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News Reporter Makes Great Case for Case Studies
By: Jeannine Wheeler
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When Good Morning America’s Amy Robach found out she had breast cancer only two weeks after undergoing a mammogram on live TV, she provided her own network with the ultimate case study: showing how a simple medical test can save women’s lives.

Case studies are tried and true tool for enticing readers into a story — especially effective when you are tackling a topic that is overly complicated, inherently dull, or that has already been saturated by the media, as in the case of breast cancer. The Amy Robach story certainly raised new awareness of this deadly disease.

Although the case study is a simple tool, it is sometimes difficult to source. That’s because clients are sometimes reluctant to deliver real-life examples of clients who will step forward to tell their story. This can be for a number of reasons, including that they don’t want to bother their customers or clients, they don’t have time to do so, or they don’t want to break confidentiality agreements.

It behooves us as PRs, however, to do our best to elicit these cogent and many times inspirational stories from our clients. We can then use them in print, video, and social media to help tell our client’s story, often more effectively than any trade ad, brochure, or press release (video case studies are particularly effective). In fact, case studies can and should be used within all these formats to create more compelling content. They are powerful when posted to a client’s website, where visitors can learn and be entertained; hopefully both. People remember gripping stories, even more so when they are linked to a product or service that can provide a satisfactory solution.

Concludes Amy Robach in a follow-up blog:

“I was also told this, for every person who has cancer, at least 15 lives are saved because people around them become vigilant. They go to their doctors, they get checked.

“I can only hope my story will do the same and inspire every woman who hears it to get a mammogram, to take a self-exam. No excuses. It is the difference between life and death.”

Case studies are sometimes difficult to source, but they are one of PR's most effective, powerful, and compelling tools. Witness Amy Robach's unintended case study for breast cancer.


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About the Author
Jeannine Wheeler is a PR Director who has worked in three countries, including Russia, the US and the UK. She is currently Sr. Vice President of Pure Energy PR, a full-service boutique communications firm with a focus on the energy, healthcare, technology, construction, real estate & land development, tourism & hospitality and food & beverage industries. Jeannine is in the firm's Austin, Texas office.
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