If I had a dollar for every nutrition blog I had seen pop up on my Facebook feed over the past few years, I would probably be writing this post sitting on the balcony of my penthouse apartment over looking Sydney harbour. After the success that I have had in starting up The Nutrition Press, I have had a lot of students asking me for advice on how they can start their own nutrition blog. So I thought I would give five general tips about why you SHOULDN’T start a nutrition blog.
1. Blogging is “dead”
Okay yes, this heading could probably be awarded overstatement of the year, but hear me out.
As you can see from the graph above the trend of “blogging” is in decline. Unlike 2008, not many people want to sit down and spend 20 minutes reading a badly written piece about someone else’s problems. Today people are happy to watch an eight-second SnapChat video, or take ten seconds to read a witty Instagram caption. Tomorrow it might be that people don’t have time for eight-second videos but they are happy for their smart-watch to whisper it in their ear while they are asleep – who knows!
What I am trying to say is that the Internet is constantly changing place, and as bloggers and writers we need to make sure that we evolve with it. We need to continue to produce interesting and engaging content, latching on to the latest trends and use them to retain as many readers as possible.
So yes, although what used to be known as “blogging” is in decline, the meaning of the term “blog” is constantly changing and evolving.
As communicators we need to understand how people want to engage with our content right now. We need to redefine what blogging means to us, utilise social media, master the art of SEO, keep on top of and engage with new trends, and do anything to drive more traffic to our pages and profiles.
So no, technically blogging is not dead, we just need to make sure that we keep up with the trends and demands of the Internet.
2. Your “blog” needs to be more than just “a blog”
If you do decided to go down the way of nutrition “blogging”, it is absolutely essential that you need to do more than just “blog”. A lot of successful bloggers or communicators in the online space will do much more than produce written content on their own site.
Successful bloggers do things like:
- Utilise social media – Social media is a great way to channel more readers to your blog. In fact, using only social media is a great way to make your content accessible to large audience around the world, possibly even more than a blog. It is important that you consider which social media platforms are relevant to your readers. For a food blog an image sharing app such as Instagram may be the most targeted to your audience, but for a written content-based website, such as The Nutrition Press, Facebook and Twitter may be a more effective means of communication.
- Experiment with new technologies – One thing that I think lack between (reputable) nutritionists and dietitians alike are their engagement in new forms of online media. Take YouTube for example. Over the past five years there has been a boom in the number, and the number of successful video bloggers or “vloggers”. Yet how many nutritionists and dietitians do you know who have successful and engaging YouTube content? My answer – not many. In order to keep our audiences engaged, we need take on these new technologies in exciting and innovative ways.
- Collaborate with other organisations and do freelance writing – Having your content on other people’s or organisations’ blogs or websites is a great way to increase your exposure. Don’t be afraid to approach other bloggers and offer content. Just make sure you are getting your due credit, whether it be in the form of a link to your page or monetary. Also consider submitting your articles to websites such as the Huffington Post or BuzzFeed. Although you might not make any money from it, it is another great way to get your name out there.
3. It’s a lot of work and a huge time commitment
This is a big one! Whether you are just using social media or writing your own content, blogging is a huge time commitment.
You need to consider how many times a week you are planning to post and what is going to get the most engagement with your readers, at what times your content is going to have the greatest reach, and whether you will be able to realistically produce or schedule content at these times.
With blogging, you need to think in the long-term. There is nothing worse than watching someone start up a blog or a Facebook page, being enthusiastic for the first five minutes and then disappearing from the face of the internet when they get bored.
I recommend making a plan. Give yourself a year, commit to a certain amount of hours per week, block them out in your schedule and don’t stop! The worst thing you can do for a blog or social media page is stopping producing content. People will forget about you, your “likes” or “followers” will begin to decline, and then you will be back to step one. If you find after 12 months that you aren’t getting enough out of your blog, take a break, reconsider your approach (and platforms) and come back being even bigger, better and more engaging.
4. You need to find your niche
With so many social media pages and blogs run by dietitians, nutritionists and students it is important that you know where you sit in the market.
Who is going to read your blog? What makes your blog/social media page/website different from everyone else’s? Why should people follow your page and not someone else’s? Will this lead to future opportunities for you or your business?
These are all questions that you need to ask yourself before starting your nutrition blog/page/profile. Take the time to seriously consider them. If you don’t know where your niche might be, take the opportunity to write for a well-established website such as The Nutrition Press, and use it to uncover a better idea of the direction that you want to go.
5. Will people really want to read what you are writing?
If you are writing on your own and not getting much feedback, let’s be honest, your writing probably isn’t going to improve very much. And if you aren’t a great writer to begin with, then you are going to have a problem keeping your readers engaged.
The first thing that I would recommend going in this situation is get some feedback from someone else. Whether it be your mentor, lecturer, next-door-neighbour or your pet chicken (**only if your chicken is an experienced blogger), they will be able to proof read and provide a different perspective that you otherwise wouldn’t have. And in most cases this will be really valuable.
If you really don’t know where to start, I would recommend applying to join the team at The Nutrition Press.
Our editing system provides our writer with valuable feedback by our experienced editors. Over our team member’s involvement in our 12 month program, we see a massive improvement in their writing skills, which ultimately lead to more and better opportunities down the track.
Being involved in a larger organisation such as The Nutrition Press can also give you opportunities in other areas of online communication such as website development, networking and social media coordination.
Whether it be through The Nutrition Press, your own online-space or through a volunteer opportunity, I highly recommend you give blogging a go – As long as you promise not to start a boring blog, with out-of-date content that no one wants to read.
If you want to start your own blog but don’t know where to start, or just want to get involved in the online-nutrition world, you can apply to join The Nutrition Press team here.