HealthSmart Today

Dayna Devon was a great interview; enthusiastic about nutrition and supplements.

HealthSmart Today makes my Top Six because it represents what the Natural Health Writer can achieve under extreme time pressure. Here’s the scenario: HST was a 750,000 circulation custom magazine distributed by Puritan’s Pride. One month prior to their Winter Issue deadline, the entire editorial staff unexpectedly jumped ship. I was called in as the editorial pinch hitter.

In less than a month, I secured a celebrity cover: Dayna Devon, host of television’s Extra program. I also got an interview with Grand Champion Boxer Roy Jones Jr. I wrote  five articles, outsourced the remainder to quality writers and edited everything else. Even I was surprised at the speed with which everything came together. When the dust settled, what we beheld was no makeshift patchwork. In the blink of an eye, we had created a magazine that surpassed what it had been.

The Lesson: The Natural Health Writer is a Playmaker. I can write quickly and coordinate complex editorial projects under pressure — all while maintaining superior quality (not to mention my composure).

Energy Times

Puppies! Flowers! Mariel Hemingway!

Energy Times is a custom magazine distributed in health food stores. I wrote for Energy Times at its peak; 525,000 circulation. During an Energy Times leadership change I made a precocious proposal to become Publisher — and was denied. I did, however, become Executive Editor.

I steered the editorial back on track to its true mission: Selling nutritional supplements. I brought the magazine’s content to a pinnacle, making it compelling in a way that inspired readers to visit their local health food store. Plus, I ushered in the era of Celebrity Natural Health Interviews that still remains a hallmark of Energy Times.

Click the image to see the articles and ads that I wrote as Executive Editor in one Energy Times issue. My Prolotherapy article sparked tons of reader interest in this complementary therapy; illustrating that the Natural Health Writer sells more than supplements. For this issue, I also spearheaded Energy Times’ first web 2.0 venture: an interactive online debate, Vegan vs. Carnivore. Overall, combining ads and editorial, I wrote over 60% of this particular issue…saving thousands on our budget.

Nature’s Plus

The Natural Health Writer has been the voice for this nutritional supplement trifecta....

In 1996, I bought my first cannister of Chocolate SPIRU-TEIN as a college student. Seven years later, I was writing SPIRU-TEIN copy for Nature’s Plus. It’s funny how the universe works. Nature’s Plus gave me my start in the Natural Products Industry, and for that I am forever grateful.

At the time, I was working in a private investigation firm. I saw the ad for a copywriter, applied and was called in for a “test.” My boss wouldn’t let me take an afternoon off, so I had to quit my job in order to take the test. I later learned that this was the third test given to find a copywriter; no one had passed. It was me and ten other applicants in one room. We were given company literature and asked to write product copy in 30 minutes. I remember chuckling to myself as I wrote about Animal Parade children’s supplements: “Cherry Elephants, Lemon Lions, Nutrition in Disguise!” I got the job.

In R&D, I had a fantastic crash course about writing for the industry. Anyone who knows Nature’s Plus is familiar with their rapidly expanding product catalog. The workflow was brutal at times, but I absorbed like a sponge. I didn’t just churn out product copy, I created a “voice” for Nature’s Plus that resonated with Founder Gerald Kessler’s style. This is especially evident in my writing for  Source of Life, SPIRU-TEIN and Animal Parade: Three flagship products and true industry icons. It was a privilege to write about them!

Talent Trumps Experience

Ignore negative people. Believe in yourself.

Back in my corporate days, I avoided politics… But I wanted to climb that ladder. At Natural Organics I had a leap in mind: I wanted to move from copywriting in R&D to running Editorial for Energy Times magazine.

Before making the proposal, I met with the departing ET publisher to get his blessing. Boy was I in for a surprise! He sat me down and told me I would fail. I had no magazine experience. It’s a complicated job. I would need extensive training. Blah, blah, blah… the real kicker, I will never forget. He told me, “You know, if you get this job it could actually hurt your career.”

Since I was sill a bit green, this bizarro pep talk shook me up. But I persisted, became Executive Editor and persevered. Four months later, I completed the annual Energy Times Cancer Issue with Alec Baldwin as the feature interview. It was the biggest celebrity we’d ever landed. After the issue came out, the founder called me to tell me it was the single greatest Energy Times in its 17-year history.

Ultimately, I improved ET: Better content, lower operating costs, and, most importantly, superior promotion of nutritional supplements and natural health.

The Lesson: Go ahead. Tell me I won’t succeed. I dare you. Talent trumps experience every time. These days, the Natural Health Writer has both in spades.

Healthy Sales

If I were a Vitamin World Associate, I would enjoy reading this on my breaks.

Healthy Sales may be the coolest project I ever worked on, with the greatest potential to supercharge supplement sales.

With Healthy Sales I coordinated with an NBTY Vice President (and bona-fide marketing guru) to create the ultimate training tool for Vitamin World Associates. The concept: Associates would read the Healthy Sales newsletter to learn sales techniques, conversation starters, industry insight, and more. It was a motivational tool, as Associates’ commission earnings would rise as they learned. Since Healthy Sales was entertaining and eye-catching, it made education fun.

During a leadership change, the axe fell on Healthy Sales. It’s a damn shame, and it fills me with regret. I don’t think Management gave enough credit to their Associates’ intelligence, ambition and eagerness to learn from Healthy Sales. And by the way, one advertisement per issue paid for the whole shebang, making Healthy Sales a free program.

The Lesson: Need to train your sales force on how to maximize supplement sales?  Consider commissioning me to create a dynamic, vibrant magazine-style publication like Healthy Sales.  The concept was golden, and it was ready to soar just when it was axed.

People’s Health Series

10+ million copies in print... and counting.

The People’s Health Series is a collection of seven nutrition booklets that I ghostwrote and published. This project has proven to be phenomenally effective at sparking consumer interest in supplements.

Each nutrient covered has been extensively researched, so there is abundant substantiation. There are no over-the-top claims, just suggestions based on facts. And while nutrition is emphasized, I also include complementary lifestyle activities that optimize health. It’s valuable information that I am proud to disseminate.

The Lesson: When a PHS book is released, the immediate sales impact is staggering. This proves that education is the key to nutritional supplement success. With over ten million copies circulating across the U.S.A. and abroad, the PHS is a true game-changer, capable of making any nutritional ingredient a household word.

Below are three samples from my books on Pycnogenol, Ubiquinol and Lutein. Check them out, and witness a clinic on effective supplement writing. To see how this content can be translated for web, visit this page on Ubiquinol benefits.

The Pycnogenol book's early pages focus on history, setting the stage and weaving a story.

These pages use graphic elements and scientists' commentary to show why Ubiquinol is special.

Lutein research, testimonials, diagrams and even Government recommendations.

Angry Baldwin

When I took over editorial of Energy Times, the magazine’s founder gave me a mission: get celebrity covers. My first issue, I got Ed Begley, Jr. By my third, I landed Alec Baldwin for our annual Cancer Issue.

My most exciting and gratifying celebrity interview... all to fight cancer.

This was the biggest celebrity “get” in Energy Times’ history. Sure, Alec got ticked off at me during the interview. Yep, I got hate mail from Conservative readers for putting him on our cover. The universe then gave me the finger when Alec’s notorious voicemail rant hit headlines right after my article came out. Despite these hurdles, we successfully raised awareness and money for the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research fund. When the dust settled, Alec Baldwin’s star continued to rise.

The Lesson: Landing an A-List celebrity for Energy Times involved a great deal of creativity — but this is the Natural Health Writer’s specialty. I take a lot of pride in this article, both for the writing quality and the publicity it generated for a great cause. Plus, whether you’re a fan or a hater, you will see that Alec Baldwin is intelligent, articulate and knowledgeable about health and environmental issues.

VOX Mag: Style Had A Voice

VOX was a luxury magazine distributed in the Hamptons in Long Island, New York.

Anti-Aging content is one of the Natural Health Writer's favorite specialties.

As VOX‘s Well-Being Columnist, the Natural Health Writer had to convey complex nutritional concepts in a way that was creative, clear and entertaining. At right is one VOX column I did about antioxidants and the Free Radical Theory of Aging. What the PDF doesn’t show is VOX ‘s sheer beauty — it was a high-end, large-format publication with really superb paper quality. All funded by advertisers selling multi-million dollar real estate and diamond-studded timepieces! Sure, VOX went the way of the Dodo, but I am still proud of my articles for the mag.

The Lesson: Strong writing transforms boring scientific copy into dazzling, easy-to-understand content that consumers want to read. When consumers understand why nutrients might work, they are compelled to buy nutritional supplements.

Ingredient Sales 2.0

Educational supplement materials that are delivered over the web are the next great marketing leap for our industry. I have started creating websites that educate consumers with nutrient research summaries, testimonials and history. At right is one such site, which is all about Pycnogenol Benefits. I am eager to launch more sites like this one. Outsourcing your web-based educational marketing to the Natural Health Writer is a smart strategy. Frequent reporting on nutritional ingredients can be time consuming, and using a third party enables greater flexibility.

The Lesson: Information drives supplement sales. We are in the Information Age. Strong writing is the spark that ignites these combustible elements into blazing-hot sales for your nutritional supplement.

Writing for Health Freedom

Oh byoooooteeeeful, for spaaaacious skies, for amber waves of graaaaaain...

The Natural Health Writer is the voice of the Nutritional Health Alliance. The NHA was founded by industry giant Gerald Kessler, who helped create the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA).

As the NHA’s writer, I adopted Kessler’s bombastic style to advance Health Freedom. The concept: We are one bad bill away from losing access to supplements. I believe in this cause; Europe has already set the precedent. Click the Capitol to read my latest NHA column.

The Lesson: Hiring a nutrition writer? Make this your first interview question: “Can you explain DSHEA?” If the candidate looks flabbergasted, move on. I have written about DSHEA since 2003. I understand DSHEA, and I know how the FDA and FTC regard supplements. This knowledge is supplement marketing gold.