One key to good public relations is writing a case study

I. DEFINITION

Case histories describe how an equipment vendor helped solve a manufacturer's handling, processing, packaging, or production problem. A majority of readers must be able to relate to the problem.

II. FORMAT

Case histories follow a set format: They provide background information about the manufacturer, describe the manufacturer's problem, highlight the manufacturer's search for a solution, detail the equipment vendor's solution, and discuss the results.

A. Background information

Describes the manufacturer's business, location, and material: "ABC Co., Highland, NJ processes vitamins and nutrients for use in pet and animal feed ...". If the manufacturer requests anonymity, the description can be generic: "An east coast manufacturer of vitamin powders used in the pet and animal feed industry ...".

B. Problem

Describes the manufacturer's production or processing problem. Provides information on the disadvantages or negative effects that the problem created. For example, reduced product quality, increased labor costs, equipment downtime, hazards to workers, etc.

C. Search for a solution

Explains how the problem was handled in the past - what the manufacturer used prior to purchasing the vendor's equipment. Tells why this method was unsatisfactory.

D. Solution

Introduces vendor's equipment solution to the reader; provides general product information. Explains how the manufacturer learned about the equipment (trade show, prior experience, referral, etc.). Explains why the manufacturer decided to purchase the equipment (prior material tests, unique solution, etc.). When possible, tells how the equipment may solve a similar problem with a different material. (Tells the reader working with a chemical process, etc., how this solution may work for a pharmaceutical process).

E. Results

Expands on the advantages of the equipment vendor's solution. Details what the manufacturer gained by using the equipment; for example, improved the feed rate by 75 percent, reduced labor by one-third, cut material costs in half, eliminated safety hazards, saved space, provided a short pay-back time, etc.

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How to Edit German To American Metalworking Technical Writing

III. MISCELLANEOUS INFORMATION

A. Quotes

When possible, case histories should include quotes from the manufacturer's staff, preferably the manager or supervisor involved with the application. The person's title and if possible, name should be given.

B. Photographs

Photographs should enhance the reader's understanding of the story. Color photography of the equipment in the installation is required. Captions are needed for each photo used.

C. Length

Length may vary. Suggested length is 2 to 6 double-spaced, typed pages (500 to 1,500 words).

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IV. COMPETITIVE COMPARISIONS

Don't discuss the failings of a competing technology, for example, "that twin-screw feed mechanisms are complicated and more maintenance prone." While that is quite probably true, editors prefer to focus on the new technology.