Blog : communications



2017 was certainly a year of development in the digital sphere in terms of hardware and software. As a marketer, it is vital to be aware of new technological innovations and how new tools will impact the relationships between a brand and the consumer.

2018 will mark a more pronounced shift in the world of digital marketing and with more advancements brings more pressure for companies to adapt to this ever-evolving landscape or risk being left at the bottom of the theoretical ‘digital dump’. The public are now seeking more integrated experiences and this year, emerging technologies opens new doors for brands whilst also presenting renewed challenges.

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Hiring a public relations agency for your business can be a difficult decision. There’s no guarantee that a PR campaign will produce the desired results, and the costs can be quite high. Yet, a successful campaign can help you expand your business in ways you never could on your own.

With a new year ahead now is the time that previous activity is reviewed and new plans are drawn up. So how do you find a PR agency that is likely to benefit your business in 2017? Our Managing Director, Samantha Livingstone, believes there are five key points to consider:

  1. Budget
  2. Expectations
  3. Track Record
  4. Chemistry
  5. Measurement

PR practitioners will typically offer you a range of services based on your budget. Billing may be hourly, flat rates per project, or a blend of both hourly and project. Billing may also include a monthly retainer fee. Beware of hidden extras as well as being locked into a long-term contract. However, allow time for traction. Unlike advertising where you pay for an advert to appear on an exact date, PR is different.

PR requires the content to be engaging and for journalists to buy into the story; as a result, coverage is never guaranteed. Therefore, it can take some time to pull out the key messages, pitch to journalists and secure hits. Your billing will cover this period of pitching – the hours put in, in advance of any success. At Rumour Mill PR, we would recommend a company to allow at least one-two months, as a bedding in period. If we are not delivering after 60 days, then we will hold our hands up and speak with the client. There is no point barking into the wind…sometimes you need to step back and relook at the strategy.

The next question is, do you know what you want to achieve? What is your end goal? By having this clear in your mind, you will be able to ensure the agency is aware of your expectations and works to achieve them.

When PR firms pitch your business, they send in their best people. But sometimes you’ll probably be working most closely with lower-level employees. It’s important to find out who you will be working with day-to-day and spend time with them before deciding whether to hire the agency. Here at Rumour Mill PR, we pride ourselves on being small and perfectly formed. Our size allows us to be more intimate with our clients, to work collectively for the same goals. Who we put forward to pitch will ultimately be your day-to-day contact, because we understand that we need to be there from the start to understand the client and to build trust. After all, you are trusting us with your most valuable asset…. your brand.

Do they know your industry? What is their track record? You will probably benefit from hiring an agency that has experience with your type of business or sector. Ask to see results from past campaigns with clients in your industry. You should also find out if the people who managed those accounts are still with the agency because you may want to ask to work with them. Plus, why not speak directly to this client and get their feedback first-hand.

Finally, how does the agency measure success? Learning what metrics, they prefer will help gauge their PR measurement abilities. PR firms traditionally touted their media clips and advertising equivalency values (AVEs). However, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations warn that AVEs is a highly-flawed metric for measuring PR effectiveness. Instead, examine search engine rankings, inbound links, website traffic, leads and sales that PR campaigns produce. In addition, request timetables for reaching goals.

It’s an important decision. Choosing the wrong PR agency can at the very least waste your time and money, and at worst damage your reputation. We hope our tips will help you make the right choice.

Find out more about Rumour Mill PR via



Mid and East Antrim Borough Council launched ‘Geology at The Gobbins Cliff Path’, a new information guide demonstrating why The Gobbins is a must-see place to visit for so many reasons. Delving deep into the hidden crevasses of the coastline, this short guide aims to increase the amount of geology information available at The Gobbins Cliff Path and other sites of geological interest along the Causeway Coast and Glens Area; enhancing the overall visitor experience.

Commissioned by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, contributions were made by Andrew Bratton and Nikki Maguire from the Causeway Coast and Glen Heritage Trust; Dr Kirstin Lemon at the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland and Ian Enlander from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Billy Ashe says, “The introduction of this booklet, is a great addition to The Gobbins experience and the area as a whole. It provides a unique and fascinating look at the complex and varied geology along The Gobbins Cliff Path and associated sites in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area.

“It explores the rich geology along Islandmagee’s coastline telling the story of tectonic plate movements, historic eruptions and the more recent rock falls, which can all be seen along the coastal walk.  Other key landmarks, such as Carrickfergus and Cranny Falls also get a mention.

“I think it is extremely important to tell the geological story of the area and to really bring to the fore the wondrous heritage and beauty we call home.”

Speaking on the decision to create the booklet, Andrew Bratton from the Causeway Coast and Glen Heritage Trust remarks: “We took the decision to produce this booklet, as we knew the opening of The Gobbins path would present a great opportunity, to not only profile the spectacular environmental landscape and wildlife along the Gobbins cliff path; but show the link between the new attraction and other local sites of geological interest dotted across the area.

“The booklet unveils other interesting facts about the location. Did you know that The Gobbins is the location where the mineral ‘Gobbinsite’ was first discovered and the location which the mineral is named after? It is also one of the best locations in Ireland to see “tube zeolites”, or minerals, which have been stretched by flowing lava; and to see “Fault Breccia”, a band of rock which formed when two rock masses have rubbed past each other forming a very distinct layer of fractured rock material.”

Andrew adds: “It is the first publication to highlight the unique geology of the Gobbins Cliff Path and we wanted to ensure it presented the information in an interesting yet easy-to-digest way. The rich geology and biodiversity along Islandmagee’s coastline combines beautifully with the coastal processes at The Gobbins to present a landscape of exceptional scientific, aesthetic, historical and cultural value.”

‘Geology at The Gobbins Cliff Path’ is available for free, from the Gobbins Visitor Centre, the Gobbins website ( and

The Gobbins was a £7.5m project to restore The Gobbins Cliff Path Walk in Islandmagee to its former glory as one of the top tourism attractions in Northern Ireland. The project was part funded by the EU’s INTERREG IVA Programme, managed by the SEUPB, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, and Ulster Garden Villages.

NI’s Only Mainland Puffin Colony Arrive at  The Gobbins for the New Season

NI’s Only Mainland Puffin Colony Arrive at The Gobbins for the New Season

A dash of vibrant colour has returned to the shores of Northern Ireland recently and we’re not referring to the brief, yet welcomed, outbreaks of sunshine and warmth we have been experiencing. The Gobbins, a dramatic cliff path walk located on the magnificent Causeway Coastal Route in Islandmagee, is home to Northern Ireland’s only mainland colony of Puffins.

Receiving a welcomed return to our shores for breeding season, the brightly-coloured bird colony dig burrows into the Islandmagee cliffs to lay their eggs and are expected to stay put until mid-August.

These delightful little birds, which are slightly smaller than a pigeon, are some of the hardiest birds that breed on our shores.  Fledging the nest between 38-45 days after being abandoned by their parents, the chicks have to take a leap of faith from their nests burrowed high into the cliff face and into the sea below.

After this momentous leap in their young lives, the chicks then disperse throughout the North Sea and Eastern Atlantic; some may even reach the Grand Banks located off Newfoundland or the Mediterranean. Here they will remain for 4-5 years to mature before returning to The Gobbins to take their place in the approximately 60-strong colony.

The Gobbins is the only attraction in mainland Northern Ireland where visitors flock to avail of this unique opportunity and catch a glimpse of the dazzling Puffin which typically nests in burrows on offshore islands or the crevices of out-of-sight coastal cliffs.

Speaking of the Puffins’ highly anticipated return, George McGrand, resident Tour Guide at The Gobbins, said:

“It’s tremendous to once again have the wonderfully coloured Puffins return to The Gobbins cliff path after such a long winter wait. The first Puffin to return was sighted on April 15th which was right on the expected arrival date. It’s now June and we are delighted to see that the full colony has now returned. Now we wait patiently with bated breath to catch a glimpse of the first chicks of the breeding season which are expected later this month.”

A location immersed with rich biodiversity, The Gobbins is an area of special scientific interest attracting many breeding sea birds for its high cliffs, abundance of concealed ledges perched safely above rising tides and bounteous population of fish for feeding.

To celebrate biodiversity of The Gobbins, in particular, the vibrant colony of Puffins that make the return journey to the site year after year, The Gobbins’ Visitor Centre will soon be introducing its latest team member, and playful mascot, Paddy the Puffin. Along with the resident team, Paddy the Puffin will be on hand to ensure visitors to the unique tourist attraction have a memorable, and educational, experience.

For more information on the biodiversity of The Gobbins or to book a tour, contact the Visitor Centre on 028 9337 2318 or visit



Hollah Preserving offers a growing selection of tantalisingly peculiar condiments toying with the taste buds of Northern Ireland. It is the entrepreneurial spark of Paula Latuske and Trudy Hodkinson, two stay at home mum from Moira, County Down, and is one of only 20 companies in Northern Ireland to be accepted onto Invest NI’s growth and export initiative, the Propel Programme.

Taking a hiatus from the hustle and bustle of corporate life to focus on their young, growing families, the women were keen to make their triumphant return to employment – but on their own terms.

The two neighbours channelled their energies, and newly found free time, into developing a recognisable and relatable brand of chutneys, relishes and sauces to market in their local area.

Initially setting up shop in their kitchens, the duo was quickly met by high demand for their range of quirky condiments, all containing Hollah Preserving’s signature chilli kick.

In October 2014 Hollah Preserving Limited officially opened for business and to date have secured in excess of 70 retail stockists, over 20 bars, restaurants and cafes, and established crucial distribution channels with Henderson’s Foodservice and Musgrave NI, where the Hollah range will be available through Supervalu stores. The businesswomen have since expanded the production of their range with the help of a local manufacturer.

Speaking of the business’ humble beginnings, Paula Latuske, Hollah Preserving Co-founder, said:

“It’s strange to think it all began one morning as myself and Trudy waved goodbye to our girls as they were heading to school. We then had some free time and we both wanted to get back into meaningful employment. We had a passion for exploring new tastes and decided to channel this into making our own homemade range of condiments. Hollah Preserving has grown year on year ever since.”

Hollah Preserving’s inventive product range includes ‘Bucky BBQ Sauce’, a sauce infused with Buckfast Tonic Wine, ‘Chilli Strawberry & Prosecco’ and ‘Vodka & Cranberry’ chutney.

Trudy Hodkinson, Hollah Preserving Co-founder and neighbour to business partner Paula, added:

“Being accepted onto the Invest NI Propel Programme is a huge boost for us. The £20K investment, ten months of dedicated mentoring and business support will help us increase exports of the Hollah range. To coincide NI’s Year of Food and Drink we have been collaborating with other local businesses, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and have recently begun supplying Fortnum and Mason in London.”

Run by Invest NI, Propel is a programme for those entrepreneurs who have the greatest potential to start up and scale an export focused company, that is innovative and has the potential to become a significant exporter and employer.

The businesswomen have since been accepted on to Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council’s Food & Drink Programme. Developed with business growth in mind, the programme provides eligible businesses based in the Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council areas with tailored mentoring and business support from a dedicated team within the food and drink sector.

For more information on the Hollah Preserving product range, visit




The newly opened Beef and Bird, located at the Lisburn Leisure Park, is looking to enlist the help of Lisburn’s budding young artists, to help design novel artwork for its new signature cow and chicken life-size sculptures. The sculptures, which are currently blank canvases, will take up pride of place outside the restaurant’s front window where they will remain on display for all to marvel at.

Open to all children under the age of 11, the two winning designs will not only have their submitted drawings professionally transferred on to the Beef and Bird sculptures but will also have a celebratory plaque bearing their name installed, plus win a Beef and Bird party for themselves and up to nine friends. The second place runners-up will receive a jam-packed Beef and Bird goody bag and third place runners-up will walk away with a Beef and Bird T-shirt and baseball cap.

Appealing to young artists in the making from the local area, Bronagh Campbell, owner of Beef and Bird, said:

“If you look at the interior of Beef and Bird you’ll quickly see that we created a space that allowed us to express ourselves in creative ways; from our scrabble boards and play areas to quirky fixtures. There was no set formula; we want to work and eat in a space that inspires.”

“Our sculptures will eventually become integral pieces to the entire feel of the restaurant. We hope to receive wacky, vibrant and downright fun submissions to be professionally transferred onto the sculptures.

“We can’t wait to see who the winners are and what new funky designs our cow and chicken will be rocking.”

To enter simply collect an entry form and colouring-in stencil from the Beef and Bird restaurant, Lisburn Leisure Park, or download a copy from the restaurant’s website and submit by post or in-store before Wednesday 15th June.

For more information on the Beef and Bird Children’s Colouring Competition or to make a reservation, visit or call 028 9260 7306.