This article was originally published in the April 2017 edition of Dietetics Today Magazine under the title “Get Blogging – Final Tips”; I hope that you find it useful!
Although I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience of starting a blog, there are a few things to be mindful of when putting yourself forward as a dietetic blogger.
Relevant Guidelines and Policies
It is vital to adhere to relevant professional guidelines such as the BDA Social Media Guidance and HCPC Standards of Conducts, Ethics and Performance. Devising an accurate and accessible disclosure policy is also essential in order to clarify the scope and intentions of your blog, and also to minimise any potential conflicts of interest by clearly declaring any relevant partnerships or affiliations. The UK RDs4Disclosure website an extremely useful resource as it provides guidance on creating a disclosure policy, sign-posts to relevant guidelines such as those by the Internet Advertising Bureau, and you can also sign up to the RDs4Disclsoure pledge to provide accurate disclosure information on your blog. If blogging is not your main source of employment you may also need to investigate whether your workplace has a policy in relation to declaring secondary employment, especially if you make any money from blogging.
Avoiding Negative Attention
Luckily I haven’t had much trolling or negative interactions online since starting Dietetically Speaking, but whenever somebody has disagreed with something I have posted I have found that using general conflict resolution skills of de-escalation has helped, such as calmly explaining your opinion, acknowledging the other person’s right to disagree with you and thanking them for their contribution if it was constructive.
However, if an individual is being particularly aggressive in their comments they can be blocked or reported and the comments can be deleted. To minimise potential criticisms it is a good idea to ensure that all claims which are made in posts are substantiated, well referenced and avoid slander.
You may be targeted with automated marketing emails asking to advertise on your blog, however be wary as these may not be in the best interest of your website, and if you are interested in advertising it may be wise to investigate well established companies such as Google and Facebook. It is also important to be aware of social media bots (profiles which seem like real users but are actually algorithms designed to frequently ‘like’ or ‘comment’ on posts in order to gain more followers for themselves), these are generally quite easy to spot as their comments aren’t always relevant and their profiles appear fake, I usually try to delete their comments and block them straight away.
Working with other bloggers on guest posts and joint ventures can be really worthwhile, however be mindful not to compromise your core messages when working with others; for example I have been by asked by companies selling “superfoods” if I would like to work with them… I politely declined!
I have found joining the Dietetic blogging community to be a really positive experience; especially as it’s an expanding area with lots of exciting opportunities. I would definitely urge others who have considered starting a blog to give it a go.
Dietitians are best placed to be the main voice of nutritional reason in an environment which can be so full of nutritional nonsense!
If you would like more information about setting up a dietetic blog check out the first two articles from this series: