use it? Can it be used while doing something else like lunch at the office? What are the family doing now they’ve saved this time/money? These details are what make it ‘human’.
Include important product information, such as the model name, colour and dimensions, but tie this into the natural setting of your case study family, describing details of their ‘sleepy’ hometown or even the name of the family pet! It may feel like this is an excessive amount of information, but these are the points of which reach into your consumers lives and create a personal connection.
While including real-life details of pet names and village life may seem like trivial information, they give your story credibility. To give your readers even more of an insight, make sure to include photos, videos and quotes from people benefiting. The easier it is to picture a relatable scenario, the easier it is to believe it.
Aim for detail that feels natural. If your case study reads like a sales pitch, it is likely to be regarded just like all the others waiting in a journalist’s inbox, or be dismissed by your consumers. The details are the key to your ‘hook’.
You’re now armed with the information to write a case study which enhances your pitching, coverage and sales. If you’re looking for further inspiration, here’s a great example.
By Philippa Yellop, Digital PR Marketing Assistant, Impression