On Messaging …

magical-weave-mirror2Last week, I was shocked when I was contacted by someone working for the publisher of Fitness magazine (of which I have been a loyal reader for years now).

I was initially flabbergasted — and flattered — to see that I’d been “found” in the blogosphere by such a huge magazine.

But then I remembered I rank #1 and #2 in Google when you Google “disordered eater” … so perhaps it wasn’t so surprising that eventually something like this would happen.

Anyway, it turns out that the contact was looking for bloggers to share with their readers a new package –the workout, diet and exercise routines of 50 celebrities.

In return, the FitnessMagazine.com blog would link back to the bloggers who shared the links with their readers, driving traffic to those blogs.

Now, I read Fitness magazine and while I don’t necessarily “Drink the Kool-Aid,” so to speak, I do love the tips I find in this (and all of) my health and fitness magazines.

That said, there’s a time and place for everything … and so, despite being stoked about the notion of getting a plug from Fitness magazine, I began to question if my blog about disordered eating was the proper place.

This was my first moral/ethical debate I’ve had since blogging began.

On the one hand, I’d love to get a link on the FitnessMagazine.com blog to drive traffic back to my blog … But as a PR professional, I know the number one rule of good communication is to “know your audience.”

And so the topic of celebrities’ weight loss and exercise regimens is honestly off-message for my audience, and off-message from the focus of my blog: living with/recovering from disordered eating issues.

Especially since this is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week!

And while right now I am trying to re-lose some weight I’ve gained and the focus of my blog is shifting a little, I’m doing it the healthy, old-fashioned way: eating healthy and exercising regularly … nothing new. I’m not a celebrity … I don’t have a 24/7 personal trainer, a chef, fashion consultants, attendants … I’m a real person.

And those tips are probably great … but this just isn’t the place to share them.

So I pulled a Sarah Palin, and offered a “thanks but no thanks” to the contact. In the end, you –my audience — took precedence.

I know my audience is composed of all kinds of men and women, many of whom have body image issues and are in the throes of an eating disorder or, like myself, are on the path to recovery from disordered eating.

So why risk losing that audience to share “celeb tips,” when that is so not what me — or my blog — is about?!

Believe me, I’d love nothing more than to write an article for Fitness magazine or for their blog someday.

I’d love to share my story about how dieting inevitably led me — someone inclined to perfectionist tendencies — to develop disordered eating behaviors. That’s a compelling story, a truth so many women can relate to — and they do here, on my blog … in our community here.

But I just can’t, in good conscience, share those links here. (Yes, I realize you can easily Google that article or go to the magazine’s site … but I’m unable to do the honors of linking you there from my blog).

The bottom line is I believe in authenticity. It’s simply not worth sacrificing my integrity to blog about celebrity diet tips when I know that often, it is that very advice (or those very air-brushed images) that fuels ED/DE for so many women.

If I could tell Fitness magazine what I’m thinking, I’d say: “If you’d like a unique story, I’m happy to write for you. But in this case, I do need to say thanks, but no thanks.”

How about you? Would you have done the same thing?

112 thoughts on “On Messaging …

  1. I am so proud of you for processing and analyzing your thoughts and more over putting them out there for us to read. I think you made the best decision because YOU asked yourself what would be best to do. That automatically means you did the “BEST” thing. I think it’s great that fitness magazine scoped you out–but you are sticking true to your beliefs and values and that is great in its own beautiful way. As long as we continue to live through our own set of values and standards, we can live a long healthy & HAPPY LIFE!!!!

  2. (PS, i view your situation similar a musician’s example, i.e. a rock artist trying to make it big and “SELLING HIMSELF” to rolling stones, just for the money and fame when all he really wants to do is play music!!)

  3. Wow, you’re amazing. You’re rightfully honored by the offer but, oh my gosh, I beyond commend you for your authenticity. Your points for turning it down are so considerate. I love your blog for your originality and honesty in a struggle that I deal with daily as well. I find I can relate to your ups and downs and, you’re right, I don’t know if the most recent celebrity fitness tip would hit home as hard, it would seem very unlike you, the blogger, as far as the parts of you that you reveal to your readers :). Thank you for thinking of us and yourself. Your blog is better for it!

