Are you interested in what goes on behind the camera and behind the screen of your favourite bloggers and Instagrammers? As part of our behind the content series, we delve deep and reveal what life is like for them. Next up in the series is Pollyanna and you can check out the previous articles here.
Pollyanna Hale helps Mums lose weight, get fit, and have more energy and body confidence with online coaching and programmes, books and a free Facebook community group. A Mum of two young girls, Polly understands how hard it is for us Mums to make ourselves a priority when all our energy and willpower gets drained before we’ve even done the school run! Everything she teaches is designed to be compatible with crazy busy Mum-life, because you matter too, Mum.
If you could share with us who you are and what’s your mission, what would you say?
I’m Pollyanna Hale, weight loss coach to Mums. But what’s unusual about my story to becoming a health coach is that I spent many years very ill with anorexia. Is that ironic? No, because it all stems from the same problem – not loving or respecting yourself or your body enough to care for it. Mums come to me to lose weight but really it’s about deeper issues than that. Why aren’t they eating well in the first place? Why can’t they take time for themselves to exercise?
Once people realise that prioritising your own health makes you not only happier and healthier but importantly a better Mum too, self-care somehow becomes worth the effort.
Would you consider yourself more of a blogger or an Instagrammer?
Blogger, I love writing and have written for several magazines both print and online, published two books (so far!), and really believe I write quite well as well as get what I want to say across in an entertaining and easy to understand way. I came to Instagram quite late in the game so am still building a following, but my followers are more Facebook based anyway.
How do you choose the content that goes into your accounts?
It’s pretty simple – will this really help the person reading or looking at it? Will this make their life somehow easier, healthier, better or happier? If I can do something as simple as bringing a smile to someone’s face then it’s worth it. But sometimes if what I say resonates with someone deeply enough, that one simple post could be the trigger to changing their life for the better for good. That’s really quite special to be in that position (learn more about how to keep your content fresh here).
What is the process behind each post you produce?
I don’t put too much thought into it. I think if you try and ‘curate’ content too much it looks too professional, to polished, too distant from the ‘real’ lives of your followers. That works for some brands but my followers feel like they’re friends with me and vice versa, I’ve built some amazing online relationships and have a real soft spot for some of my more engaged followers, and that comes from being just ‘me’, and saying whatever I want to say at the moment.
What has been a career highlight so far?
Being asked to speak on Sky news twice so far was pretty cool! My first full-page spread in a national newspaper was pretty cool too.
But as soppy as it sounds when I see a Mum go from depressed, unhealthy, lethargic and feeling like there’s no hope for them to being confident, energetic, motivated and loving life, knowing I’ve played a part in that is unbeatable.
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?
I didn’t focus on what my followers really wanted and was really vague about what content I put out. I’m a weight-loss coach but by qualification, I’m a personal trainer and nutritionist, so was putting out all sorts from gut health to the best type of dumbbells to buy to where B vitamins are found. No wonder I didn’t get much engagement! I was trying to be too professional. People don’t want science information, they want someone who understands them and their life.
As I’m a real Mum with young kids, we have so much in common. For the record, fish fingers for supper are fine by me!
When it comes to health and wellness, how is the content you are creating helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
I want to empower Mums to be able to take their health and life into their own hands. I pride myself on being able to turn health tips into really easy to understand and implement action steps that don’t seem overwhelming. There’s no point in trying to push people too far or they just do nothing. But if I keep it simple and that person manages to have an extra portion of vegetables with their supper every day, just that one thing can really make a difference and lead to more, bigger changes.
What is the biggest misconception about social media? What was the practice that has helped you with your strategy?
That what you put out gets seen. As much as you need to be authentic, learn what the algorithms want and your content will be seen by more people. Engagement is key. What you think might be a great post, the social platform might disagree and then people won’t get the benefit of seeing that post (find out about your engagement here).
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?
There’s no one person I can pinpoint but I am extremely sociable both on and offline, I’ll chat to anyone and have put myself in situations where I’ve met and learned from some incredible people. There’s no one ‘right’ way to do business so don’t take any one person’s thoughts as gospel. Meet and talk to as many people as possible, ideally people who are doing what you want to do but are a few steps ahead. Then try things and see what works for you.
What do you think is the most important thing about working on collaborations with other influencers and brands?
Integrity with what you believe in. I’d make a lot more money short term if I accepted every sponsored post, guest blog or product review that I was offered. But I just can’t bring myself to showcase things I don’t believe in, like weight loss tea!
Who is your ideal collaboration with?
Someone who has a complementary but not conflicting service or product to the same market as me. Someone who targets Mums! But to be honest if I love a product or service I reach out to them anyway, so I’ve already teamed up with a few companies whose products I absolutely love and can talk about passionately and honestly.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start in the industry now?
Figure out who you are and what you believe in, really nail down what your message is and stick to it. Don’t veer off in other directions just because something seems popular or your message will get diluted.