If you’ve ever wondered how dietitians get featured on news shows, on the radio, in magazines, or quoted on websites, THIS is the episode for you because I’m talking with dietitian and media expert Bonnie Taub-Dix.
What You'll Learn
- How traditional media differs from “social media”
- Ways dietitians can be featured in traditional media
- How to turn media features into business opportunities
- Whether you need any special experience to start working with the media
- How to stand out amongst the crowd and become a go-to resource
- Bonnie’s best tips for getting into media work
More About Bonnie
Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA,RDN,CDN is the award-winning author of, Read It Before You Eat It – Taking You from Label to Table, and creator of BetterThanDieting.com. Bonnie is a media personality, media trainer for RDs, spokesperson, motivational speaker, journalist, and corporate and brand consultant whose messages are laced with her culinary passion, her credible guidance as an advisor and her wit and wisdom as a mom.
Bonnie is Director and Owner of BTD Nutrition Consultants, LLC, with offices on Long Island and in NYC. She is a Health & Wellness Contributor for TODAY.com, US News & World Report and Livestrong and her stories and interviews have appeared on thousands media platforms including television, radio and podcast shows and print and online outlets.
Bonnie is a past spokesperson for The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the recipient of their prestigious Media Excellence Award. Bonnie has set an example when setting her table by teaching her children that nutritious and delicious can exist on the same plate.
Learn more about Bonnie's Media Masterclass.
Connect With Bonnie
- Website: bonnietaubdix.com
- Twitter: @eatsmartbd
- Instagram: @btdmedia
- Facebook: @btdmediagroup
- LinkedIn: Bonnie Taub-Dix
Episode Show Notes
Erica Julson: If you've ever wondered how dietitians get featured on news shows, on the radio, in magazines, or quoted on websites, this is the podcast episode for you. Today, I'm talking with dietitian and media expert Bonnie Taub-Dix. We discuss how traditional media is different from 'social media' that is so popular today. Ways dietitians can be featured in traditional media, how to leverage media coverage into business opportunities. Then we chat about whether you need any special experience to start working in the media, how to stand out amongst the crowd and become a go-to resource. And we end with Bonnie's best tips for getting into media work. I actually don't have much experience in this realm, so it was really helpful to hear all of Bonnie's real life tips, stories, and advice. Let's get into the interview.
Erica Julson: Welcome to The Unconventional RD Podcast, where we inspire dietitians to think outside of the traditional employment box and create their own unconventional income stream. We'll talk all things online business to help you start, grow, and scale your own digital empire.
Erica Julson: Hi Bonnie. Thank you so much for being on the podcast today. I'm really excited to chat with you.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: I'm thrilled to be here.
Erica Julson: I know you are going to give us some great tips about working with the media. But I always like to start the podcast out getting some background on my guests. So would you be able to tell us a little bit more about your background in dietetics like how you got started in the field and maybe what you're doing today?
Bonnie Taub-Dix: Sure. Well, I kind of had an interesting route to working with media. Because I originally went to college with the intention of majoring in psychology and minoring in art. And while I was at orientation, someone brought up the idea of becoming a dietitian. I had no idea what a dietitian was, but I actually had just lost a lot of weight by learning how to eat healthfully and eat more mindfully. So I thought well, that could be pretty cool.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: So I raised my hand, signed the paper. Went for an interview to Downstate Medical Center and wound up getting accepted. So I switched schools, switched careers. And after that, the last thing I wanted to do when I graduated was work in a hospital. And I wound up working in a hospital, one hospital for four years. And then changed hospitals, became an assistant chief dietitian and worked in the other hospital for six years.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: But what's so interesting media wise is that I became friendly with someone in the hospital's PR department. And they asked me if I would shoot a few one minute commercials for the PR department. I never did that before. And I found that to be so exciting. So then what happened was they were asked by a national TV show if they had anyone who could come walk through the supermarket with them and talk about food labels. So they take me because they knew I wasn't afraid to be in front of the camera. And of course, little did I know that all these years later, I'd wind up writing a whole book on how to eat by reading food labels.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: But it also taught me something about really being excited about being in front of a camera and doing media interviews. And that was actually the first interview that I ever did on TV.
Erica Julson: So where did that lead? Did you just get more opportunities came your way and then now you teach other people how to do the same thing?
Bonnie Taub-Dix: Yeah, so more opportunities came my way, but I also made a lot of opportunities come my way by reaching out. And slowly but surely, which is something that of course we're going to talk about today, interviews are like magnetic. And the more you do, the more you wind up getting. But you do have to do a lot of preliminary work for that.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: And today, I actually wound up coaching RDs also in kind of an another interesting way that that came about is I used to counsel RDs all the time because people would come to me because they knew that I had this media experience. And don't forget, I started my media career over 30 years ago. So not only wasn't there a lot of the channels that there are today, but I know I'm dating myself here, but there was no social media. If you could believe that a smartphone didn't exist, it didn't exist. And I don't want to sound like it was the days of Abe Lincoln, but it was a long time ago.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: So basically, the media that we had was TV, and radio, and magazines, and newspapers. So I really was asked to do a lot of TV in those days, which now is the ultimate thing to be asked to do. But then it was all that there was. So that really was the only video that was around.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: So RDs very often came to me because if an opportunity came up for them for TV, then they knew that I knew how to do that. And what's interesting now about RDs that started coming to me is that they could have hundreds and thousands of followers on social media. But yet when a TV interview comes up for them, or even a magazine interview or online sources, they don't know where to look. They don't know what to wear. They don't know how to put sound soundbites that sound really exciting together, because they're used to really reading the science, yet not really knowing how to translate it so that they will get quoted.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: And what happened was a few RDs came to me and they said, "You should really do this as a business." And I never really thought that much about doing it as a business, but now that I launched that business, it's taught me so much about really what I did, not even remembering so many of the things that I did. So that has really been kind of exciting for me. I know that was a long answer to your question. But yeah, so now I still love working with media. And I'm called upon by media every week to do interviews. I had three interviews this morning before we recorded this. And I love teaching RDs about how to do that, which we'll definitely talk more about.
Erica Julson: What's the name of your business or your website now, if people want to hop over and check it out right now?
Bonnie Taub-Dix: Yup. Well, what's interesting about the website is that I redid my website about a year or so ago. And you know as well as everybody always hears, you need to have an avatar. Who are you talking to? And I tried to hire several companies who wanted me to have one avatar, and I was struggling because I really have three avatars. I have the public because every time I'm quoted in a story, that's who the story is for, for the general population. But my bread and butter is from brands that I work with. So the brands are really my avatar.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: But, RDS are really my avatar because I love talking to RDs about getting in the media. So my website is called betterthandieting.com, and you'll see that there are three different portals. So for RDs, you'll see that if you click into the RD portal, you'll find my blog that's geared just towards our RDs. And you could sign up for my newsletter, which is just for RDs. And my Instagram, I actually started a new Instagram at the same time. That's @btdmedia, which is just for RDs and health professionals to help them get their names in the news.
Erica Julson: Love it, super helpful. And smart. I mean, I totally feel you how you're like, "I need to speak to this person, and this person, and this person. And how do I make that all fit on one website? Or should I split it?" Yeah.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: Well, because I think that a lot of RDs, and this is a subject for another time, if you ever want to talk about it, but a lot of people talk about niching down. And I guess my media training business is my niching down for that. However, I don't niche down in everything else that I do because reporters know that they could call me to talk about anything. Whether it's food that, I don't know, whether it's vitamin D or what increases your sex drive. I mean, I get all of those kinds of interviews. So I don't think that RDs really have to feel the pressure to lock themselves into one particular area, unless there really is something that they're so passionate about that that's all they want to talk about.
Erica Julson: Yeah. I'm excited to hear your tips about the media aspect as well. Because I feel like that is very different. It's all about your intention, and your goals, and what you're trying to do. But that's a really helpful on the ground, insider perspective for getting more media features, I think.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: And the other thing I wanted to mention is that these days, we know that there are so many 'influencers' that are out there talking about nutrition information, and diet tips, and all of that kind of stuff. So part of the reason why I also did this venture with counseling RDs is because I feel so strongly about us getting our names in the news. And there are so many things that hold RDs back from reaching out to media. Yet these influencers are quick to get out there, and their popularity is based upon the numbers of followers they have, not necessarily because of their credibility. So we have the credibility. You don't have to have a ton of followers to get your names in the news.
Erica Julson: Amazing. I feel the same way. That's why I'm super passionate about helping dietitians create better content on their blogs that gets found. Because it's the same exact thing. It's like there is a strategy. And if you follow it, you get seen, you know what I mean?
Bonnie Taub-Dix: Exactly. Exactly.
Erica Julson: It's just totally what we need, I think, as a profession. So let's break it down for the people listening. What do you mean when you say media, and how is that different from social media that exists today?
Bonnie Taub-Dix: Okay. So when I talk about something like traditional media, that would be TV, radio, magazines, and newspapers. And when you put something on your Instagram, even if you have a few hundred thousand followers, you may get a lot of likes. But where does that get you? Is everybody going to your website? Is everybody checking you out and giving their business to you or buying your business? No, not necessarily.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: But I'll give you a perfect example. There was an RD that came to me to ask me to help her. And she is really, has an amazing feed on Instagram. And she had to do a TV show, but she didn't know any of those things that we talked about. Where to look, what to wear, how to pivot off of a difficult question. So I trained her and she went on TV. And then she called me back after the show. And she said within minutes after the show, she had 2,500 heads to her website. And that that never happened from social media. So if you get to go on TV and you do an interview on TV, it is incredibly electric and it is unbelievable what that attracts beyond social media.
Erica Julson: And I'm sure there's like, it's just like everything. You have to have a plan probably in place like okay, if I'm expecting a surge in traffic from this spot on whatever it is, TV maybe, then I'm sure you probably help people figure out how to capitalize on that in the backend too.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: Yes, of course. Of course. Even with helping them change their website so that they could plan for that kind of thing. But to do something like a two or three minute TV show, which sounds like it's really so little time, it could take me days to prepare. My husband knows that if I have a TV show that's coming up for a national show, don't talk to me for days. And there is a strategy with having a whole list of all the kinds of different kinds of soundbites. And then narrowing that list down, and that list down, and that list down. And when I coach RDs, if they're working with a brand and they're doing some sort of media placement, and by the way, this doesn't have to be for national TV. It could even be for doing an Instagram TV, or an Instagram live. If you're working with a brand, you need to know how to get their messages across. And if you're being interviewed by somebody else on media, if you have a brand and you know that your segment could only be two minutes long, you can't wait until the end to get that message out. Even if you're not asked the question at all, you have to know how to pivot, whatever they ask you to give that message that you really need to get out
Erica Julson: So helpful. I was interviewed on a news bite, out on the street once. And that's the extent of my ...
Bonnie Taub-Dix: Those are fun.
Erica Julson: It was fun. There was a Chipotle by my office. And they Google searched for a dietitian nearby to pop out and give a quick quote.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: See that? You see that? The 15 seconds of fame. I know it was 15 minutes, but it's really, it's so much fun. Sometimes you never know what happens in the pre-interview. Like a post that I just did on my Instagram btdmedia. I just wrote something about smiling. And that part of the interview where they're introducing you to me is the hardest part. Nevermind the whole interview. Because you have to stand there smiling with your face frozen because you don't know if you're on the camera or not. And it is so uncomfortable, but you really have to do it because you can't have that default face where you're frowning, because that comes across terribly.
Erica Julson: I know. I feel like you probably learned, I mean you've been doing this for so long. There's so many little things like that, that you probably learn along the way. And then that probably makes you stand out and get more people to call you back. I would imagine.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: Absolutely. Absolutely. Because it's even knowing where to look. And then there's also so many differences between a live show versus a recorded show. I used to be really nervous about live shows because you feel like, "Oh my gosh, what if I sneeze?" You can't make a mistake. But yet, especially if you're working for a brand when you're doing a live show, whatever you say is getting on TV. If you're doing something that's recorded, they could edit out anything that you really wanted to be on there. So you just never know.
Erica Julson: Good point. Good point. Okay. So maybe it'd be helpful since I don't think that I've talked about traditional media on this podcast, at all yet. So thank you. Can you give us some examples of ways that RDs can be featured in the media specifically?
Bonnie Taub-Dix: Yeah, sure. Well first of all, I mentioned that I have a newsletter that's just for RDs. And I do have another newsletter that you could sign up for on my homepage. Or even on my other, my other Instagram is @bonnietaubdix. That's my name. And that's my general Instagram. And the reason why this newsletter is so important for RDs also is because I've been doing this newsletter for nine years every week. And what goes in this newsletter is only three posts. Usually stories that I'm either quoted in or stories that I have written that have been posted online. And why this is so important is because if you sign up for this newsletter, you will find the headlines of top tier publications. So U.S. News & World Report, Today Show, Insider, Livestrong. All of these are the sites that I'm quoted in.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: And the reason why this is so essential is because if you know that this is a publication that you want to write for, my loose letter could help you because you'll know what stories they've already published. And then what stories you could actually piggy piggyback off of. Or you'll know what not to pitch, because they've already done it. So this newsletter will always give you the top headlines of the top publications so you could learn about how to pitch and what to pitch.
Erica Julson: And would you be called to be a guest on a talk show, or just a quote in a blog post? What are all the different examples of opportunities?
Bonnie Taub-Dix: Oh my gosh. So many. So what I do most of, and it's funny because I once participated in this survey about time management. And what was a real wake up call for me is that what I spent most of my time doing is doing interviews. And I think we'll probably talk later about money. But I can tell you that most of these interviews I don't get paid for. And that is what I spend most of my time with.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: However, the connection here to money is that if you're doing interviews like for Today Show, and brands see that you could do these interviews and you'll get quoted all the time. There isn't a week that has gone by that I have not been quoted in something. Even during quarantine period and this pandemic period of time, my interviews have changed quite a bit. Because in the beginning, it was all about how to eat during quarantine, how to shop, how to get in and out of stores quickly, all of that stuff. But then it kind of morphed into other subjects. And now, even though of course our numbers are still all over the place. People still want to hear about food now. And they want to hear about how they should eat. What do you do about recipe fatigue? There's so many subjects that are now coming to me that are related to anything just like it was before.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: So getting into online publications believe it or not is easier than ever. And when RDs come to me for coaching, I teach them about how they could reach out. How the best way is to find these reporters, and how to figure out how to get in touch with them. For example, many of them are on social media. So you could actually reach out to them in different ways. And we could talk about language about how to reach out.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: But in fact, there was this site that I had never been quoted in before. And there was a story on there that I read. And I really was annoyed by one of the people that they quoted. And I reached out to the reporter and I said, "Hey listen, there's something I have to talk to you about." So of course that piqued her interest because what could it be? And she spoke to me, and I just told her what I thought. And now she's actually calling me for quotes. So it's really just to get introduced, and you just never know how these things arise.
Erica Julson: Yes. And since SEO is my favorite thing to talk about, even from an SEO perspective, getting backlinks from all these potential features is a great way to boost your own website's authority, which helps your own content rank better in Google.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: Absolutely. And interesting speaking of SEO, one of the things that you cannot do, in most cases cannot do is write your own titles when you're writing an article, when you're writing a story. And I remember when I used to write for Newsday, which is not really so local, but it is kind of a local paper. And I remember going out to dinner. People would say to me, "Oh my gosh, that title." Like I once wrote an article about soy, and the title that they picked was Foods That Are Soy Good For You. And people like, "Oh my gosh, that was such a terrible title." But I never even wrote the titles. But you know for SEO, especially online publications now, they want to write the titles.
Erica Julson: Yeah. Well I mean, the backlink is worth a lot. So I mean, any tips that you can get to connect people with these feature quote opportunities is really valuable. Companies charge a lot for that service.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: And just to finish answering your question or to add to that in terms of my response, also, you could be on an advisory board of a publication, and then wind up getting quoted. And that happens a lot for me where I'm on a few different advisory boards. I'm an expert reviewer for a few different sites. So you could get quoted that way also. And of course, podcasts like this. I mean, there are so many different ways that you can get your name in the news. And even if you start local. But this is what builds your reputation, builds your brand, builds your bank account. And it's not just about the fame and the notoriety, which of course is fun. But that is not really the reason why I do this.
Erica Julson: Yeah. I think when I was a newer dietitian, I kind of went about it the wrong way. And I thought somehow that if I just get in the news in any way or get featured anywhere, that somehow my business will grow. But I didn't really have any clarity on what problems I was solving for people. So it didn't necessarily bring me a lot of business because my marketing and my messaging on my own end was lacking. But now that it's more clear, I can imagine if you have your systems in place, then it's just like you're filling the system and the more exposure you can get. And you know what you convert at or whatever, if you're selling something online, then the better.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: But also, it's learning how to speak in somebody else's language, and to try to make your languages mesh. For example, if you love to write about the Krebs cycle, then you shouldn't pitch to Cosmopolitan Magazine. I think that you need to know what your voice is. Again, just like with the niche thing, you don't have to lock yourself into a certain subject. But I know that I like to speak a certain way. Like when blogs first came about, I remember that, this is kind of an interesting story blog wise. That the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, I was a spokesperson at the time, asked me if I would write their first blog. And I was honored that they asked me that and I said, "Yeah, I'd love to do that. What is a blog anyway?" So the first blog that I wrote for them is What is a Blog? And Why Should You be Writing One? And I wrote that blog for them. And just a few weeks later, I got a call from USA Today. And there was a reporter from USA Today that used to interview me all the time. She said I used to make her laugh all the time, which is a good thing. More than my kids say.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: So anyway, she said that USA Today was starting a blog. And they wanted to know if I would be a blogger for them. And of course I said yes, even though I only wrote one blog in my whole life. So then I became a regular blogger for USA Today. And the coverage there, I mean you know that they put their newspapers outside of hotel rooms around the globe. Was really fabulous. And that's not one of those things that you could otherwise necessarily pitch and do. So it was a huge platform.
Erica Julson: Yeah. It's awesome how things just kind of lead into one another. And you maybe didn't even know that that first opportunity would lead to that second one. But you never know. So that's why you should take them when they come your way. So can any dietitian get into media work? Do you need a certain sort of credential or experience? Do you need to be at a certain stage of business? What do you think about that?
Bonnie Taub-Dix: My answer is that yes, anyone can do this. And you could quote me on this, that you don't have to have expertise, or you don't have to have experience to have expertise. In other words, if you are being quoted in your first story, to make that a stellar interview, you didn't have to be quoted in 20 stories before that. But there definitely is a strategy that you need to have in place. And that is pretty much what I teach RDs is how to create those soundbites that will sell.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: And you know, it's interesting. One of the interviews that I did today was with a reporter. And it was for Today Show. And she said to me, we just were talking about just doing interviews. And she said that she loves to talk on the phone. And I love to talk on the phone. I would much rather do an interview on the phone any day than through email, for so many reasons. First of all, I could be as floral and as animated as I want to be. Sometimes, I think about things that I otherwise wouldn't think about in writing it down, because the reporter may have stimulated something in me that would make for a great soundbite.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: But the other thing is it doesn't take me as much work. But I could tell you that that's not what the majorities of journalists want. Most of them want you to answer by email, because then they could literally copy and paste your words into their stories. And they know that when they're going to ask me for something, I'm going to give them stuff that is copy ready. The right grammar, the right sentence structure. It'll be cutesy, because that's what I know that they're looking for. If you just wrote a dissertation to them, they don't want to go through it, and you're not going to get quoted. So I think that it needs to be very newsworthy, but also something that their audience could relate to.
Erica Julson: Yes. I made that mistake in the beginning too. I was responding to a help a reporter out thing. And I know now that you're just supposed to kind of give them everything from that first email. But I think I responded and I was like, "I can help," or something. And of course I didn't hear back.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: Okay wait, but let's talk about that for a minute. Because I used to look at that a lot. I hardly ever look at it anymore. But when I do look at it, I scoot down to what they're actually asking for. And many times, I know who the reporter is. So I just reach out to her, or I reach out to the query that they're asking, and I say, "Hey, let's get in touch. I can help you with your story." Done.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: But I really want to caution those who are listening that you could go crazy with taking days to respond. And it doesn't mean you're going to get quoted. Also, someone could actually pick up something that you're saying and not quote you at all. So try to use your time wisely. If it is for a big publication, you want to give them everything that they're looking for clearly without putting yourself out to do it.
Erica Julson: Yes. Yes. I don't respond super often, because I don't have a lot of time to focus on that right now. But yeah, I've heard that being quick in response is helpful. And then similarly to what you were saying, I only respond if I have already, because I have a whole membership site with a bunch of nutrition notes. So if I know that I have already researched something, then I'm just quickly like inaudible, over here. Make it sound a little better for this person's purpose and send it off.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: No, you just mentioned something that really, really is important. And for anyone who's listening, whether you work with media already or you would to do that someday, you need to create documents that have information in there that you could keep at your fingertips. I mean, if you saw how many documents are loaded on my computers for a variety of subjects, and that's because so much of what we talk about unless it's a crazy, amazing new study, it's evergreen stuff. I don't even know how many Thanksgiving stories I've spoken about in my career.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: So if you keep these documents where you just give them a title and you put whatever information is in there. A story that you heard, something that you would love to say about the subject. You could always go to them for those interviews. It makes your life so much easier.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: The other kind of document that I would really highly encourage you to have is something that you could even just call story ideas. And there have been times, very few, but there have been times when I have needed to write a story and I had writer's block. I would go to my story ideas. And sometimes I would hope that I have a lot of stories in there, but actually sometimes I have a paragraph, or an ending, or a title. But at least it gives me an idea of something to write about. So I highly recommend that you keep a document that says story ideas. And even if they are ridiculous, put them in there. Because someday, that could become a great story of yours.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: The other thing that I highly recommend is keeping a pad and a pen at your nightstand. And this actually helps me sleep because so many times I wake up in the middle of the night, and I have an idea, and I write it down, and then it helps me go back to sleep. But it's a lot of pressure. I remember having a column for that U.S. News & World Report, or Newsday, or USA Today. And it would be week after week. And it would just keep me up. And I remember when those things ended, I never realized how much pressure I was under during the period of time that I was writing. But if you always put your ideas down, it really, really does help you in terms of coming up with your stories.
Erica Julson: So if someone is listening, a dietitian's listening today and they are like, "Yes, this sounds amazing. I want to get into the media." What's the first thing they should do?
Bonnie Taub-Dix: What's the first thing they should do? First thing they should probably do is do some research. Read magazines, newspapers, watch TV shows that you could just, would love to see your face on a screen on, would love to see your name and a byline on, or you would love to see a quote in.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: And the reason why is because every publication has their own language. And as I mentioned before, you need to speak their language if you want to get quoted. So I would do your research and be reading this stuff incessantly. That's why I encourage people to get my newsletter. That's @bonnietaubdix on Instagram, because you'll find that that's where you can see how different publications speak. So that's one thing.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: The next thing to do is to maybe reach out. Reach out to reporters and let them know what you'd like to talk about. If you have someone's email address or they say, "Let me know what you'd like to talk about." There are definitely ways for you to write formal pitch letters. And there are all different kinds of pitch letters to do. But you don't want to write a whole story in a pitch. You need to have bullets. You need to have things that are really outstanding. Maybe something supporting, "This new study said X, Y, Z. And that's why I want to tell your readers about ABC," or whatever. Actually, that didn't make a lot of sense, but you know what I mean. So to reach out and not be afraid.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: But I'll tell you something that I found to be very interesting and kind of sadly surprising is that when I started working with RDs, I found that there was a common variable that I didn't necessarily expect. And that was a lack of confidence.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: And I think that this comes from a lot of negative self-talk. Why would they want me? I don't have that many followers. Where is this stuff coming from? You have an incredible education behind you. You have a degree. You paid a ton of money for your education, for your internship. And we could talk about money too. So remind me. Because that's important.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: But this confidence is something that really just comes from doing things over and over again and knowing that the RD is the best person to go to for nutrition information. So I find that a lot of RDs are not reaching out to media because they're not ready. Because they don't think that they have the voice yet that people need to hear. And all you need to do is talk and talk in the language of your audience. And you do have the voice. So perhaps this sounds like a little bit of a dust statement, but maybe you should think about talking about things that you like to talk about.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: I mean, I have three kids, I have two grandchildren. And I actually was going to write a whole book about feeding kids. And I spent six months, a lot of money to get someone to help me write it. I had 110 page proposal about feeding your kids. And then we decided I really didn't want to talk about it. It's not even something that I think is fun anymore. I'd rather talk about something else. So I decided to just nix that whole thing. But if that's your thing, if you have little kids and that's something you want to talk about, if you love talking to athletes, then you need to start looking at magazines that really cater to that population and have confidence to know that you are credible. You just maybe need to put a little bit more fun in your words, or use techniques. And all of these techniques I go over in my courses. But alliteration, your a big bowl of breakfast as opposed to have some cereal in the morning. You know what I mean? You have to make it fun.
Erica Julson: If you found a place that you would want to be featured in, are there any tips for figuring out who to reach out to or where to go?
Bonnie Taub-Dix: Well, most magazines have mastheads. And they have the fitness Senator, the food editor, the health editor. Usually, those are the people that I would reach out to them. But as I said, so many reporters now also have social media sites. So you could reach out to them on social through Twitter, through a direct message. That's the beauty of direct messages now is you could literally contact someone. Whereas years ago, it had to be how am I going to find their phone number? How is that going to happen? But that's how it used to work. Doesn't have to be that way anymore.
Erica Julson: So basically if you wanted to pitch to be quoted in something, you could figure out who's writing for a certain publication and try to connect to them on social?
Bonnie Taub-Dix: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. That is one of the best ways to do it. And something else that's interesting that I found since I started my business is that I thought that it was just going to be a media consulting business to help dietitians get their name in the news. But what wound up happening is that so many of those dietitians are also asking me about building their business. How to start a private practice. Because many people who consult with me have full-time jobs that they're really either not that happy with, or that they want to make part-time, or that they want to just leave altogether, and work with media, and work with brands, and start a business.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: And part of what I do is I also a private practice that I've had for decades. And a lot of the patients that I see in my practice, even through this pandemic, through Zoom or FaceTime, I've known for over 20 years. And it's not that they're not successful. It's that it's more like life coaching than it is nutrition counseling at this point.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: So people come to me to say to me, "Well once I have a patient, how do I keep that patient?" And there are definitely strategies to how you keep someone coming back to you over, and over, and over again. Just like there are strategies for working with media and having a reporter keep coming to you over, and over, and over again. I mean, it's music to my ears when a reporter sends me an email or calls me and says, "Okay listen, I know that you're going to help me get out of this, or I know you'll help me in a jiffy. Or I know that you will be able to be the best one to ask these questions to." And how do they know that? It's because lots of times, I drop what I'm doing to answer certain reporters. There are some that I know no matter what I'm doing, unless it's some sort of emergency that I'm tending to, I'll answer them before I do anything else. And they know that.
Erica Julson: Yeah, that was going to be my next question. How do you stand out and become that go-to person for reporters? And it sounds like being responsive is a big part of it.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: Being responsive. Being responsive in soundbites that they know that they are going to use. There's no question that when these reporters call me, they're going to use something that I'm saying. If not, I would be the dietitian that's quote throughout their whole story. Because that happens too. I love those.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: But the other thing is that if a reporter comes to you and then says, "Could you give me responses about this subject?" And they say, "My deadline is next Thursday." If you wait until next Thursday to get to them, there is an excellent chance you are not getting quoted. Even if you get to them next Wednesday, there's a really good chance you're not making it to that story. Because I know for myself, if I'm writing a story, like lots of times I'll put a query on dietitians on the blog or something like that. And I say, "I'm writing a story on this subject. Let me know if you're interested in being a part of it." If I have 20 people that respond to me right away, and they're good responses, that's enough fuel for me. I don't need to hear from anyone else, even if my deadline was next week. So you also have to be really timely when responding to a reporter. Not just in fabulous words, but also be on time.
Erica Julson: Yeah. And it's almost like another language I feel like, or an art that you can study to speak in the way that someone who's writing a story would appreciate.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: There is, there is. I gave a presentation about this not this year, but last year at Today's Dietitian. And it was about how to be an influencer with credibility and confidence. And I remember showing slides about ways to get quoted. But using simple techniques. Like I said, alliteration, metaphors, similes, all the things that we may not have paid attention to in English class when we were in school. But it's really important. Because that's what gets quoted, things that are interesting.
Erica Julson: Yeah. And it's almost like a duh moment, like you said earlier. But you don't realize that that's what's happening when you're reading the story because it's so seamless. But then I can imagine as the reporter when you're getting inundated with all these responses, there's going to be ones that stand out. And hopefully you make that yours, you know?
Bonnie Taub-Dix: Right. Exactly. Exactly. And especially speaking in a friendly voice, what I loved about when blogs first came on the scene is that prior to that, the writing that I did was all very factual and almost like for a scientific journal. Once blogs came on the scene, that was so me. Because then I could just be friendly, and funny, and talk about my own personal experiences. And that made it so much easier for me to write. But that's how people like to quote me also. Because they know that I'll talk about personal experiences also. And that's what leaders want to hear about. They want to be able to relate to that quote. Not just learn from it, but be able to relate to it.
Erica Julson: So let's say someone's getting a lot of media exposure and they're really juiced about it. How can they leverage that exposure to then boost their business and earn more money?
Bonnie Taub-Dix: Absolutely. Well, let's talk about money for a second. Okay? And I think that this is a problem that a lot of dietitians have. And yes, you could say I'm generalizing. But I'm generalizing. And I know I am because it is true. A lot of dietitians don't charge what they're worth. And when you don't charge what you're worth, you bring down the entire profession.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: So it really is important to think about your value. What you deserve for the work that you do for the hours that you will spend. And don't confuse this with doing things for free in quotes. And I'll tell you what I mean by that.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: So all of these interviews that I'm doing are for free, meaning that I'm not getting paid for it. But I don't look at it as that. Instead, I look at it as my marketing budget. And if I had to put an ad on today.com or in U.S. News, it would cost me thousands and thousands of dollars. But instead, my name gets on there with credibility. It doesn't cost me a penny except for my time. And yes, my time is worth money. But where I get money for my time is working with private patients, working with brands, working with RDs. So these media experiences become very attractive for private patients, for brands, for RDs. So even though you may not be paid for an interview, you can get paid for having that credibility. Make sense?
