Meet nutrition expert and media-savvy dietitian Susan Watson. She’s the owner of A Little Nutrition, a thriving nutrition counselling company located in Winnipeg with a team of 8 dietitian nutrition coaches and 6 office locations. She’s been helping clients with weight loss and meal planning for years and understands all the challenges that people face when it comes to understanding what to eat and how much. She uses her knowledge to bring easy to understand, practical messages about nutrition and health to her audiences through regular appearances on Global TV Morning Winnipeg and CTV Winnipeg Morning Live. She also is the host of the Get Meal Prepped podcast. You can find the show on iTunes or YouTube. We know you will enjoy learning more about Susan and find value in her fabulous tips for your media success!
How did you get started in the media?
Before I become a dietitian, I use to be a sales executive in the home decor sector and sold paint to large retail box stores. We often had new product launches or grand openings where I would have to work with the media to promote our new line up or launch. I gained experience with radio, newspaper and television during that period of time.
Once I became a dietitian in 2010 I immediately went into private practice after internship and thought media would be a great way to promote myself and my business. I listed myself on the dietitians of Canada website as a media dietitian and waited for the media to contact me. I started out by answering media phone calls for interviews for magazines, and then had the local networks calling for the 6 p.m. news interviews. These have to be my least favourite as they always are rushed, and often don’t go as well as I hoped due to the post interview editing from the station. However, I did a few of these to get in the door with the stations and for experience.
This eventually opened the door for me to take on a contract with Loblaws and other brands. Now I have a monthly segment with Global TV on the morning show and I am also mentoring my dietitian team to take on segments. You’ll have to check out the segments by dietitians Madelaine Morrish and Nita Sharda on my website, as I have really encouraged them to step out into the media spotlight and they are doing great!
What was your most memorable interview and why?
The most memorable interview was when I brought my 5 year old onto Global TV morning show. It was a special time with her, and I was really proud of how she handled being on TV. Other than that one time, I’ve found it rewarding bringing on interns sharing the interview experience with other dietitians. I often have another RD or student with me at many of my segments to help them gain exposure and confidence in working with the media. I find those times memorable.
I also really like doing in home or onsite media segments. I’ve done interviews in the grocery store or at the host’s home, and these segments are truly more memorable as I feel they are less staged and really deliver a more practical nutrition message.
Have you ever experienced a “fumble” during an interview, and if so, how did you fix it / what did you learn from it?
I think I still always fumble at some point during the interviews. I think that over preparing is what makes me fumble, versus having an outline of what I want to say and letting the host lead the interview. I find that knowing your host and having a good relationship with them helps. I remember one time I showed up and the usual person that I do interviews with was on holidays and I was being interviewed by the weather reporter. He happened to be a bit of a joker, and his spontaneous jokes threw me off a bit for that segment, as I wasn’t prepared to roll with his approach. I find it is good to prepare for multiple different personality types and have some prepared strategies to handle getting the host back on track if needed.
Can you share one tip or a nugget of expert advice for dietitians who would like to work / who are working in the media?
#1 TIP: Get use to the idea of faking it until you make it. At some point in time if you want to work in media you just have to take a leap of faith and do it. It likely won’t be perfect in your eyes, but waiting around to become better will never happen unless you start somewhere. If a door opens for you in media, take it. Use it as a learning experience to get better.
Before I took Media Training Boot Camp training led by dietitians Sue Mah and Gina Sunderland, I remember asking Amanda Nash, another dietitian colleague where she got her media training and how she become so confident doing media interviews. She told me that it really is just frequency. The more you do, the better you get, and I couldn’t agree with her more. Just get out there and do it!
#2: TIP: Always prep your interview host: I find no matter how many key message notes you send in advance, the person that is interviewing you could always benefit from a quick run-down prior to the segment. Take the 2 mins you have before the interview with your host to tell them how you want the segment to go. In my experience this has always gone over well and this gives the host an opportunity to ask you any off topic questions before the camera starts rolling. I feel like it is the pre-interview with the host and that I am essentially doing a mini sales pitch to the host about the segment right before the interview starts, but it helps warm me up and prepare the host on the topics I want to cover.
#3: TIP: Mentor, mentor, mentor: There are always more media opportunities than I can personally accommodate, and having a network of trusted and trained RD’s is my key to having a good long-lasting relationship with a network. I’ve been with Global TV for 3 years now and I am not doing all the segments every month, as I still have little ones at home that I care for. My tip is to train or coach other RD’s that you know and build a network of colleagues that you can share and collaborate with on media opportunities. Also, if you have an intern with you, or know of a new grad that might be interested in media work, invite them along to an interview. The more confident dietitians we have in the media, then more we can push our profession forward as the nutrition experts. We need more dietitians in the media!
A little more about Susan:
Susan Watson has been a registered dietitian and owner of A Little Nutrition, for over 8 years and has built this business into a thriving nutrition counselling company with a team of 8 dietitian nutrition coaches and 6 Winnipeg office locations. She is passionate about teaching people food, not nutrients, and how to use real food to manage weight and wellness. She is also the co-founder of Nutrition Academy, an online nutrition school, and runs an online meal planning course at Getmealprepped.com.
You can connect with Susan on her social media:
Her GET MEAL PREPPED podcast show can be found on: