Case Studies: The Hidden Treasure in Your Storytelling Toolbox


Would you agree that we’re in business to provide solutions?

So why are some businesses not using case studies to promote these solutions?

Case studies are the hidden treasure in your marketing toolbox.  Yet lots of companies don’t appreciate their power or take advantage of case study marketing to highlight their product success stories.

Clients I’ve spoken to have commented that writing a good case study is hard.  Or it’s difficult to get customers to take part and I know that to be true from actual experience.  Nevertheless the return on investment (ROI), for the time spent researching and writing an in-depth user profile, far outweighs the hurdles you need to jump in order to achieve this.

Picture this …

Your potential customer is considering investing in the very thing that your company just happens to offer.

What’s the first thing they do?

Yes, that’s right, the same as you and I would do; jump online and start looking for information, product reviews, social media comments and case studies.

Once they’ve found this, they might then ask business contacts for their thoughts and recommendations.

But you’d better believe that by the time your potential customer approaches you, they will already know most of the benefits and features of your product or service.

In other words, they’re already a warm prospect which makes your job or that of your sales team a whole lot easier.

So what better way to help this process along, than to demonstrate your product or service in action using a well written case study.

The Content Marketing Institute surveyed European marketers and found that 63% considered case studies a crucial component in their marketing resources, yet there are dozens of business websites that don’t have a single case study available.

Time to Change

If you’re one of those businesses, let’s change that right now.

I’m going to help you create a winning case study.  And if you get stuck, get in touch and I’ll help you finish it.

The Case Study

There are four basic elements to your case study:

  • The Challenge
    • what was your customer’s problem?
  • The Journey
    • how did they try to solve it?
  • The Solution
    • why did they choose your product or service  as the answer to their problem?
  • The Benefits
    • how has it helped and what benefits is your customer enjoying as a result?

You don’t have to use them in this sequence.  Let your creative juices flow and find a different way of telling the story.  And if individuals use your product or service, write it in the first person as if the customer was narrating their story.

Emotion Sells

A successful case study creates an emotional connection with your potential customers, but avoids the “hard sell” marketing edge.  You want them to be nodding their head in agreement as they read it.

You want them to be thinking, “Eureka, this is me they’re writing about, this is what I need.”

It’s not easy to achieve this level of connection with your potential customer, but you can if you pay laser-sharp attention to what they need help with in their business.

The Who, Why and Because of Case Studies


  • Any company that provides a complex product or service – a real time example shows how it works
  • A start-up or a company offering something new
  • Companies offering for example:
    • Software
    • Web developer services
    • Consultancy
    • Hardware
    • Training
    • Services, also
    • Non-profits – show how you use funds raised and who benefits from them


  • To build trust
  • To prove that your product does what it claims to do
  • To demonstrate how it works and help people understand it
  • To answer potential customers’ questions and banish their doubts:
    • Will this work for me or my company?
    • Will it meet all my expectations?
    • Does it justify the costs?
    • How long will it take to see the ROI?
    • Is this manufacturer or provider reliable?


  • Approach them a short time after their project has been completed and they’ve happily signed off the contract
  • Choose your case study subject carefully – ideally a customer that’s your brand evangelist – not every customer will want to tell the world what they did or bought
  • Choose a customer that will appeal to the majority of your business demographic
  • Explain clearly what you’re looking for and why you think they’re the best fit for this study.  Most customers will be flattered – some will say, “No”

If you get some resistance, emphasize the benefits of being the subject:

  • It’s positive exposure for their company
  • It demonstrates to their own customer base that they’re continually assessing and improving their business
  • They can use the case study as their own form of marketing
  • You’ll be circulating it to your large email subscriber list
  • It will be featured at your next conference or Trade show
  • And highlighted in an industry publication
  • You’re sharing it across social media

Create a detailed document explaining what you need from them and what you plan to write e.g.

  • List the data you would like to get from them – this might need some negotiation
  • Identify the company employees you want to interview and quote
  • Explain you will be outlining the problem they had, and
  • Highlighting the outcomes they wanted to produce
  • Create a timeline for interviewing and writing
  • Ask them to confirm their review and approval process and who will sign off the final case study before publication
  • Ask them to nominate someone you can contact at any time to get questions answered or extra information

It’s essential to be absolutely transparent at this stage.  If you don’t explain everything in detail, you are going to have a difficult time getting the information you need.  Worst case scenario, they might say, “Enough” and back out.

Remember your case study subject is running a business (and running it much more effectively now they’re using your product or service) so time is precious.


Use the basic elements I highlighted above, Challenge / Solution / Benefits and explain:

  • How your customer faced critical business needs
  • Why your solution answered their needs
  • How the customer used it and why it worked
  • The great results they achieved

Include lots of hard data – without giving too much away:
(commercial privacy is a major concern and the main reason why most customers do not want to be the subject of a case study)

  • Number of employees
  • Years in business
  • KPIs (key performance indicators)
  • Sales growth figures
  • Savings made
  • Benefits they’ve experienced

Use quotes but make sure you interview the right person:

  • If a potential customer wants to know how your new software will speed up their business processes – they won’t be interested in a quote from a Human Resources Director.
  • Quotes can cover any aspect of the project from the initial problem to how easy it was to introduce the solution

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes: what would you want to know about your product or service?

  • Thinking like this will help you generate questions to ask your case study subject to answer.

Don’t forget to add an About Us paragraph on your company at the end of your study, with a strong call-to-action to persuade your readers to get in touch.  And include all your contact details.

Case Study: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)    Download PDF

The challenge:  The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) needed to create a robust online forum for its 182,000 members.
The solution:  Abila, a leading provider of software and services to nonprofits and other agencies, provided the solution.


Case studies don’t have to follow the traditional format of a written report and they don’t need to be too technical.  Shake them up by trying these alternative methods –

  • YouTube video – Interview the customer who used your product
    • Agree the questions / answers beforehand so there are no surprises to either party
    • Create a script format to make sure all the vital information on your customer and your solution is covered
    • Choose a relaxed setting – somewhere neutral
    • Include clips of the product or solution in action if possible
    • At the end give contact information for your subject (unless they decide otherwise) and your company

Video Case Study: The Investor’s Business Daily newspaper



The challenge:  To improve their online training.
The solution: Use the GoToMeeting communication platform.

  • Podcast
    • Do the interview as a podcast if the company doesn’t want its staff on camera
    • Use the YouTube video format above
  • Create an infographic
    • Use the basic elements – Challenge, Solution, Benefits – to tell the story
    • Use lots of color to make it eye catching
    • Share it on your social media platforms
  • Questions & Answers
    • This is a simple method for creating your case study
    • Build a list of questions you would like to ask your subject
    • Submit them and ask them to add their answers
    • Get them to add any questions & answers they would like to include

Length is not important as long as you include all the relevant details and no fluff

  • 750 – 1,500 words is the average word count in a case study


Case studies should be very visible on your web site and easy to find:

  • Include a link from your Home page
  • Once you have several studies – set up a dedicated page on your site.  You can give it a different name; call it your Happy Customer page or Success Stories or Real Life Examples, whatever works for you.
  • Highlight them with blog articles and remember to include a link to the study
  • Get your sales team to use them in their negotiations and refer customers to them

Additional Ways to Use Your Case Study

Case studies are a powerful way to get media coverage for your business so share them across networks to increase your lead generation and sales potential.

Here are a few more ideas for repurposing your case studies:

  • Use them in your PR strategy
  • Submit them to online industry magazines
  • Print hard copies for your sales team
  • Submit them to editors of trade publications
  • Convert and publish them as SlideShare presentations
  • Link to them in your email campaigns or newsletters
  • Add more complex detail and turn them into white papers
  • Use them as handouts at trade shows, conferences and workshops

And Finally

When it’s done, dusted and signed off, send a copy of the final version to your case study subject including the various formats you’ve used.

And don’t forget to add a big thank you for their time, help and cooperation.

PS:  Be unique and send an edible thank you in the form of a large box of cupcakes or basket of fruit  … that never fails to surprise.


Lauren Mackenzie is a freelance
B2C web content and business
communications writer


Leave a comment

Filed under Web content and writing copy

NaNoWriMo 2015 … It’s Not Too Late

Early October. Are you organized?

Have you planned your schedule?

Are you still struggling for ideas or have you got the plot worked out and already know your main characters?

If you’re shaking your head to any of these questions then you need to start planning NOW for the NaNoWriMo Writing Challenge.


November is National Novel Writing Month

It’s a fun, online writing challenge attracting budding authors around the world and as I highlighted in my earlier post, anyone can join. Your goal is to write a 50,000-word novel by midnight on the last day of the month.

Now Panic And Freak Out poster
Calm down…I’m only kidding.  It’s not that many words, only around 1,700 per day…okay 1,666 for 30 days to be exact.


I agree, writing can be a lonely sport but not during NaNoWriMo. Sign up and find your local write-in. These events spring up in all sorts of places and give you the chance to meet other aspiring authors facing the same challenges – juggling everyday living with finding time to write.

And don’t forget to check your NaNoWriMo dashboard for links to social media pages and make sure you bookmark the calendar for your local group events.


If you write regularly, you’ll know when and where you write best.

One thing I’ve discovered is I can’t write in silence. I need to have some sort of sound burbling in the background and I recently discovered a fantastic collection of soundtracks called SoundFuel.

This is an amazing music directory for writing, and it was the brainchild of Leah Kathryn,  a classical pianist and composer who also happens to be an author.

As you and I already know, music has an incredibly powerful influence on our brains and different types of music activate all sorts of emotions within us. In this wide-ranging collection you’ll find the perfect background track to inspire and energize your writing, whether it’s sinister gothic horror or light-hearted satire and comedy.


If you’re trying to figure out how to achieve your 50,000-word goal and could use some help, check out writer and author Gary McLaren’s brilliant weekly to-do schedule Ready, Set, NaNoWriMo! complete with ready-to-publish tweets.  And if you need help creating a plot for your novel, Harvey Chapman’s site Novel Writing Help has lots of wonderful advice, tips and ideas to get you started.

Is 2015 going to be the year you unleash that author lurking inside you?

Give it a try… you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Get Writing

PS:  Follow the NaNoWriMo Challenge





Lauren Mackenzie is a freelance web content & business communications writer at

Leave a comment

Filed under World snippets

250 Web Content Ideas … for starters

250 Web Content Ideas

There really is NO excuse for dreary, yawn-inducing web content.

But how often have you landed on a site, only to do a fast exit because the content was atrocious, boring, weird, pointless…  You probably have your own favorite adjective for the stuff you’ve seen masquerading as web content.

When a new client contacts me, one of the questions I’m often asked is, “What sort of content should I put on my site?”

My stock answer is it should always be:

  • Customer (or reader) focused
  • Well written
  • Fabulous quality
  • Giving the customer something of value (well they’re giving you their precious time)

So if you’re pondering what to add to your web site, let me give you a few ideas to play with.  I’ve compiled a list of over 250 Web Content Ideas that you can use online or as printable downloads.

I’ve tried to include terms you and I often use when describing content, so some topics may seem a tad similar.

I had fun pulling this list together and it’s not finished … an expanded version is in the pipeline as I write. And if I’ve missed something that you think should be on this list, let me know and I’ll add it.

You can download your list here: 250 Web Content Ideas

I hope you find inspiration somewhere on this list.


Lauren Mackenzie is a web content copywriter
lauren (at) thewritevintage (dot) com



Leave a comment

Filed under Web content and writing copy

30th April …

Here’s a VERY random selection of thought-provoking, horrifying and sometimes funny events that have happened on the 30th of April through the years.

The USA doubled in size through the Louisiana Purchase (Bought from France for $15 million approx.)

The first working typewriter was built by the Italian Pellegrino Turri. It’s said he created this for his blind lover, Countess Carolina Fantoni da Fivizzano, to enable her to write to him when they were apart.  Some of her letters still survive.

Victorian writer Charles Dickens’ “A Tale Of Two Cities” started to appear in weekly printed instalments.

The fabulous Boston Pops Orchestra was formed.

The first ice cream cone was produced by immigrant Italo Marchiony, who arrived in New York City from Italy.  His delicious creation was granted a patent in December 1903.

Baskets of Ice Cream Cones


American folk hero Casey Jones died in a train wreck in Mississippi, while trying to make up time on the Cannonball Express and a TV series was later created about him.    And Boxcar Willie’s version of the Wabash Cannonball with some wonderful trains.

The British Government ended military conscription 

The First Regular Television Service was launched in the States with President Franklin D. Roosevelt appearing on television for the opening of the New York World’s Fair.

Operation Mincemeat.
The British submarine HMS Seraph secretly planted the corpse of  ‘the man who never was’ into the Mediterranean sea off the coast of Spain.  False papers had been planted on the body to deceive the German High Command into thinking that the Allied Forces were invading Sardina and the Balkans.  They actually invaded Sicily and the deception worked.  It’s a fascinating story and worth reading the book Operation Mincemeat  by Ben Macintyre 

The infamous Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp was opened – Anne Frank, the young author of Diary of Anne Frank, would die here two years later, just before her 16th birthday.  (She wrote her diary while she was in hiding with seven others in occupied Holland).

After being married for only one day, Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide.  One week later Germany surrendered unconditionally.

The fabulous Land Rover Series I appeared for the first time at the Amsterdam Car Show.  It had four-wheel drive and was created from original Rover car components including the 1.6 engine from the Rover P3 60 saloon.

Babe Didrikson-Zaharias wins LPGA 144-hole golf  competition at Weathervane, Massachusetts.    She was America’s first female golf celebrity and in 1946 won the U.S. Women’s Amateur event.  In 1947 she won the British Ladies Amateur title and turned professional later that year.  In 1948 she became the first woman to attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open.  However, not surprisingly, her application was rejected by the USGA – who stated it was a men only event.   She went on to become a founding member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association.

Mr Potato Head was the first toy to be advertised on TV.

West German unions protested for a 40-hour work week & higher wages (and the fight continues today).

Premier Fidel Castro of Cuba received the Lenin Peace Prize.

The top 3 songs in the U.K. charts were:

Louis Armstrong – What A Wonderful World 
Cliff Richard – Congratulations  
Tom Jones – Delilah   (My wonderful friend Julia’s all-time favourite song … Go Julia)

Following the fall of Saigon, South Vietnam surrendered unconditionally to North Vietnam and the war in Vietnam was over.  The Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army and Government were now in control.

Led Zeppelin set a new record for audience numbers by performing in front of 77,229 fans at a single-act concert in Michigan, USA.
Almost twenty years later, in 1994, Rod Stewart performed at a New Year concert on Copcabana Beach, Brazil with an estimated audience of 3,500,000 fans.

Ashrita Furman peformed 8,341 somersaults over 12 miles  He holds more records than any human being alive and currently holds the most Guiness World Records.

During a quarter final tennis match in Hamburg, Monica Seles was stabbed in the back by a man who leant over a barrier beside her.  She made a full recovery after a few months.

The fabulous Ridley Scott film Gladiator, starring Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix was released.

Belgium’s parliament voted for a law to ban the wearing of the Islamic full face burqa in public. The law banned any clothing that obscured  the identity of the wearer in public places like parks, public transport and on the street.

On this day, the first oil that escaped during the Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster reached the beaches of the Louisiana Coast.

You read my very random curated list of 30th April events.  Thank you.

If you’ve got an event you’d like to add to this list, share it in the comments below.


Lauren Mackenzie is a
Web Content Copywriter.
Get in touch at



Leave a comment

Filed under World snippets

Do You Remember Pi?

Think back to your early school days.  Sitting in the Math class learning about that mystical, irrational number which is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter or “pi r squared”.

Yes that pi.

And today, Saturday March 14th 2015 is (unofficially) Pi Day,  mostly celebrated in countries that use the month/date format.

Not only that, it’s a very special pi day that occurs only once each century because for a brief moment in time, at 9.26.53 am to be precise, in numerical format it will be the first ten consecutive digits of pi – 3 14 15 9 26 53.


Pi is a very old number.

In 1706, an English mathematician, William Jones, was the first person to use the Greek letter Pi for the number.  In the Greek alphabet, Pi (π) stands for ‘perimeter’.

