I consider myself to be a pretty savvy writer and have had part time positions writing for a variety of print and online platforms since the age of 17, well before I became a dietitian.
Those positions aside, I have always LOVED writing.
Not many things feel better to me than completing a piece of written work, whatever it may be.
It was pretty much inevitable that my passion for writing would play a pivotal role in my career as a healthcare professional.
I quite simply love writing because, in addition to being therapeutic, it provides me an unmatched opportunity to inform a massive amount of people.
Am I the most technically proficient writer? Not even close, but I know that I am very effective at crafting stories and conveying messages.
Let that be a lesson to you as well. You don’t need to be the best at using commas in order to be a highly effective nutrition writer.
That’s what I tell myself anyway!
My blog ( which is two years old) has received a variety of accolades and become an integral part of my business and personal portfolio.
I’ve had content published on a variety of websites and magazines.
People ask me quite frequently about my writing and how they can improve their own so I want to use today as an opportunity to share with you 5 very important steps you can take to becoming a more effective nutrition writer.
I am hoping that all you future ( or even current) dietitians & nutrition experts out there will find this helpful.
5 Things All Aspiring Nutrition Writers Should Keep in Mind
1. Use High Quality Arguments ( & Be Flexible)
Nutrition is a complex topic area and things are rarely black and white. When I see words like ALWAYS or NEVER used, I know that I am probably not dealing with an extraordinarily competent nutrition communicator.
The reality is that there are very few contexts in nutrition that can be so simply addressed.
No matter what your opinion, make sure you always respect/acknowledge/address the alternative argument and make sure the argument you are providing is exceptionally strong.
Remember that your critical analysis skills and the soundness of your arguments is what will set you apart from the less educated and competent writers who are spreading inaccurate information. Don’t be afraid to show these skills off in your writing.
Pro Tip: A very good way to know if something is generally considered “fact” is when a reputable nutrition organization has a statement on the topic.
2. Appeal To Different Types Of Readers
I believe that there are two types of blog readers.
The first is the true lover of information who really enjoys reading the whole story for what it is and appreciates how it is crafted. AKA the minority.
The second type of reader is more pragmatic and just comes for the take home messages. AKA the majority.
Make sure you appeal to both.
Pro Tip: Break down your articles using lists or points so that skimmers can get your take home messages without reading the whole article.
3. Re-frame Topics In Your Own Unique Way
The reality is that many of the nutrition topics out there have already been covered, so talking about a topic in the exact same way that everyone else already has won’t draw in readers.
You need to address hot and mundane topics in a way that is different than everyone else.
With the right amount of creativity in your approach, you can take a topic that has been done a million times and still make it intriguing to the reader.
Pro Tip: My latest article is a great example. Everyone talks about how GOOD healthy fats are for you, but very few people address that too much fat, even healthy fat, can sabotage your weight management goals. That is a great example of looking at a hot topic in a novel & intriguing way.
4. Make Your Title (& Cover Picture) Count
People judge books by their cover, make sure yours is appealing.
A crappy or generic title is a good reason for someone to skip over your article, especially if you are just starting out and have a limited following.
Do not write the best article of your life and then spend 30 seconds coming up with a title.
Also, make sure you use a high quality free image site ( such as unsplash.com) and choose a relevant and appealing image to draw in readers.
Pro Tip: Not every single article title can be a home run but save your flashiest most creative titles for your best pieces of work.
5. Don’t Be Afraid To Be Polarizing
Taking a firm stance on a topic is sexy.
In my view, one of the most important parts of blog writing is not being afraid to take a side and to ruffle some feathers.
Unfortunately there are some people who you will upset along the way ( someone told me to choke on my oatmeal after my anti- keto article) but as long as your arguments are rooted in evidence and delivered with the intention of helping the average person, you can do no wrong.
You can’t please everyone, so don’t try to.
Pro Tip: Embrace your education and authority as a current ( or future) nutrition professional and don’t be afraid to quash misconceptions.
Writing nutrition content on the internet is a very competitive space, but if you are an aspiring or current dietitian, you have a HUGE advantage over the average writer both due to your education and critical analysis skills.
The world needs you to make the most of those advantages because, quite frankly, we are up against a whole lot of people who don’t know what their talking about and who are fueled more by profit and propaganda than by truly helping people.
Until next time,
Andy De Santis RD MPH