  4. Hi Lissa,

    First off, I would like to congratulate you on being recognized by such a huge fitness magazine! That’s incredible! If one day you chose to write an article for them, I think you would do a great job. You’re such a good writer and a clear thinker. Honestly though, I think you are even better of a person to turn them down. So many websites/blogs, magazine, etc. work so hard to ‘help’ individuals, or even just share thoughts when it comes to disordered eating. Unfortunately though, seeing pictures of skinny women, or even links to Fitness magazine aren’t always helpful for people with disordered eating, or even just people who are trying to figure themselves out. As I am sure you know, it can often be discouraging.

    Personally, I come to your blog every weekday with my breakfast and coffee. You have become part of my morning routine. It’s wonderful to have found a blog with someone who is so positive and real. I think real is the key word. You’re a real person with real struggles and real goals and accomplishments. I commend you on being the bigger person to put aside their offer for now. I think you have such a good head on your shoulders and made such a good decision. Thanks for thinking of your readers :). It’s nice to be able to come to a place that isn’t covered in celebrities and a world that very few of us have access to. You’re the best!!

  5. Good for you!

    You should be flattered, but the refusal was the right thing.

    I’m betting another opportunity is in the wings, and it will be a better fit for you and your audience.

  6. Wonderful post. You did the right thing — and I am sure that Fitness or another publication will come to you at some point with something more relevent to your readers because of this. You’re keeping the door open for the right kind of partnerships. And you do know your readers well – the last thing I want to see is celebrities with perfect bodies with trainers and specialized meal deliveries 🙂 Life’s just not that simple for the rest of us. Thanks!

  7. Thanks so much for all your support ladies!! They say integrity is doing the right thing when no one else is looking, but in a case like this I wanted you all to know what was going on. I am truly honored and flattered … thanks for allowing me into your worlds!

  8. Beautifully said Lis. You have integrity which is why you made the decision you did. Someone else may have been easily swayed to go for the recognition but because of your ethics and morals, you were able to put things in perspective. You didn’t compromise your beliefs even though the result would have given you more exposure. As always, I’m very proud of you!

  9. I absolutely think you made the right decision. There are already way too many blogs and websites out there dedicated to celebrity workout routines and diets. Let’s be realistic – if I were a celebrity (or just a rich person), I’d have my own personal trainer and possibly a chef on some days.

    Your blog is popular because regular people can relate to it on many different levels. If you were to link to the Fitness blog or post about celebrities, how would we be able to relate to that? If Fitness has found your blog, chances are there will be other opportunities out there that will present themselves where you’ll be able to post or link to something more genuine.

  10. Wow! I would like to say that I would have done the same thing. I hope I would have. I feel like a lot of the stuff fitness mag is looking for is fluff. Like you mentioned, celebrity tips, and so forth. What you have here is authentic. I read it every day because it is not the same old boring bs I have read a million times. I know you would have tried to avoid that if you had taken the fitness job, but it might be inevtiable. Thanks for being you!

  11. Ahhh…I am glad to hear your response. Get ready because many more are coming.

    I’ve been through these dilemmas and I know that for me, and my reason for blogging, there is no place for pushing PR for anyone. You need to just keep it real.

    Ads are another thing, I just wont do it. How can I be discussing such deep, important issues and have a flashing Subaru ad flashing in their faces!!

    Keep it up!

    PS Your mother is wonderful, you are blessed. 🙂

  12. LOL MamaV, and thank you!! Exactly … that’s why the whole concept of paid advertising doesn’t make sense with my “brand” — I’m not in this to make money. I’m in this to help others as I help myself.

    Yes, she most certainly is and yes I most certainly am 🙂 Thank you!

  13. you are true. BIG PROPS to you. HUGE.

    congrats on being recognized, but you know you are recognized in a much more important way anyways. by your readers and those you have truly helped through your blog. thank you!

  14. I hope that if I’m ever faced with a similar situation, I’m able to make the same decision you did. I’m very impressed, but not surprised, at your ethics and integrity, as it fits with what I already know of you. Thanks for being a good example. 🙂

  15. Great job. I would have done the same thing that you did. Not the place or the time I guess. Good choice in my humble little opinion. HAve a great day

  16. I totally admire you for keeping your pure intent with your blog. Yes, If I were you, i could have done the same thing. It’s a good thing that you weren’t blinded by the fame that you will get. Truly, you are an inspiration. From now on, I will be an avid reader fo your blog.

    much love, abby (of Mia Picolli Piaceri)

  17. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book
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    a bit, but instead of that, this is wonderful blog.
    An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back.

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