This year, to celebrate all our fantastic short-listed bloggers, we want to delve deeper into who they really are. What makes them tick? What do they want to be noticed for? What make do they want their blog to leave? What goes on in their daily lives? What is the story behind the content they share?
First up is Emma Green who is also known as @emmafitnessphd on Instagram. Emma has a PhD, MSc and BSc in Psychology and is a certified personal trainer. She is passionate about helping people build a healthy relationship with food, exercise and their bodies. Emma takes a fun and evidence-based approach to health and fitness through her online coaching, freelance writing and social media activities. Find out more on her website, too. So what goes on behind the content…
If you could share with us who you are and what’s your mission, what would you say?
I’ve always struggled with describing myself so this is a tough question! I would say I am an intuitive eating coach and a freelance writer. My mission is to help people build a healthy relationship with food, exercise and their bodies.
Would you consider yourself more of a blogger or an Instagrammer?
Another tricky question for me to answer! I would have to say more of an Instagrammer. I love the community and interaction that I have on Instagram. I’ve made some great friends and had some really thought-provoking conversations. However, I love blogging too because of the unlimited word count and the ability to more easily reference scientific studies, which support my arguments.
How do you choose the content that goes into your accounts?
I choose content that I think has an important message. In ‘real life’, I don’t do small-talk and my social media channels are no different. I try to think carefully about what is going to be impactful, what hasn’t already been said and whether it is the appropriate time to share something.
I go to great lengths to ensure that my content does not have the potential to cause harm. If in doubt about something, I don’t post it.
That doesn’t mean I’m not afraid to rock the boat though, as long as I have evidence to back my position, I am happy to share something that has the potential to be controversial. Sometimes important conversations are not comfortable.
What is the process behind each post you produce?
Almost all of my content is planned in advance. I alternate between posting photographs and infographics because I like sharing content in different formats and try to blend presenting information with sharing my own experiences. I dedicate a day at the weekend to creating all my content for the upcoming week. I am continually collecting ideas and either save these as images or make notes on my phone.
These might come from reading scientific papers, seeing the news, reading magazines or viewing social media content.
I will then go through this at the weekend and decide what is going to become a post, what I need to think about more carefully before making a post or what is not going to be relevant. When I have created all the posts for the week ahead, both captions and images, I put all of my posts into a scheduling app (I like Buffer) so that everything is ready to go. This isn’t completely set in stone though. I will sometimes tweak captions, postpone or delete posts, depending on what is happening on both mainstream and social media channels.
My career highlight would definitely be speaking at the HBC Summit Launchpad event earlier this year.
It was the first time that I had given a talk outside of the PhD presentations and I found it nerve-racking but really rewarding experience. I spoke about intuitive eating, which is something I am hugely passionate about. It was great to share the scientific evidence supporting the concept and how I put the principles into practice with my clients. I was lucky to receive some really positive feedback following the talk so I think the topic really resonated with people, which was really gratifying.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I first started posting on Instagram, I didn’t post anything in the caption at all! I made the mistake of thinking that because it is a visual platform that words don’t matter. It is funny because now I write very long captions and often struggle to keep them within the limits set by Instagram.
I learned that captions are important, people do read them and it is a fantastic opportunity to really connect with your audience.
A pretty picture is nice but without a captivating caption, it isn’t particularly memorable. I don’t think I would have established the same level of connection without posting thoughtful captions. They take a lot of time for me to produce (usually around an hour of writing and editing in total) but I think it is worthwhile.
When it comes to health and wellness, how is the content you are creating helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
I try to show people that the pursuit of health and fitness goals (which is by no means is a moral imperative) doesn’t have to mean restriction. It doesn’t have to involve miserable and exhausting workouts. It doesn’t mean having to eat ‘clean’. It doesn’t mean trying to make your body fit some kind of ideal that society has told you are beautiful. I talk a lot about the principles of intuitive eating, which involves tuning into your own bodily cues to decide how what and when to eat. It involves exercising in a way that is fun, rather than as a way to burn calories.
It also means accepting your body will find the size and shape it wants to be and the best thing you can do is get out of its way.
I’m aligned with a Health at Every Size (HAES) approach, which supports all individuals to pursue health but adopting health-promoting behaviours, whilst acknowledging the societal and structural barriers that impede health.
It’s a radical standpoint, particularly within the health and wellness industry, but I’m hugely passionate about sharing the message and having engaging discussions with others in this space.
What is the biggest misconception about social media? What was the practice that has helped you with your strategy?
I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that people posting on social media are vain and self-obsessed. Most of the people that I interact with are hugely passionate about sharing a message that helps others (read this article for an example). Whilst that might mean drawing on personal experience, there is often an altruistic intention behind the content.
It sounds very simple but asking ‘why’ is hugely helpful for me in deciding on what is worth posting. If I don’t have a clear answer then there is no point sharing.
Sometimes there will be something that I find interesting but isn’t relevant to people’s relationship with food, exercise or their bodies, in which case I will often write a ‘stream of consciousness’ on the topic to get my thoughts on paper but not post it.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
That would have to be my boyfriend Stef. He is hugely supportive of my social media efforts and encourages me to ‘put myself out there’, which as an introvert is always something I have struggled with. After my talk at the HBC Summit Launchpad, he said to me ‘You are meant to do this.’ He sees my passion and desire to help others with my message. I often
doubt myself and having his belief in me means a lot.
What do you think is the most important thing about working on collaborations with other influencers and brands?
I think it is hugely important to do collaborations that are a good fit. It can be tempting, particularly when there is a monetary incentive attached, to promote bands or ideas that are not in alignment with your message but it isn’t a good idea.
Trust and authenticity are hugely important in building and maintaining a strong relationship with your audience.
It is not worth jeopardising that for a single collaboration, however much is being offered to you. There will always be more opportunities for collaborations but you cannot easily rebuild a reputation once it has been lost (learn how to pitch yourelf here).
Who is your ideal collaboration with?
I don’t have a particular brand or individual in mind but it would involve sharing a message that is a Health at Every Size (HAES) aligned. I feel strongly that health does not have size, shape or weight, and I think that needs to be reinforced. I love brands that are celebrating all different types of bodies, embracing a non-diet approach to nutrition and advocating for self-care.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start in the industry now?
Think about what is important to you and how you can use that in your content. There are so many brands and influencers out there and social media is a noisy place. That doesn’t mean that we don’t need more voices but it does mean you need to think carefully about what you can bring to the table that is valuable and can have a positive impact on others.