STRICTLY PROHIBITED: Curse or Coincidence?

When deciding on a topic for my first blog post, I thought to myself; What am I interested in? What would my readers be interested in? What’s been going in in the media this week? So, I thought I’d keep this light-hearted and discuss the recent Strictly Come Dancing scandal. If you don’t like Strictly don’t leave just yet, I for one am not a major fan but I have somehow become captivated by the so called ‘Strictly curse.’

Popular entertainment show Strictly Come Dancing has a troubled history of sparking relationship woes among its celebrity contestants but is it really a ‘curse’ or just a coincidence? Well, let’s take a look…

It’s been the latest media frenzy this week taking the world of showbiz by storm and anyone who has any contact with the outside world will undoubtedly heard of the recent goings on between strictly duo, Seann Walsh and Katya Jones.

If you for some reason have been living as a hermit, Seann and his professional dance partner Katya were spotted sharing a kiss and joking around outside a London bar last week much to the dismay of their respective other halves.

Exhibit A: #Awkward

SC1 SC2 SC3

Seann was in a long-term relationship whilst Katya is married to fellow strictly dancer Neil Jones, who made his feelings towards Seann pretty clear on Saturday nights show.

If looks could kill, literally…

SC4 SC5

Curse or Coincidence?

A total of 9 couples have already fallen for the strictly ‘curse’ since the show’s debut back in 2004 so it does make me think, perhaps this is a curse? or maybe we are just dealing with a bunch of celebrities who simply can’t handle themselves around a few sweaty dancers, either way the debate seems to captivate the minds of the public every year.

Having never been a fan of Strictly Come Dancing with this year being no exception, I found myself unable to escape the drama on social media, and let’s not kid ourselves, we all love a bit of drama! I tuned in to Strictly ‘It Takes Two’ to see how the couple would deal with the utter shame of the situation and it was possibly the most uncomfortable thing I have ever witnessed, and I certainly wasn’t alone there.

SC6

One thing I can say about the so called ‘curse’ is that it has worked wonders for the BBC. When news broke of Seann and Katya’s infidelity, BBC bosses were rather silent on the issue, understandably perhaps. However, there was no escaping the scandal, with some celebrities jumping to Seann’s defence whilst others began to publicly bash him and his partner Katya calling for the pair to be kicked off the show. Strictly judges, current and previous contestants appeared on various TV shows over the course of the week sharing their opinion on the scandal, so Strictly well and truly gained mass publicity, whether it be positive or negative.

So, have the BBC played up to the ‘Curse?’

From keeping up with all the drama in the world of Strictly, I can’t help but think this whole ‘curse’ debate has worked in the BBC’s favour, with viewing figures hitting a whopping 11.9 million this week with many eager fans tuning in to see the couple perform, I think we can agree that the BBC has well and truly won the Saturday night TV ratings war, but maybe unfairly this time around! The BBC meticulously planned each and every minute in Saturday night’s show to keep viewers on their toes, even leaving Seann and Katya as one of the last couples to dance, so is it really any wonder why they kept them in the show? It was total genius!

It remains unseen as to whether or not the ‘curse’ is real so the real question is, will it all be forgotten about by next week? Probably not, but lets all sit back and watch the drama unfold.

SC7

The Strictly Saga continues…

Sorcha Conway is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be contacted through; Facebook: Sorcha Conway /  Twitter: @SorchaConway / LinkedIn: sorcha-c / Instagram: sorchaconway515

 

5 Things To Avoid When Writing PR Blog

There are thousands of different PR blogs that talk about anything and everything, but when looking up other PR blogs for inspiration I saw a lot of things that should be avoided. Here we will go over the top 5 things that should be avoided when writing a PR blog.

  1. Selecting Topics That Everyone Else Is Writing About

I know about the Royal Engagement, the Victoria Secret Fashion Show, or the fact that Kinder Eggs are actually coming back to the USA. I basically live under a rock, all my friends joke about how I am always the last one to know something. My point being that if even I know about it then that means everyone else knows about it because the PR world is already jumping all over it. Use this to your advantage by being creative and coming up with something that will be a breath of fresh air to people looking for something ‘different’ to read.

