This article was originally published in the February 2017 edition of Dietetics Today Magazine under the title “Get Blogging – Defining the Purpose”; I hope that you find it useful.
As somebody who is still relatively new to the world of blogging here are some of my recent experiences of getting started in this exciting area, in case there are any other aspiring Dietetic bloggers out there 🙂
The main reason I started “Dietetically Speaking” was to join the other Dietetic voices on social media in promoting the role of Dietitians and evidence based nutritional messages, in view of the abundance of nutritional pseudoscience and misinformation out there. Not only is blogging a platform for the odd nutritional rant (!), but you have a lot of freedom to explore any interesting topics in nutrition or share recipes, personal experiences or nutrition and lifestyle tips; basically it can be as broad or as specific as you want to make it.
Blogging and engaging in social media is a fantastic way of connecting with the general public, becoming part of the health conversation on social media and flying the flag for Dietetics; which is much needed in this age of the self-proclaimed ‘health guru’!
Other perks of blogging include: connecting with other Dietitians and like-minded health professionals, staying up to date with nutritional research and public health messages, providing additional CPD, broadening your skill-set (e.g. writing, website management, video editing etc.), presenting career opportunities (e.g. publishing articles, public health and media exposure, setting up business partnerships etc.) and it also lets your creative side shine!
5 Tips for Getting Started:
- Is blogging for you? Jot down some ideas for blog posts, having a go writing some of these and getting feedback from friends and family might give you an idea if blogging is something that you would enjoy.
- Choose your blog title: I found choosing a name for the blog to be one of the most difficult parts of getting started as the name can set the tone for the scope of what your blog aims to cover, so lots of brainstorming was needed. It is also important to see which website domain names are available, for this you can look up sites such as: Krystal.co.uk, GoDaddy.com and 123-Reg.co.uk (and you usually pay a small annual fee for reserving a particular domain name).
- Define your audience: It is very useful to think about who your target audience will be, will you be targeting other Dietitians, the general public, the scientific community etc?
- Define the purpose and philosophy of your blog: What areas do you want to cover? Will there be a specific niche of nutrition that you want to focus on? As well as the actual content, most blogs have an “about” section which provides more information about you and the background to your blog, and a “disclosure” section which is needed to keep everything above board (I will discuss this in more detail in Dietetically Blogging – Part 3).
- Time and commitment: It’s also important to ensure that blogging doesn’t take over your life too much; so it can be a good idea to think about how much time you can realistically allocate to working on blog content per week and try to stick to this so you don’t burn out.
Taking the first step of getting started may feel daunting, but once the foundations are in place it feels much easier to gradually develop the blog content and website layout. Don’t feel under pressure to try and post a lot of content at the start, this will steadily increase; just enjoy starting to get a feel for blogging and getting your message out there!
For more information on starting a dietetic blog check out the other 2 articles from this series: