How to Work In Media as a Nutrition Entrepreneur
Read advice from Bonnie Taub-Dix on how to work in media and get your work published as a nutritionist entrepreneur.
We are excited to share this next chapter in our Provider Stories series with you as we sit down with Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RD, CDN, owner of BTD Nutrition Consultants. Bonnie is a well-established registered dietitian, author, and media and brand spokesperson.
Bonnie wants to help you get your name in the media to grow your business, so join us for a free webinar with Bonnie on Tuesday June 12 at 7pm ET!
Tell us about your career and what influenced your decision to become a dietitian.
Bonnie: I originally went to college with the intention of majoring in psychology and minoring in art. While at orientation, someone brought up the idea of becoming a dietitian. Although I had no idea what that meant, I had just lost lots of weight by learning to eat more healthfully and mindfully, so I switched majors to pursue a career in dietetics. The last thing I ever wanted to do was work in a hospital, but I spent 11 years working in hospitals while I built my private practice and kick-started my media experiences.
How has the field of nutrition and dietetics changed over the course of your career?
Bonnie: Dietetics was an emerging field — particularly for an entrepreneurial, media-focused RD. In those days, seeing my name in print or securing an interview on TV was major.
Seemingly more important than the messages I was conveying was the stronger message about what an RD is, what an RD does, and why we are the nutrition experts. In those days, doctors gave out copies of diets that had little or nothing to do with how people realistically eat. It had more to do with the sheets they received from drug companies including long allowed and avoid lists.
I was the first dietitian to present nutrition-related topics at Grand Rounds conferences to those very same physicians and the first to write in the doctor’s notes in charts. (Believe it or not, dietitians had separate notes at that time!)
How has technology changed the field of nutrition and dietetics?
Bonnie: I have seen it all! There was no internet when I started my career. Although that sounds impossible (how did we exist before Instagram?), it helped me focus more on the tasks at hand instead of frenetically multitasking (like I do today).
It also helped to secure spots with traditional media like TV, radio and magazines, since that’s where our audiences were. For me, it has been a tremendous advantage to observe where technology has come from while simultaneously riding the wave and playing a role into where it is going.
You’ve had a successful media career. How did you first get involved in the media?
Bonnie: The hospital’s PR Department asked me to do a one-minute commercial for them, which led to other commercials on a cable network. Ironically, that interview was about how not to be fooled by tricky food labels and we shot it in a supermarket. Who knew after all these years later, that I’d write a book on that subject, “Read It Before You Eat It – Taking You from Label to Table.” You never know where those interviews lead you!
What’s one piece of advice you have for nutrition entrepreneurs looking to break into the media?
Bonnie: Don’t be afraid to reach out to editors, producers, and/or influencers to convey your message. Don’t give up if you don’t get the response your looking for initially. Working with media takes a lot of work and you have to be willing to invest a lot of your time and efforts…but it’s worth it!
What do you wish someone told you before starting your career?
Bonnie: Take more journalism classes. Being a strong writer and having command of the language helps you be a better public speaker, which lays the foundation for giving a solid interview. Whether it’s writing a blog or article or preparing for a presentation or a TV show, I love to write words that resonate with my audiences to make them laugh, make them think, and help them make positive changes in their lives.
How do you balance your career with being a mom and new grandma?
Bonnie: Ha! For those who really know me, you’d know that balance in my life is non-negotiable. If I were a toy, I’d be a teeter-totter, often moving from one side to another, but always coming back to center. I work now more than ever — and it’s work that I choose to do. It’s wonderful to be able to say “no” to certain projects, while also fully enjoying and giving my all those that I choose to take on.
My practice has changed from mostly working with private clients to mostly working with corporations, brands, and media, along with some private patients. My family has evolved to a point where they understand and appreciate what I do and they love being a part of my stories, my photos, and my brand, whether it’s on social or traditional media. And if you follow my Instagram feed, you’ll see that even my grandson has a weekly appearance for #toddlertuesday posts to help me convey some meaningful messages with a side dish of humor.
The key is keeping yourself on your own to-do list so that you can find joy in what you do while also caring about what’s really important to you and those you care about. Your time is your most precious commodity.
What’s one thing that is misunderstood about working in the media?
Bonnie: This is not easy to answer simply! That’s why I’ve designed a full e-course on working with the media to help bring my experience and expertise to RDN at all levels! (Stay tuned for more details on that coming soon!)
A few things to keep in mind:
- It’s important to pay attention to how to conduct the interview. For example, the mechanics of how to look, how to respond to questions, etc. Most importantly, however, it’s essential to be genuine, sincere, succinct, and to truly care about the messages you’re conveying.
- Talk to your audience and give them what they want to hear about without preaching, dictating, or speaking above their heads.
And I could go on and on with this question, but that’s why I’m excited to join you for our webinar on June 12.
What’s one message that you learned about working with media that always stuck with you?
Bonnie: Remember that nothing is “off the record!” Even if a reporter tells you that your response will be “just between the two of you,” anything you say can be published.
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