From history books, we know that ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Hebrews, and Babylonians knew about its existence and their mathematicians had worked out that it was approximately 3.  The Bible sets it at exactly 3.

Curiously, scientists investigating the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza discovered that its perimeter ratio is approximately twice pi, demonstrating that the builders knew of and used this formula.

It’s an infinite decimal – in other words, you’ll never get to the end of it.  In 2013 computer scientists worked it out to 3 plus more than 13 trillion digits.

Even Einstein got in on the act.

His General Theory of Relativity states that pi can’t be created precisely by simply measuring a circle, because we live in a curved universe.  And circles can never factor out to pi on a curved surface.  However, pi is always the same number, no matter which circle you use to compute it.

Albert Einstein


  • Some people celebrate by waking up at exactly 9.26.53 am
  • Lots of pies are eaten in honour of Pi, some decorated with the π symbol
  • Daniel Tammet, an amazing autistic savant, set a European record after reciting from memory, 22,514 consecutive pi digits in 5 hrs 9 mins – with no mistakes
  • This quirky website lets you find your birthday using the first 200 million digits
  • A couple of Artists, Martin Krzywinski and Cristian Ilies Vasile created a fabulous Archimedean spiral by giving each pi digit a colour and used the first 13,689 to create the spiral
  • Google search ‘digits of Pi’ to find endless lists of computer calculations for pi.  Really?
  • On the World Science Festival website you can test your knowledge with their Pi Day quiz
  • It has even featured in an episode of Star Trek.  Spock tells an evil computer to compute pi to the last digit (which is highly illogical – Spock’s favourite phrase) thereby destroying the nasty computer.

If, like me, you decided pi was one of those necessary evils you needed to know about to pass your school exams, but couldn’t ever imagine using, then you’d be wrong.  Pi is actually used in everyday situations.

  • In navigation: planes flying long distances actually follow the arc of a circle and need to calculate fuel, distance, weather accurately
  • GPS uses Pi to help you find your location
  • It’s used in geometry to calculate areas or arc lengths
  • It’s used to calculate signals ie radar, television, radio
  • Engineers use it to represent unknown factors in testing and simulation projects


If you want to type the pi symbol on your PC,  hold down the Alt key and type 227.

On a Mac hold down the Alt/Option key and type P.


If you’re a lover of coincidences and quirky facts, you might like to know that today,  3/14,  is also Albert Einstein’s birthday and 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of his General Theory of Relativity.



Lauren Mackenzie is a
web content and

business communications writer
Image credit:

Leave a comment

Filed under World snippets

BEWARE the domain name scam

During the weekend an odd email appeared in my inbox which read as follows:

Dear Manager

(If you are not the person who is in charge of this, please forward this to your CEO, thanks)
This email is from China domain name registration center, which mainly deal with the domain name registration in China.  We received an application from Dehua Ltd on March 2nd 2015.
They want to register my business as their internet keyword and China/Asia domain names.  But after checking it, we find this name conflicts with your company.  In order to deal with this matter better, so we send you email and confirm whether this company is your distributor or business partner in China or not?

Best regards
Abby Wang

After reading it, my immediate reaction was “SCAM”.

However, as it contained my domain name, I decided to investigate further.

Fiction vs. Fact

As you’ve probably guessed, my first discovery was that the domain name registration center didn’t exist and that the city named in their address, was not a city at all but actually a large northern province of China.

Dehua Ltd, the company apparently wanting to use my business name could be connected to a television station, porcelain manufacturer, Alibaba gold supplier and a Canadian coal and metal mining group.  Take your pick.

Digging deeper, I uncovered lots of comments on this scam and variations of it from Europe, the USA and Australia and that it has been going since 2010.

The emails originate from the Shanghai area of China, under different domain names, all using the Jiangsu Bangning Science & Technology Co Ltd as their registrar and they have various  ladies names masquerading as the sender e.g. Tiffany Dai, Angela Zhang and of course my friend, Abby Wang.

How it works

On one scam blog, I found a story from a German retailer.  Out of curiosity, he decided to play along with them to see how it would develop.  Very quickly, the emails became more hostile, throwing up red flags and dire consequences for his business if he didn’t agree to let them register him as the owner of the domain name.

