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  • Writer's pictureBarbara J. Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

What creates effective communication? Reach more people with impact and influence.

woman wearing headphones in front of a microphone

What creates effective communication? This series of posts shares 8 key principles.

Thus far, we have covered the first five:

Principle #6 is: Reach more people with impact and influence.

How? Via mass media.

Why mass media?

Communication that can make a difference in one person’s life has the potential to impact the lives of millions when delivered via mass media channels.

To be an average communicator… Keep your messages for only those you can reach in person.

To be an amazing communicator, who effectively communicates… Reach audiences both in person and across a variety of media channels.

“Communicating via mass media is important for two main reasons: Mass media expands the reach of the nutrition communicator’s message, and, equally important, the nutrition communicator provides the media with an accurate and reliable source for news and information about food and nutrition. It’s a win-win-win for the media, the communicator, and the consumer.”

Determine which mass media channels (including social media platforms) your audience uses and make your message known. Make an impact and influence a wider audience.

How can I communicate via mass media channels?

Explore reaching audiences via newspapers, magazines, social media, blogs, web-based communication, podcasts, radio, and television.

Learn which media channels are preferred by your audience. Determine whether you can efficiently access these channels to share your message.

Build a relationship with the gatekeepers, such as editors and producers, so that you become a sought-after resource for articles and interviews.

Keep up to date on trends, research findings, common questions, and other sources of media-worthy stories, articles, interviews, and posts.

Create messages that are adaptable to various media channels. This involves learning…

  • to speak or write with the tone and language of preferred channels.

  • to write sound bites or talking points, which are succinct phrases that encapsulate a message in a compelling way.

  • to write press releases that expand on those sound bites with further evidence and examples tailored to a specific audience.

  • to pitch your message and be responsive when the media asks for a story or an interview.

These strategies are described in greater detail in Section 6 of Communicating Nutrition: The Authoritative Guide.

What are the action steps for utilizing mass media?

Consider your answers to these questions:

  • Which media channels reach my desired audience?

  • How can I communicate via these channels effectively and consistently?

Begin with the ones that are most accessible, least expensive – even free, and have the greatest potential for making an impact. Create content and a schedule for delivery via multiple channels. Most content can be easily adapted for posting everywhere.

What does this look like in real life?

Back in 2020, anticipating the publication of Communicating Nutrition: The Authoritative Guide, I considered various channels for reaching one of our primary audiences: dietetic students. A common channel for reaching students is the social media platform Instagram. This was a new channel for me, so I sought out the assistance of students in creating content that would appeal to students.

I reached out via a website for matching students with dietitians called My appeal attracted the attention of five students. Via Zoom, I met with each student and decided to create a team to work with. Collectively, the team encouraged me to create an Instagram page administered by students for students. Thus the TalkNutrition4Students Instagram page was launched in October 2020.

Each year I invite students to form a new team. To date, a total of 23 students representing 5 countries and 15 different universities have served as student administrators. The page is followed by hundreds of students, student organizations, and nutrition professionals from around the world. It is helping spread messages about nutrition communication with greater impact and influence.

Your turn – how can you communicate via mass media?

“Three minutes in front of the camera is worth more than three years behind the desk.” ~ Jean Ragalie-Carr

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