Erica Julson: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: So increased media exposure also could lead to other things. It could lead to book deals, and I have known many people who have been quoted in an article, and then a publisher reaches out to them or an agent reaches out to them and says, "Hey, you know what? That would make a great book. Are you interested in writing a book?" So it could lead to book deals. It could lead to speaking engagements. As I mentioned, it could lead to working with brands. And even though these days, it's not like it used to be. It actually is much harder to get a brand's name in the news now. And if you do, it is really important that you disclose that you work with them. It's very important. But if brands know that you know how to get their name out there, and that you're credible, and believable, and transparent, then they still may want to work with you.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: For example, a lot of the brands that I work with, it's not just for these interviews, it's for writing blogs for them. It's for doing social media posts for them. It's for doing webinars and presentations. And what I love more than anything is when a brand hires me to be their consultant. And I help them with marketing, and I help them with what people are looking for. And I send them articles that relate to their products. That kind of stuff I love because it really is tapping into my strengths. I'm not compromising any of my beliefs. So there are plenty of ways to make money that way too.
Erica Julson: Yeah. I love that topic because I think that's a niche type of work that not a lot of people are familiar with, but they might be intrigued by or excited about. Is it more common that a brand reaches out to you to be a consultant? Or is it something where you're approaching brands?
Bonnie Taub-Dix: I've been very lucky where brands have reached out to me. And I've been working with brands for many, many years. In fact, it's interesting because when my book came out, when I was writing my book which is Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You from Label to Table. And even that, which is another subject that we could talk about another time, is my book originally was published by a big publisher. And then about three years ago, I got the rights to my book from the publisher because I wanted to update it. And now I have my book on CreateSpace. So now it's just mine. So if I want to change it at any, I can. But I have made much more money from my book since it's mine. But when I wrote my book, I was a spokesperson for the academy. So I wasn't allowed to mention any brands. So my book is almost 300 pages of how to shop for the healthiest food in the store. But not one brand is mentioned.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: So because of that, a lot of brands wanted to work with me because I have a lot of generalizations in my book about their products without mentioning any competing brands.
Erica Julson: Cool. Well, do you think you would want to still touch on how media work has been impacted by the pandemic? We don't have a ton of time left so.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: Sure, sure. Why not? So it's been impacted in a tremendous way. But I think that if you know how to pivot, which is another thing that I have been teaching RDs about, especially now, I think that you could still maintain your business and even boost your business. And I'll give you some examples.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: So I was scheduled to do so many different things. I was scheduled to go give presentations to publishers and editors. Food editors, health editors. And instead of doing that, we wound up doing it through Zoom. I was supposed to do desk sides in Manhattan to different magazines for a client that I was working for. And instead of doing that, we did it through Zoom. But also, we did a radio tour. It's called an RMT or radio media tour.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: And I hadn't done one of these things in a really long time. But because radio seems to be really hot now, we did a radio media tour where I was on 16 shows in one morning. And that became so successful, that my client asked me to do another one two months later where we did 20 shows. So radio media tours are also something that's so much fun to do. You literally, I was sitting in slippers at my desk. But you definitely have to have a certain voice for radio, which you know as a podcaster where you literally have to paint pictures with words and smile, because that's what comes across.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: I also did a lot of instead of in studio work for TV, did TV interviews at home. And this takes preparation because I had to do all the food styling, not use their food stylist. And I had to make sure I had all the right lighting, and all the right sound equipment, and makeup. Which I love, because I love to paint. I love to put on makeup. But still, it's challenging when it comes to TV because you really do need to know how to put it on a little more heavily.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: And when I spoke inaudible this year, so many questions that I had afterwards, "Was what was your lighting? What did you use for this one? How did you do your makeup?" So it was kind of funny that I wonder if they were really listening to what I was talking about. But there's so many different things you could do now, whether it's Instagram Live, Instagram TV. But you also have to think about so many things like your background, and as you know sound, and how you're coming across, and what colors you're wearing, what jewelry you're wearing so that you're not distracting your audience from your message. Things really need to be kind of simple. But there are strategies to do all of that.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: So the pandemic has taught us a lot about how to do things from home. But interestingly, a lot of people who are not used to being on camera had a hard time with Zoom. Because when used to being on Zoom meetings all the time, it seems like nothing. But if you're on zoom where you're not used to doing that kind of stuff, and you're used to audio meetings, it does take some getting used to.
Erica Julson: Well, it's good to hear that it didn't bring everything to a screeching halt. It was just pivots, you know?
Bonnie Taub-Dix: Not at all. And now I love it actually. Because I'm a real homebody, I do love being at home. So I love the fact that I am able to connect with patients, satisfy the brands that I'm working with by doing all different kinds of things from home, still do my media interviews, still do TV interviews.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: And speaking of which, one of the things that came up for me during the pandemic is that I didn't know that this TV producer that I worked with years and years ago was getting my weekly newsletter. And she contacted me and said, "I saw you wrote a story about coping during COVID. And would you like to come on my show?" And I was just shocked. So you never know who's following you. You never know who is listening to your voice, seeing your face. You just never know. So it's so exciting to get out there. And who knows where it will lead you in your career?
Erica Julson: In all of your experience with coaching RDs about working with media, is there anything that you've really been surprised by?
Bonnie Taub-Dix: I was surprised by so much of a lack of confidence. That really surprised me. But I do love when I coach someone and then I see how they flourish, and how they evolve, and how it just takes small steps. And if someone comes to me for coaching and they tell me that they're deathly afraid of getting in front of the camera, I'm not going to tell them that the first thing that they should do is go do videos for a TV show. But I would encourage them to reach out to the local newspapers or write for media. Because writing doesn't have to take that kind of courage to get out there. But once they see that they have the ability to do that, and I even teach them ways to record themselves so that they could see that it doesn't have to be as scary as they think. Then they take the next step.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: And some other surprises. As I mentioned, I was surprised at how many people asked me to help them with their business growth. Because this is what I need about not niching down. I tried very hard to niche down to just talk about media. But then when someone says to me, "By the way, how can I start my private practice?" I'm like, "Yes, I'm so happy," because I do love to talk about that.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: And the third thing that really surprised me is that I never expected to enjoy this as much as I do, even though it's something that I know I love to talk about. Because when I'm asked questions, it sort of brings me down memory lane. And I completely forgot about so many of the things that I did. Whether it's speaking in front of groups, or writing for publication, or doing ghost writing, everything. Even what to ask for. Even doing interviews where I would schlep into the city and bring my props with me, as opposed to just saying, "Okay, can you send a car to pick me up?" Well, most of the time they say yes. And why didn't I think of that in the beginning? So it's just learning all these things.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: And one of the other things that is interesting that I consult people on that it was a surprise for me is that I talk a lot about contracts and what goes into a contract. And one of the things that I added to my package of media consulting is having contracts reviewed. And I don't know if you know this, but I just spoke for Today's Dietitian about contracts for RDs, why you need them and why you deserve to get what you deserve. And I spoke with my husband for the first time. We're married for 30 something years, but we've never given a presentation together. In fact, he hates giving presentations. But this was so well reviewed, that people started contacting me afterwards and saying, "Does your husband ever review other people's contracts?" And he knows everything about the dietetics profession, because he has seen my contracts over the years. Whether they were big book signing contracts, to small contracts, to pay for play. So this is a new service that I have added to my business where you could get a consultation with him.
Erica Julson: That's awesome. That's so creative too.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: It's fun.
Erica Julson: Awesome. Well, my takeaway from all of your stories is I feel your passion. And you have such vast experience that you can help people with. So if it feels like the perfect cohesion of gathering all those experiences, and being able to help dietitians in a myriad of ways. But it's coming from such a deep place of all of the experiences that you've had wrapped into one.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: Really is true. And you know, one of the things that I really wanted to point out is that with my coaching sessions, and I won't call it my coaching program, because I do know that there are a lot of programs out there that are very structured. Module one, module two, here's your workbook. Here are your worksheets. I could tell you that coming to me for consultations is not like that at all.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: And the reason why I decided to not have my coaching sessions that way is because people come to me who are newbies. Even RD to bes, who haven't even started their career yet. And then I see people who are seasoned, who want boost their businesses in media. So I use that expression. You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. I listen before I speak. And this way, someone could come to me and I am always going to be addressing their issues individually. Just like when I counsel private patients, that's how I counsel RDs that it's just to them.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: And something else that I wanted to mention here is that by the time this airs, I will have my media course then. And I am doing a course on media, but just know that where this is developed from is from questions that RDs have asked me. So it's not just what I want to tell people. It's what people are asking me. So if you'd like to know more about my course, then I'm sure you'll have it in the show notes.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: But something else that I actually haven't done that I would love to do for your listeners is I'd love to give away a private consultation with me. And if you'd like to be in the drawing for a private consultation, you could follow me on Instagram @btdmedia and sign up for my newsletter, which you'll find a link in the bio there. And then someone will be picked for a consultation with me. So I would love to have you join. I think it could help you anyway with boosting your media presence. And please reach out, DM me if you have any questions at all. You can visit my website betterthandieting.com. Look for the portal that speaks to you. But I think that even if you are not working with media, you can learn by the brands that I work with, my blogs, and the stories that I write for private patients.
Erica Julson: Amazing. And yes, I just have to give a shout out to your media Instagram account. Because you deliver with really wonderful, actionable advice. I was perusing through it before our interview and was just like, "Yes, swipe again." It's very helpful. So definitely check it out. Great. Well, thank you again for being here today. I really appreciate it. I know people were probably taking furious notes about everything you mentioned. And I'm sure you'll get a bunch of people reaching out to connect with you. So thank you.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. And just one last thought is that working with the media is a very symbiotic relationship. So don't just think that you need media. They need you. So they have space to fill. They have the airwaves where they want your voice. So definitely reach out to them because they are in need of you.
Erica Julson: Right. And if it's not you, it's going to be somebody else, you know? So might as well put your hat in the ring. Awesome. Well, thank you again so much.
Bonnie Taub-Dix: Thank you.
Erica Julson: Well, that's it for today. I hope you enjoyed this episode. As always, if you'd like a space to connect with fellow listeners of this podcast and other entrepreneurial wellness professionals, just search for The Unconventional RD community on Facebook and request to join. It's totally free and a great space to network with other business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. Catch you next week.
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