Those hands didn’t belong to the editor. They belonged to the editor’s eight-year-old daughter Alice, who fell in love with Rowling’s tale and demanded to read more. She read one chapter and said, “Dad, this is so much better than anything else.”

The moral of the story?

It wasn’t until Harry Potter found its way to its target audience that anyone was willing to give it a chance.

The same is true with case studies.

Whether you hire a professional case study writer or create your own stories, it’s important to know your target audience.

Not sure where to begin? Here’s a quick jump start:

  • Who will be reading the case study?
  • What role do they play in the company?
  • What are their general characteristics?
  • What are their aspirations?
  • Is this person numerically-motivated or narrative-motivated?
  • What do I want to achieve by writing a case study to this particular person?
  • Are the end users and decision-makers different?

But ultimately, the best way to understand your target reader is to talk to them.

Speaking with your customers is the most efficient, exciting, and liberating process. It removes all of the guesswork for you, and gets to the heart of what matters to them.

And, don’t forget to talk to your internal team (sales, marketing, customer service, top level execs—whoever plays a role in the customer journey). Their insights are just as important.