How to make a nutritional debate your marketing bitch

Written by Brad | JULY 2017 | Reading time = 4m30s.

The media love stirring up a good nutritional debate. One day we’re told something is good for us, the next day we’re told it’s killing us. We all know what it’s like to be in the position of the uneducated consumer. Just yesterday I pulled a bottle of coconut water out of the fridge before my friend turned to me and said: “haven’t you heard?”.

Whether you’re justifying a glass of wine before bed or encouraging a friend to try out a new Paleo diet, you can just about guarantee the media have twisted a scientific study to argue either way. The problem? The media are far more interested in creating a stir than they are in educating the masses. The opportunity? You’re a health professional perfectly positioned to provide some clarity and promote yourself in the process.

As a business operating within the health and fitness industry, your first reaction is generally to cringe when you see people arguing either side of the debate, fuelled by misinformation. But what you really have in front of you, is an epic marketing opportunity.

Your audience is always online. If you are unable to connect with them outside the walls of your studio, practice, gym, you will never really form a true relationship and build a loyal client base. This means sneaking your way into the daily lives of your existing clients and potential audience without blatantly pushing your product or service. Providing education to debunk nutritional misinformation is a golden opportunity to do this.

Think about it. Imagine hearing a group of existing clients debating an article claiming that a popular diet was potentially harmful. As you have previous experience with this diet, you join the debate. But why not take this one step further? Why not find the article in question, see where it is flawed and misinforming, and then write a short blog post of your own? From here, you can tag your clients who were originally debating the topic. This will bring you into their online conversations where friends of your clients (potential future clients) will become familiar with you.

Be relevant

Have a look at what nutritional debates your existing clients are talking about both in person and online. Rest assured that if you listen carefully enough, there will be a nutritional debate of some sort every single day. And it need not be nutrition. Mobility, strength, mental health, spiritual health, are all connected and related to your industry. You obviously want to be the go-to source of information relating directly to your product or service, but it certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t join the conversations surrounding other related industries.

Don’t be overly opinionated. Be educational

The last thing you want to do is add more misinformation to an already misinformed argument. Find the parts of the argument that are fundamentally flawed and provide a more logical explanation. In almost every case, the answer lies somewhere between the two sides of the story. When it comes to health and nutrition, this middle ground is generally moderation and balance. Where possible, reference scientific based, peer-reviewed and modern articles which highlight where a media-spun article might be going wrong.

Choose your battles

Don’t argue for or against every nutritional debate. Choose debates you genuinely think are misinformative. And choose debates where you have some kind of past experience and knowledge. The last thing you want to do is present yourself as a ‘know-it-all’ trying to argue for or against every nutritional debate or fitness fad.

Get creative

Find creative and fun ways to educate your audience. Video yourself and keep an online diary or log where you trial a certain diet. Tag and share with your clients and get them involved in the process.

Just last week the American Heart Association released a statement claiming the following:

“Because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of cardiovascular disease, and has no known offsetting favourable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil.”

Because of this, numerous media outlets went into a frenzy, producing a mass amount of misinformed information. Supplement and human performance company Onnit took this debate and made it their marketing bitch.

They picked apart the argument (pointing out the poorly presented correlation between coconut oil and cardiovascular disease) without ever arguing

“Spoiler alert: we’re not going to conclude that coconut oil is the healthiest food on earth and you should eat it by the jarful. But we’re pretty sure that by presenting you a more complete picture of the evidence surrounding coconut oil, saturated fat, and health, you’ll be able to decide for yourself the truth about coconut oil and your heart.”

The result? See what happens when you type ‘truth about coconut oil’ into Google. Onnit’s article appears first or second on the search results. Better yet, any of Onnit’s existing audience who were interested in the debate likely shared, talked about, or referenced the article which discreetly promotes Onnit and Onnit’s reputation to tens of thousands of new potential clients.


SHOUT OUT: You can read Onnit’s article here. It was written by a guy called Sean Hyson. Onnit is a supplement and human performance optimisation business. It’s great to watch them organically grow their brand, by turning themselves into a content marketing machine. 

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