At this point, the real purpose of the scam emerged as they aggressively demanded his bank and credit card information, “to allow them to register his details and safeguard business”.

The emotional sting

What makes this scam successful is that it mentions your business domain name, and in so doing immediately makes the email very personal.   I know from my own reaction, you instantly become defensive and want to protect your domain name and your business.

Sadly, during my search, I discovered a few who commented on receiving this email, and who also admitted they had paid to safeguard their domain name and ended up losing a lot of money.

And the retailer in Germany?   

Eventually, he told them he had recorded their IP address, registrant and admin details and had passed their information to the Chinese Government with a complaint about their method of business.

That was in 2012 and he hasn’t heard from them since…

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Lauren Mackenzie is an
independent web content
& business writer

Leave a comment

Filed under World snippets

Are you ready for NaNoWriMo?

November is an important month on the writer’s calendar.

It’s the National Novel Writing Month when thousands of aspiring and established writers start writing a new novel.

The challenge is to write 50,000 words during the month of November.

While writing a good story is far more important than the final word count, 50,000 words is a HUGE challenge when you’re also working full-time, running a home and looking after kids, studying or doing anything else that needs a large time commitment.Girl writing

However, as I highlighted in last year’s blog post, that challenge is gleefully taken up by writers around the globe every November… and this year is no exception.

If you’re thinking about flexing your fingers and starting that novel that’s been smouldering deep inside you for some time, explore the NaNoWriMo website for inspiration.

You can also look for a writing group close to you and make some new writing buddies along the way.

These groups can be a lifeline when your ideas start to fizzle out, the words won’t work or you just need a bit of writing TLC. Lots of these meet-ups take place in local coffee houses, book stores, libraries and other great venues and who knows, you may find you write better in some of these locations.

If you’re still having doubts, then read Joel Cunningham’s blog post on the Barnes & Noble Book blog about the eight bestsellers that have been created during NaNoWriMo.

So make 2014 the year you start writing that novel.

You never know what you can achieve… until you try.

Lauren Mackenzie is an
independent web content
& business writer
photo credit: Slaff via photopin cc

Leave a comment

Filed under World snippets

Once upon a time there was a United Kingdom

On 01 May 1707 the Acts of Union joined together the Kingdoms of Scotland and England into one single United Kingdom. On 01 January 1801, Ireland joined them . Wales was already there, having been annexed to England in 1284.

Together we became one of the foremost colonial powers in the world. Feared and admired by many.

Over the past 300 years, we’ve found a way of all working together. There are many places in the world that look at us with envy as they’re still trying to achieve this.


In Scotland we already have the best of both worlds: we have our own cultural identity, our own education system, our own laws and court structure and since 1999, our own parliament.

However, we also have the security and strength that comes from being a part of the United Kingdom.

Do we really want to give this up?

We’ve overcome a hell of a lot to get to where we are today. Yes, we’ve got a love-hate relationship – but watch how strong it is when our backs are against the wall.

Who’s going to watch our back if we become independent?

We’re a tiny country. Only 5.5 million of us compared to 64 million in the United Kingdom.


It’s interesting to observe that Salmond and Sturgeon don’t really want complete independence.

True independence would mean cutting ourselves free and floating off into the murky grey mists of the North Sea and the unknown.


  • They want to keep the Queen
  • Stay with NATO (if NATO agrees)
  • Continue to use the pound as our currency (with or without permission according to Salmond)
  • Stay in the EU (if all 28 member nations agree)

And, on being asked a question about Scots with family living in the rest of the UK, Sturgeon replied to one OAP that “we will still remain a part of the family of nations.”

Do you really believe that Nicola?


Bob Geldof said in his speech yesterday in London,

“Before there was a United States, before there was a United Nations, before there was a united this, that and the other there was a United Kingdom and it was an extraordinary meeting of very different minds of two extremely close cousins.

“Between the native genius of the Scots and the pure pragmatic drive of the English we made a world beater. “

As a United Kingdom we can still be a world beater.

So let’s all think very, very carefully before marking that X


Lauren Mackenzie is a
freelance web content
and business writer


Filed under World snippets

Is Sitting Bad for Your Health?

