06 Jun This Registered Dietician Serves up eBooks to Miami Millennials and Pro Ballplayers
We sat down for a digital cup of coffee with Monica Auslander, MS, RDN, whose Miami-based millennial-friendly practice, Essence Nutrition, conducts half its business over FaceTime and is chock-full of personality.
Lauren Okie: Tell me about your practice, Essence Nutrition. What do you do? What sets you apart from the competitors?
Monica Auslander: My practice is not your classic brick-and-mortar nutrition practice. I work out of a shared workspace to keep it young and fun. Half my clients now opt for FaceTime and phone meetings – who has time to fight the Miami traffic, park, and dedicate an hour-plus every week to a nutrition meeting? I don’t even grocery shop anymore – hello Instacart!
I am trying to build my content and consulting businesses, too. So I write content, and I’m developing an app for on-demand nutrition needs. I’m trying to scale my operation to do more of those things. If I see one VIP client every day – and do everything for them: create menus, clean out their pantries, take them grocery shopping – then I still have time to write and work on my scalable operation. My consulting side does commercial menu development, plus I work with Ocean Reef and the Miami Marlins. I also do corporate consulting, which is mostly presentations and seminars for workplace wellness.
In my “spare” time, I teach at the University of Miami’s graduate Nutrition program. My poor pup gets no time at the dog park anymore.
LO: How did you decide to make content marketing such an integral part of your business?
MA: I root my brand heavily in being modern, young, and connected with a contemporary audience. I want to convey my truest self through marketing. Becoming a practicing dietitian who likes to dabble in content writing and marketing seemed like a natural little outlet for me.
I have this bizarre, witty, slightly cynical, effervescent personality and I want to make sure my audience knows they are not getting a sterile white-coat preachy experience at Essence. They’re getting a real human butterfly who wants to be your BFF nutrition pal, and will joke around with you, but also knows her science damn well.
LO: Tell me about your eBooks. You’ve always got a new one out, and with a very targeted audience in mind (e.g., sugar cleanses for millennials, eating well for young professionals). Where do you find inspiration for such niche topics?
MA: Honestly, I get my friends’ input. I causally ask them: What’s your nutrition pain point? What would you pay to learn? I have one friend in particular, Dana Rozansky, who works in marketing. She’s been a good guide to me for things like this. I don’t have a marketing department to do formal market research analytics; I do the best I can.
I’m going to be sending out surveys for the upcoming app and meal plan club, since I’ve invested a lot of money into these projects. The survey will be a simple “please test this product/service and let me know your thoughts” thing – just to 100 or so people in my professional network. I don’t want to just throw darts in the dark.
LO: Your commitment to original, lead-generating content is such an inspiration to other small business owners. What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to an entrepreneur who’s on the fence about content marketing?
MA: My advice: be authentic. What’s your personality and style outside of your business? Funnel that into your writing and your brand. If you are serious, don’t tell jokes on Instagram – they’ll fall flat. Capture your authentic voice and let people get to know you.
LO: I always see you featured in magazines and well-regarded health blogs. We call that “thought leadership”. How did you get your name out there?
MA: There’s a couple of ways. First, I have a boss-lady client who runs a PR firm and she helps me with connections. Second, I check out HARO (Help a Reporter Out) – that’s a database where reporters can reach out for quotes. Some of those contacts have saved me in their little black books, and now come to me for questions first.
I try to diversify my material and weasel my way into different publications. I found myself quoted in Cosmopolitan magazine once. I was on a plane and I screamed!
LO: What’s the most tedious aspect of your content marketing strategy? How do you keep it up even on the days it exhausts you?
MA: The monthly newsletter always sneaks up on me. I try to get it out the first day of the month and all of a sudden I’m like “gadzooks!” because it’s the 29th already. Once I start writing, though, I enjoy the flow. Instagram became tedious. I was really enjoying writing the posts, but now I’ve completely outsourced that aspect of my strategy. I just have zero time to post, let alone engage, hashtag, grow the account, and make a content calendar. It was worth my time to outsource and pay for that.
LO: What’s the most successful piece of content you’ve created? Why do you think it performed so well?
MA: The Essence eBook on the sugar cleanse, and the No-Diet Diet Video series both killed it. They really hit my followers’ “pain points”. Lots of clients complain about their sugar addictions, and wanted meal plans to bust it. So, I made the eBook. The video series – well, people kept telling me: “You’re ridiculous, but you need to be on screen because you have good information to convey.” So, I made the content and monetized it.
LO: I’m always telling my clients to position themselves as experts in their fields, and the leads will follow. Has that been your experience, too?
MA: Yes! If you do your best, and harness a good product of service, people will like it. They tell their friends. They find you on Instagram. Your business becomes a mountain from a little mole hill. Oh, and hustle to get your name out there. I harassed every person in Miami for six months when I first set up shop.
LO: Okay, baseball nerd here. I saw that you’ve been recently named Team Registered Dietitian for the Miami Marlins. That’s amazing! Is Giancarlo Stanton reading your eBooks yet?
MA: Okay, so I just met him the other day and he is extremely fit and good-looking. And so down to earth and good-natured. I want to, like, be his friend but I don’t know how to propose that without being a creep. Maybe he can read my eBook Holiday Survival Guide and then invite me to this season’s Christmas party?
Monica Auslander, MS, RDN, is the founder of Essence Nutrition, a private nutrition practice based in Midtown Miami. She sees clients in-office and virtually, so you can seek her “ridiculous but very scientific” expertise from anywhere in the world. She is the dietitian to the Miami Marlins and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami. Check out her eBook collection.
Lauren Okie is founder of Eighth & May, a writing solutions agency that turns ideas into words.