The first question we are asked by a broadcaster is nearly always: ‘Do you have a case study?’ Case studies are an excellent way to attract a broadcaster’s attention; whether you’re pitching to TV, radio or online, journalists always appreciate this way of making a story more relevant to their audience.
Whilst it is incredibly useful to have a third-party spokesperson and/or a well-informed branded spokesperson, a case study brings a personal account to support your story. It’s the human angle that makes the viewer or listener feel more part of the story. At the same time a case study can also take some of the commercial sting away from a campaign, and that’s always a good thing! Having a case study (and plural is even better) is an incredibly useful tool to have in your armory but it is worth noting a few things that you can prepare for, in order to get the very best one for your campaign.
The first thing to make sure of is to work out if your case study is relevant to the story. They either need to have been personally impacted by it or have had an incredibly close connection to someone who has been affected. Obviously, the stronger the case study story the more cut through you will get with media; it sounds cynical, but in coverage terms, the more emotive the better.
The next challenge after finding a case study, is finding more of them. Single is good but plural is great. This is because if you have more case studies you can cover more opportunities. Also, if you have many case studies spread over different locations, you can cover off more regional opportunities. It is likely that if you provide us with a case study for a strong story, we will be able to secure them at least 1 regional TV opportunity and 1 radio interview, so if you can provide 1 case study for each of our 12 suggested regions, think of the coverage!
With this in mind, when explaining to broadcasters who your case studies are, think about the target audience of the stations you will be pitching them in to. It is not prejudiced to think about age, it just makes simple sense. It is important to select a case study of an appropriate age and background to suit the demographic that you most want to reach. It is no good offering stations with a younger aged listenership 70-year-old grandparents etc., they just won’t be interested.
Once you have secured case studies regionally and demographically who fit the story, the next step is to make sure they are prepared for media activity. This can either be done over the phone or face to face. If you require we can also have a quick briefing call with them and give them a practise interview, to ensure they are confident and capable. There is no point going to all this effort without making sure at least some of your key messages are being communicated!
Preparation is key. It is easy in a campaign where you have professional spokespeople who do it all the time, to forget that your case studies are just like you and I. Broadcast activity for them is not an everyday occurrence, so they need to be aware of what they are about to face. Case studies need to be fully briefed on a story, to make sure that they have all relevant stats and are on message with your key themes, whilst also being careful not to over brand. It is also worth making sure if it is a health story, that they are fit and able to travel or appear on TV or Radio and are of course willing!
Case studies also need to know the type of interview that they will face, whether it is live or a pre-record especially. They will need to be aware what to expect from the presenter and also if it will be face to face, over the phone or down the line etc.
Overall, they have to feel comfortable and useful to the campaign, so they can relax and tell their story as easily as possible to add the human element to the campaign.