     2. Using Pictures That Every Other Blogger Or Magazine Has/Is Using

Not only should you avoid writing about the same topics, but another thing to avoid is using the same pictures that everyone else is using. After a while the grab affect they have on the audience starts to gradually wear off. A blog has about 8 seconds to grab and keep the attention of the reader or else they’re off to the next thing that catches their eye. Grab their attention and make them stay by using unique pictures to stand out against their roaming eye. People are going to look at pictures over reading headlines to see what catches their attention, so if they keep seeing the same few pictures repeatedly then the reader is just going to continue to skip down till they find something new and fresh. Have that picture that makes you stand out amongst the crowd with a headline that continues to keep their attention.

     3. Overwriting – Be Direct & To The Point

Again people nowadays have short attention spans, so make sure in your writing that you get directly to the point. Nobody wants to read something that they think is wordy or like the author is overcompensating with their vocabulary for a poor topic.

Write like you speak. This way the audience can build a connection to you and what you are writing about.

    4. Being Scared To Go Against The Crowd Or Popular Opinion

Don’t be afraid that if you write something that nobody else is talking about or is the unpopular opinion that your blog won’t have any success. More than likely, the result will be the complete opposite. People want to read something new, they want to be what they think is ‘ahead of the game’ or to see what else is going on in the world outside the few limited things that have been talked about over and over again. Also in this day and age with the politics especially in the USA, people want to read what both sides have to say about issues and to see where people are coming from. They’re not always going to agree with you, but at least you’re getting your blog out there and will cause a stir to get people talking.

5. Discussing Broad Topics

Broad topics are so easy to write because you can literally talk about anything in the world. However, being able to talk about anything in the world can definitely have huge negative affects. It’s so easy to be on a role and start to get distracted within your topic because you can take it in so many different ways. If you don’t brainstorm and really map out your topic, to have your writing go all over this place which will make it hard for the reader to follow to try to understand where you are coming from. Take a broad topic, but when you’re brainstorming, map out exactly where you are going to take your blog so that way you or the reader won’t get lost in it.

 

Emily Williard is an exchange student at Ulster University, as part of her degree in Public Relations at Appalachian State University in the US. She can be contacted on Instagram at emilee_5 or LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/emily-williard-0196a4151.

The 27 Club; Myth or Maybe?

Side note – Originally the title for this blog post was supposed to be; ‘To Blog or Not To Blog’, pretty self-explanatory but I had this idea of creating a post to just address the fact that I have recently been very conflicted with creating blogs (isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?). Writing is something that I really enjoy doing and I would never have started to write blogs (especially blogs that would be published for everyone to read), if it wasn’t a requirement for my final year PR coursework. For this PR work I had to write a series of 3 blogs, incorporating both PR and personal interest, I actually would’ve been quite happy if we had to complete 10 posts as it is work that I just thoroughly appreciate and benefit from in many ways.

Once the coursework was complete, I stopped writing. However, there have been quite a few moments where I have been reading a story or article, listening to music or just watching the news and thought; I could easily write an interesting post about this, especially if it is something that fascinates me! Of course, personal interest posts are what I revel in, I do enjoy PR related writing;  and I am still very much a beginner in that area but it is something I do hope to continue.

Soooo, my apologies if you weren’t interested in any of that, but here goes a personal interest post (which very few of you may actually find interesting in the slightest).

‘The 27 Club’; have you heard of it? if not let me tell you a little of what I know. The 27 club or the Forever 27 Club, was the collective name given to the group of iconic musicians and actors who all passed away at the young age of 27, more often that not this was due to drug and alcohol abuse or violence-related incidents. Although the causes of death are rather varied, does this mean there are no patterns? no connections?, you have to admit; it is a little coincidental. So, if you would like to know which famous names will be forever 27, keep reading; Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Richey Edwards, Ron ‘Pigpen McKernan, and more.

Image result for the 27 club

Personally, when I first heard about the idea of The 27 Club I was immediately hooked and just had to find out more, a deeper meaning; it was all so strange. Is the curse of The 27 Club more than just an unsettling trend? How many more famous names will become associated with this? Are there musicians out there who fear becoming the life claiming 27? (ok that last one was a bit dramatic but shhh). Legend has it that singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse (pictured above) had actually predicted that she, too, would join The 27 Club. Has this myth been talked about so much that it has actually become… dare I say it; GLORIFIED?!

There are many different conspiracy theories that circle the internet today in relation to this coincidental series of events, all ranging from ‘illuminati’, deals with the devil, and even the curse of the white ‘Bic’ lighter (stay with me on this, it’s going somewhere I promise). It had been reported that during the autopsy of a number of these celebrities, a white Bic lighter was found in their possession, and of course immediately these lighters were then said to be unlucky. Maybe you’re even reading this thinking it’s all a load of rubbish;  but I can almost guarantee that the next time you happen to come across a white Bic lighter you will remember this post (probably not but that’s the dream, eh?).

Related image

So, was it a case of live fast, die young? all in all there is not much evidence out there to support the fact that this is anything other than a peculiar coincidence, I mean; Bic’s disposable lighters weren’t even produced until 1973, a considerable amount of time after many of these famous deaths. Jim Morrison did famously once say; “whoever controls the media, controls the mind”, something to ponder over. (Maybe he was warning us, ok I’ll stop).

Still, quite a cool theory though! The 27 Club is something that I have known of and thought about for quite a while, maybe this is your first time hearing about it, perhaps you even know more than I do… and although this is likely to be some congregated idea of theories and fantasy – the next time you hear of a musician passing away at the age of 27, it just might send a little shiver down your spine!

 

Jayne Mullan is a 3rd year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @JayneMullan_ and LinkedIn:  http://linkedin.com/in/jayne-mullan-81457415a

Blogger Brunchin & Insta Launchin’

Welcome to the ‘Blogosphere.’

The beauty of having a creative mind means that I am constantly daydreaming, sketching and thinking of new ideas (98.8% daydreaming about food).  Recently I have been thinking about life living in the ‘Blogosphere.’ No matter which city or countryside that you choose to visit, there will be an abundance of beauty, fashion, foodie and travel bloggers.  However, each Blogger has a unique story to share. If you wish to find out more about my recent blogging and PR adventures, then you have come to the right place.  I have also included my all-time favourite ‘blogger girls.’

In November (3 months ago, I know I’m a bit late) I was encouraged to attend the ‘NI Blogger Brunch’ in Babel, Belfast.  I could write a single blog post about Babel itself as the interiors are just so dreamy.  Marble coffee tables, bubble gum pink and forest green walls with a splash of 1950’s & 60s design- let’s not forget the foliage, did I mention the cacti? Babel really was the perfect setting for this event and I instantly fell in love with this gem of a rooftop bar (even before glancing at the cocktail menu).

AZ1

AZ4

 

Ok so, I may have just got majorly distracted by all things interiors, however it played a huge role in the success of the event.  As Student Ambassador for CIPR NI, attending the brunch enabled me to network with bloggers, online influencers and PR professionals.  It was surreal meeting bloggers that I follow on Instagram. In fact, I felt as if I knew everything about them before we engaged in conversation.  A little bit creepy, right?  This is the beauty of the ‘blogosphere.’ Over the last decade blogs have evolved from glorified online journals to much more personified accounts.  It is something that we should encourage, we often perfect our CV’s ‘on paper’ (Amber Davies eat your heart out) and forget about building our online portfolios.  Showcase your writing skills, upload that cute picture of your Doggo and share your passion with others.  You never know what positive leads will evolve from a well written blog post.  On a side note, can you guess why I chose to include this Instagram account? Basic.

AZ3

Aware NI- It’s ok not to be ok.

The fabulous Sinead Doyle from MCE Public Relations and previous Chair of CIPR NI opened the Brunch, providing insight to supporting charity ‘Aware NI.’  This amazing charity aims to support those with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorders.  Many of the great workings include their support programmes which help to educate communities, schools, universities and the workplace. It is all too easy to feel disengaged from our social circles, feeling isolated online.  I believe that Instagram has advantageous frills however like all social media platforms it harbours bullying and negativity.  As someone who cares way too much of what the world thinks of her I have quickly recognised that I am not alone.  I used to care about those likes and comments to a point where I would question what I uploaded.  Now, I ask myself if I feel happy with the content that I am posting.  The bottom line, do not post for others as they cannot determine your happiness. Only you can.  Learning to be mindful and to relax has helped me immensely with my anxiety.  Take a step back and observe others, you might just gain much-needed inspiration!

AZ8

AZ9

An appetite for the ‘Digital Diet.’

Whilst I am trying not to type forever, I am a self-confessed Instagram addict and have no shame.  It is nice to know that your friends may worry about you if you haven’t posted in a while!  To some it may feel like I use Instagram every hour of my life, well you are not far wrong.  When I visit a small or local business, I feel an urge to share and promote their story online, especially if I feel connected to their brand/story. Sharing my experiences with others is something I value, we should inspire others through creative content. I pledged that I would spend less time on my phone this year (good joke Kathryn). It has been a challenge to say the least, especially when you are immersed and study in the world  of PR/Digital communication.

It is also important to note that not everyone will be your biggest cheerleader along the way, so keep it real. If you are honest what is there to fault? You cannot be someone who you are not, people are not so slow in this digital age.  One valuable piece of advice that I gained from the Blogger Brunch was to post what you want, when you want, do not be put off by negative judgement.  So, what if your post does not reach 150 likes or you have not hit the 1k follower mark?  If you post a photograph that you feel good about then let that be your success.  If posting boosts your confidence, then do it.  The basic algorithm behind a successful Instagram is authenticity, interesting content and engagement.

Taking inspiration from this funky lady.  A groovy gran with style that would put your own wardrobe to shame!  ‘Baddiewinkle’ rose to fame after her granddaughter created an Instagram account for her.  What can we conclude from this? Age has no limit. Do you really think ‘Baddie’ cares about the negative comments? Absolutely not. She’s living her best badass life with no shame!

AZ6

AZ7

Finally, for a nosey…

To round off this post I have picked out four special ladies that I feel I can relate to the most.  Each of their Instagram accounts are a true representation of just how lovely they are.  First up we have Niamh Serena.  I am proud to call Niamh a friend and what she has achieved so far is amazing, recently collaborating with ‘Pretty Little Thing.’ For fabulous fashion and outfit inspiration take a peek at ‘Niamhserena.’ For all things lifestyle, blooms, family life and fashion follow Anna (‘blossomingbirds’).  This girl has the most amazing interiors and collection of Emma Bridgewater mugs (an obsession of mine) I just love how humble Anna is.   She fosters an incredible work ethic combined with family life but is never afraid to voice the blips along the way.  Last but certainly not least twins Lucy and Zoe (‘allthingsbeautifullymade’ & ‘alittlebitoflife’). These ladies are incredible.  Once you visit their blogs you will understand how brave, courageous and beautiful they are.  With every story that they post I feel inspired and empowered.

If you would like to check out some of latest illustrations, fashion posts and travel adventures then hit me up at ‘the_fashion_fairypr.’

AZ2

Warning: may contain the occasional photograph of the Eiffel Tour.

Love,

K x

Kathryn Bigger is a third year student on the BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations at Ulster University. She is currently undertaking her placement year at Marks Design Collective. Kathryn can be contacted on: Instagram – the_fashion_fairypr / Twitter – @KatieB_05 / LinkedIn- Kathryn Bigger.