Yes it is.

And a recent study by Daniela Schmid and Dr. Michael Leitzmann of the University of Regensburg in Germany proves it.

The buzz phrase you’ve probably heard is, “sitting is the new smoking” for computer users.  But health issues linked to sitting all day are not a new discovery.

In the 17th century, Bernardino Ramazzini, an Italian physician, studied the health problems of workers who spent hours in one particular position.  Years later he wrote a book on his findings, Diseases of Workers and as a result became known as “the father of occupational medicine.”

The Descent of Man

Fast forward to today and with more and more of us spending upwards of eight hours every day hunched over a screen, it’s essential we adapt our working days to include more movement.

“If you are sitting for six hours a day or more it increases the risk factors for a variety of things,” says Dr. David Geier, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist in Charleston, South Carolina.

It’s too easy to get so engrossed in your work, or cruising your social media messages, that two or three hours zoom past with your body scrunched up in one position.

So, stand up right now.

Did you hear your joints creaking and popping?

If you’re nodding your head then you need to start using some of these suggestions to keep your body moving throughout the day.


Take them frequently and make it a habit.

  • Use the Pomodoro technique
  • is another handy timer you can set for any length of time you choose
  • Use the alarm on your phone or tablet


Every hour stand up from your chair and stretch, or if possible, walk around for 5 minutes to get the blood flowing.


Take some deep breaths. Sitting hunched over your computer causes shallow breathing and is especially bad if you have any respiratory problems.
Deep breathing –

  • Gets more oxygen to your heart, brain and eyes
  • Reduces muscle tension
  • Improves your concentration, brain processes and increases creativity
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Helps your digestion
  • Makes you relax and feel better


Drop some paperclips or staples on the floor beside your desk and pick them up one at a time.


When you talk on the phone. It burns more calories, improves posture and your voice.

Try standing and working at your computer.

  • Some users have switched from sitting at a desk to standing. While this does offer benefits, it can bring other problems especially if you have any back issues or leg circulation problems.
  • The most effective solution – alternating between both. There are several new desk designs that enable you to raise your computer to standing height.
  • If you work from home and don’t have an adjustable desk, improvise.  Put a box or a stack of large books on your desk and put your laptop or keyboard on top.  Adjust the height until its comfortable and there’s no strain on your arms or wrists.



Sit on an exercise ball.

If you have a desk that has a pull-out computer tray, you can sit comfortably on a ball while you work. It’s a superb workout as you are constantly shifting and working your core muscles. You also have to sit straighter so it works your posture too.

Beware you can also fall backwards if you roll a bit too enthusiastically, like I did the first time I tried this.

Step up

If you have stairs at work, use them.

If you work from home and can find even one step, use it like the old-fashioned school bench gym exercise. Step up and down as fast as you can and do reps of 20.

Walk walk walk

Whether it’s early morning, a quick lunchtime stroll or a walk home from work in the evening. Walk every day if you can. Studies have proven it reduces blood pressure, stress, fatigue and susceptibility to certain types of cancers.  It makes you breathe deeper and you can alternate between strolling and power-walking.

Improvise and Exercise

Do exercise in short sessions and use what you have available.

  • I use 1 litre bottles of water to exercise my arms and shoulders for 5 minutes
  • Do press ups against the wall or on the edge of your desk
  • Do imaginary skipping to your favourite fast track – believe me it works up a sweat and gets your heart rate up


Don’t neglect your eyes.  Check out Keyboard Athletes for great eye exercise tips to use while working on your computer.


And these help too…


  • Use wrist supports
  • Use an anti-glare screen
  • Get an adjustable ergonomic chair


  • Be aware of how much you slouch
  • Adjust your working area to reduce strain on your body
  • Learn yoga
  • GET ACTIVE any way that works for you



And don’t forget to stay hydrated.  Keep a large water bottle at your desk. Sip regularly and fill it up at least twice during the day.

Over to you

If your work has you sitting most of the day, what do you do to keep your body from seizing up?  Add your suggestions below.

Lauren Mackenzie is a freelance
web content & business writer



Images: /

Leave a comment

Filed under Web content and writing copy