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How to talk about a sensitive subject: The secrets of Health PR

How to talk about a sensitive subject: The secrets of Health PR

Regardless of the sector you work in, PR professionals will always need to deal with sensitive subject matters. The subjects in question will vary dramatically depending on the type of client you are representing, however, it is important for all PRs to be fully prepared and understand how to handle challenging topics for discussion.

Looking specifically at the health sector, PRs will often find themselves dealing with niche, sensitive topics which the public do not wish to openly discuss. From tooth decay, to varicose veins, to odorous armpits – these are just some of the common health concerns that it is important to educate people on, but not the most glamorous of topics to cover.

As PRs, we must deal with such topics in a delicate, professional way. However, it is also the job of the PR team to bring these topics to life and take what would usually be perceived as an ‘unsexy’ issue and catapult it to the forefront of public conscious through targeted and creative PR activity.

Below we’ve detailed some of the key PR tactics that can be utilised when handling a sensitive subject:

 Don’t be afraid to ask questions…

As a starting point, it is important to ask ALL the awkward questions that no-one wants to talk about. This will help to establish the key messaging for a campaign and draw out the most press-worthy hooks. Armed with this information, you will then have the basis for PR’able content.

 Make it bite-sized!

Fertility Aware IVI

 The key to promoting a sensitive health topic is to make the issue feel relevant to the masses, and to make sure that the subject is easy to digest and understand. Feature articles focussed around ‘top tips about….’, or ‘myths and facts about…’ can be great ways to engage a mass audience and provide consumers with the must-know info in a bite size form. Also, for a more visual content strand, infographics can be a good way to provide information about a sensitive subject.

Case studies are key

 Case studies can also be hugely beneficial when trying to spread awareness of a sensitive subject and bring a challenging topic to the forefront of the media’s attention. Real stories illustrating a health condition or problem help bring a topic to life by adding a human face, and help educate a consumer audience on warning signs/symptoms they should be looking out for – which can help people to identify if they too are suffering from the condition in question.

All case studies must be handled with the utmost sensitivity. It is important to guide the case study throughout the entire process – making sure they feel totally comfortable with answering sensitive questions and being contacted by journalists. For media articles, all case studies will be required to reveal their full name and be pictured within any resulting articles so it’s also important that case studies are fully briefed on this from the get-go and feel completely happy to have their name and image in the public domain.

Think about your audience!

engaging an audience

When dealing with sensitive health stories, it’s also important to think carefully about who the target audience is and where they want the information to go. What’s the age demographic you are trying to engage with? Is the condition/topic you are dealing with more geared towards men or women? Does the condition require an expensive procedure to treat? These are all questions which you need to ask yourself when planning your PR activity to ensure that you are cutting through the noise and hitting the people who are most likely to want to hear from your client.

In summary, to effectively PR a sensitive subject matter, it is vital that you spend time carefully learning about the topic – drawing out all the required information whilst recognising the sensitivities around the issue. Make sure that your PR messaging reflects the client and subject matter suitably. Finding a delicate balance between the need to spread awareness and any sensitivities around real-life stories /making sure that the topic is featured via the appropriate channels is key to any successful PR campaign focusing on a sensitive subject matter!

If you would like some help on how to address a sensitive subject then please get in touch.

The power of positive PR reviews

Consumers are becoming increasingly sceptical of traditional forms of advertising and marketing. Instead, they would rather buy into businesses through a recommendation which feels genuine and authentic.

Positive reviews within the media can offer your businesses the opportunity to connect with customers or audiences on a more personal level and gain their trust. Each review is a form of promotion, as it exposes your business’ name, product, or service to its readers – thus increasing their awareness of who you are and what you have to offer.

A glowing review within a newspaper, magazine, online, or on the TV and Radio, is extremely powerful, as it has the power to reach large audiences and encourage people to invest time and money into your business.

Not only can this positive coverage help to elevate your reputation and bring new customers to your door, but it can also improve your search rankings online, spark ‘word of mouth’, and allow you to communicate with audiences that you have struggled to reach before – making it an integral part of your marketing and communications strategy!

But how can this be achieved? Here we give you an insight into the world of PRs, and how they are able to benefit your business by generating positive reviews within the media:


To achieve a flattering review for your business, product, or service, it is vital to communicate with the right type of journalist – at the right type of media title.

PRs spend a lot of time building and maintaining strong relationships with journalists, learning what they want in terms of news, topics, and products, and delivering it to them in the right way. So, when a new business comes on board and needs their profile raising, PRs can leverage these strong relationships to capture the interest of journalists, communicate the business’ key messages and, ultimately, deliver positive, high impact review coverage.

For example, last year The PHA Group was employed by the global home appliance manufacturer, SharkNinja, to help raise awareness of the new Ninja Coffee Bar. To achieve this goal, we reached out to our vast list of media contacts and invited them to a ‘Coffee Morning’ event in London where they could try out the Ninja Coffee Bar for themselves. The event saw 60 high profile journalists in attendance and, as a result, generated over 60 positive reviews – in titles such as the Daily Mail, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan,, Red Online, Mail Online, Stylist Online, Harper’s Bazaar Online, Look, Now and The Sun on Sunday.


Offering the media, the chance to experience your brand first hand is another great PR technique, if carried out appropriately and correctly. By offering journalists the chance to trial a product or service, PRs can introduce a business to journalists in a more personalised way, ensuring that it will be at the forefront of their minds going forward.

Of course, any review given by a journalist will be based on their personal opinions and experiences, which can never be controlled by a brand or a PR! What we can do is understand in advance what information the journalist needs, or what experience they are expecting, and ensure that this is delivered during the trial so that they have everything they need, and have had the best possible experience of the brand, when writing up their review.

For example, last year the revolutionary food and nutrition app, EDO, approached The PHA Group and asked us to help drive more app downloads, by generating positive reviews within the media. To achieve this, we approached selected media to offer them a trial of the app. During these trials our team provided each journalist with a step-by-step guide on EDO, helping them to understand how to use the app to unlock nutritional information about the foods they were consuming.

Because of this personalised experience, we managed to generate over 20 positive reviews for the app over a short three-month period – across influential titles such as the Mail Online, Notebook, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Metro, London Evening Standard and Woman’s Own. The Mail Online alone article generated over 2,000 downloads in just one day and the Cosmopolitan piece led to 900 downloads after a week of publication!


‘Creativity’ is a skill that PRs frequently use to create a buzz around their client’s product, brand, or service. Cooking up fresh and creative ideas by ‘thinking outside the box’ can help to capture the media’s attention.

For example, to announce the launch the Zyliss Control Knives we organised an experiential event which invited the media to take part in a ‘Cutting Edge Masterclass’, where attendees were able to brush up on their chopping skills and try out the new knives. The event was held at L’Atelier De Chefs on Wigmore Street and to provide an additional draw for the media we arranged for celebrity face Nadia Sawalha to host on the day. The masterclass saw an attendance of 20 key journalists which then resulted in 29 pieces of positive review coverage for the new launch including Daily Mirror, Daily Mail Weekend, Daily Star Sunday, My Weekly, Your Home, Prima online and Good Housekeeping online.



Working with celebrities, influencers and bloggers is another popular PR tactic which can help to boost awareness of a business and drive sales, through positive reviews.

Whether they are posting about a service on social media, being photographed using a branded product, or attending an event – these influential personalities can help to shine a light on a business by bringing it to the attention of their fans and followers.

Before working with influential personalities, PRs will identify which personalities would be a good fit for the business and who would be able to communicate the business’ key messages with the right audiences.

Using this approach, at The PHA Group, we recently hosted an event to introduce key digital influencers to the new Simply Straight from JML Direct. Over 20 reputable influencers, including – The Collyer Twins, Made in Chelsea’s Nicola Hughes, The Fashion Rubix and Talented Lex – were invited to attend a special evening event held at the ME Hotel’s Personality Suite. At the event, attendees were welcomed by celebrity hairstylist Darren Ambrose who provided one-on-one styling sessions, using the Simply Straight, throughout the evening. The event led to over 30 reviews of the Simply Straight product across the influencers’ websites and social media channels and because of this coverage, the Simply Straight product was ranked on page 1 of Google for the key search term ‘hair straightening brush’ for over 6 months.


Online Reputation Management: Complete guide to your online brand

The most ‘on-point’ fashion and beauty influencer campaigns of 2017

With brands working with influencers in bigger and better ways than ever before, from designing collections to fronting a movement, we look back on the most impactful influencer campaigns from the fashion and beauty world in 2017…

In The Style – ITSsarah

Set up in 2013, In The Style is an example of a UK brand whose success has been driven by the Instagram-shopper, as a result, the amount of influencers they work with has increased. Already part of the reality-star collaboration bandwagon, with collections from Made in Chelsea’s Binky Felstead and Geordie Shore’s Charlotte Crosby, in 2017 they shifted to work with their first blogger – Sarah Ashcroft.

In The Style understand realise how effective influencers can be. Their customers are teenagers and young women who have grown up in the generation where bloggers, YouTubers and Instagram stars carry as much gravitas as a movie star and therefore signing up their first influencer they are cashing in on a huge trend which is only set to grow.

By choosing a high-profile influencer like Sarah Ashcroft to design a clothing range, In The Style have tapped into exactly what their young customers admire and want to emulate. Her Instagram bio reads ‘Doing It For the Gram’, which could pretty much be 2017’s mantra, and intrinsically tie in with In The Style’s Instagram-focused PR strategy.

By coining a hashtag – #ITSsarah – which to date, has just shy of 2,000 posts, In The Style has cemented themselves as a brand who knows how to work with influencers, and we expect big things from them in 2018.

Boden – Wear It Like A Mum

Sometimes when we hear the word ‘influencer’, particularly in relation to fashion, we tend to think of the Sarah Ashcroft’s of this world. However, influencer marketing is a strategy many brands are and should be embracing, whatever their customer profile. In their ‘Wear It Like a Mum’ campaign, Boden worked with a different kind of influencer, those who are Mums, taking the phrase ‘dressing like a Mum’, and turning it on his head.

Boden worked with a range of influencers on this campaign, highlighting amazing women with great style who just happen to be Mums too. This included women such as Anna aka Mother Pukka – a feisty blogger whose blog is her full-time job, but also influencers such as Clemmie from Mother of Daughters who still retains her job as a midwife.

What we love about Boden’s ‘Wear It Like A Mum’ campaign is the positive vibes, the strong team of influencers they have recruited and the fact that the idea isn’t just about the clothes – its messaging transcends further than this, which makes it memorable.

In today’s world there is a such a vast range of influencers out there – for some this is their full-time job, some juggle their Instagram with their work and others regard it as a hobby. It’s therefore important never to discredit working with different influencers – dependent on your brand, your campaign and objectives, influencer marketing will work in different ways for you.

The Gypsy Shrine – Micro-influencers

Influencer marketing comes in many different forms – whether that is recruiting a high-profile blogger, a squad of ambassadors or engaging with lots of micro-influencers. One brand who has been particularly on form with micro-influencers, is glitter beauty brand, The Gypsy Shrine.

Micro-influencers are an extremely valuable tool. Their followers are often highly engaged, respect their opinion and care what they have to say.  Not only this, they can help with brand awareness, and their images can be reposted as great content on your own I.G feed.

Festival fashion and beauty has undergone many different trends over the years, but what has seemed to stick from 2016 onwards is glitter (quite literally – you find it lurking at the bottom of your bag weeks after the event). The Gypsy Shrine’s glitter is relatively low value, meaning it will be at practically zero cost price to send out far and wide to a band of make-up artists, creative Instagrammers and people who love being #extra. Their Instagram feed is repost-after-repost of crazy and beautiful glittered-up looks – it is definitely a millennial brand who know how to market their products!

⚡️Christmas Party GOALS!⚡️ @ginimisselbrook wearing our Chunky Silver + Gold Glitters applied using Paw Paw ✨ All available online ✨ Link in bio to shop! ✨ Top from @claudiapink #ChristmasGlitter

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Sleek Make-up – #myfacemyrules

In 2017, make-up brand Sleek launched their #myfacemyrules campaign, designed to celebrate individualism and uniqueness with a love of make-up at its core. The campaign kicked off with a powerful video featuring a cast of makeup lovers, from medical students to professional make-up artists, along with the hashtag #myfacemyrules.

Whilst this campaign video didn’t feature influencers, Sleek got it right by starting a movement and coining a hashtag people can jump on. This includes the everyday make-up enthusiast and the influencers they have worked with since. Sleek have led the way by showing how an overarching campaign idea, encompassing advertising and PR, can incorporate influencer marketing. With a powerful memorable message underlying all activity, influencers and Instagram-users alike want to show they are part of this exciting movement.

Missguided – #MakeYourMark

2017 has been the year of body positivity, and with this, the rise of body positivity influencers pledges to not re-touch models and more diversity in fashion campaigns. Although we are almost at the end of the year, Missguided snuck in at the eleventh hour and wowed us with their brand new #MakeYourMark campaign.

This fashion e-tailer has made a pledge not to retouch any of their model’s ‘imperfections’ – to quote: ‘We’re on a mission to inspire babes the world over that love themselves, for themselves, to embrace your flaws, and to not strive for what the world perceives as perfection’.

To launch the campaign, Missguided has recruited a bunch of sassy girls, of a range of different shapes, sizes and skin tones, with one thing in common – that they love their bodies and want women to do the same.

Including influencers such as Emily of @darth-bador, who promotes self-love and appreciation, and Sam of @fattyboomtatty who is all about the self-confidence, Missguided can only be praised for this campaign (our favourite of the year). We have a little inkling that the body positivity movement is only going to go from strength to strength next year and hopefully more brands will adopt this thinking when it comes to their influencer marketing in 2018.


Top 5 Christmas Consumer PR Campaigns

With the festive season upon us, it’s time to look back at some of the best Christmas campaigns from over the years. As we all know, as soon as December hits, people switch into panic mode over presents, cooking and festive

Photo by on Unsplash

decorations. Brands capitalise, hoping to engage and excite customers with their festive campaigns. A report published by National Building Society stated that £77.6bn was spent last Christmas. Brands are willing to spend millions each year on their Christmas campaigns, hoping to secure a healthy return on investment.

So, without further ado; here are our top five Christmas consumer campaigns

  • Coca-Cola

Red trucks swiftly moving through a snowy landscape, lighting up towns as they go. Such a simple idea but an idea which has stayed in the minds of consumers all around the world for years. The iconic ‘Holidays are coming’ advert, launched back in 1995. For many people the festive season doesn’t start until they see the Coca-Cola advert, that’s quite an impression to have over consumers.

The Coca-Cola Christmas truck tour is also back this year, to hand out free goodies to fans up and down the UK. The hashtag #holidaysarecoming has already amassed 330,000 posts on Instagram. Coca-Cola has shown that its brand can adapt from the 1920’s to almost 100 years later ever evolving with new trends and apply them to their marketing strategies.

  • John Lewis

Over the last ten years, John Lewis Christmas campaigns have become a staple part of our festive season. Never afraid to splash the cash, with the first Christmas campaign in the John Lewis collection costing £6m. By creating popular and memorable campaigns it has had a direct influence on sales. The long wait campaign in 2011 reached half a million views in its first 24 hours. That Christmas saw sales up 9.3% year on year in the five weeks prior to December.

The following year saw an even bigger upsurge in sales, with a massive 44.3% increase thanks to the snowpeople in love campaign which helped John Lewis break into the £800m mark in sales.

  • Sainsburys

Not known traditionally for their Christmas campaigns or in the league as Coca-Cola or John Lewis, but Christmas 2014 was Sainsbury’s year. Inspired by teaming up with the Royal British Legion they retold the story of the Christmas day football match. The almost four-minute-long campaign recreates one of the most famous moments of the first world war.

The supermarket shows the tale of the Christmas day peace in the trenches, a moving and very human story focused on the infamous football match in no man’s land. A young British solider passes on a chocolate gift to his German equal, which then leads to the end message ‘Christmas is for sharing’.

All proceeds that were made from the £1 chocolate bar advertised in the campaign, were donated to the Royal British Legion.

Another hit produced from Sainsbury’s which exceeded all expectations is ‘Mog’s Christmas Calamity’, the 2015 campaign reached over 38 million views on YouTube. With many claiming that Sainsbury’s campaign blew John Lewis’s out of the water for 2015.

  • McDonalds

McDonald’s has been picking up momentum each year with their creative campaigns. In 2017 they’ve created the #ReindeerReady campaign.

The brand tells the story of a young girl on a shopping trip with her father who is saving a McDonald’s carrot stick to give to Santa’s reindeer. But when they return home, her sibling points out that one carrot won’t feed Santa’s army of reindeers, and so they travel back to McDonald’s to get more carrot sticks.

The fast-food brand is hoping similar success to last year, which delivered an increase in sales and brand awareness.

Emily Somers, VP of marketing and food development at McDonald’s goes on to say “We’ve been selling carrot sticks for more than 10 years in our restaurants, it’s something we’ve always done. And it’s absolutely on point with the [wider] message around Christmas”.

  • Heathrow

The nations favourite teddy bears return to our screen this Christmas for part two of Heathrow’s Christmas campaign. Last Christmas we were introduced to Doris and Edward Bair. The campaign tracks two bears as they land at Heathrow airport, go through passport control and walk through arrivals, waiting patiently for someone to claim them. At the end of the commercial the Bair’s transform into elderly adults and it shows that they have been greeted by their grandchildren.

This year it takes a more detailed look at the Bair’s life together with the motto ‘Fly to someone, not just somewhere’



Influencer Handbook

There’s no doubt that online influencers are becoming an ever stronger presence in modern marketing. They have huge social followings and dedicated fans willing to emulate their every move. Any business can surely see the merit in harnessing these individuals that wield such power over such a large audience. However in practice this is not as simple as it first appears and we often hear the same questions time and time again.

How do you determine who has the strongest voice for your brand? How should you target them and how do you establish a relationship that will stand the test of time?

We’ve compiled some useful insights to help you navigate the world of online influencers and build relationships that will have a real impact on your business.


Instagram influencers

In today’s age we are bombarded by choice. So it’s not surprise that online influencers hold a lot of power in validating our decisions. These are real people who we trust and respect, a vital tool in marketing a product given that their opinions can, and do, impact the behaviour of their amassed followers.

So how can we use this power effectively? Surely with the most powerful influencers commanding audiences of millions and reports that word of mouth recommendations generate double the sales of standard advertising it would be hard to go wrong.

However, harnessing the power that these influencers have is more difficult than meets the eye. The value these influencers hold is inextricably wrapped up in their authenticity and careless capitalising will quickly snuff this value out. It’s a tricky balance to master, so here are our top tips on how you can influence successfully.



For the first time ever the FTC has personally reached out to influencers and celebrities to remind them of their duty to disclose their “material connection” with the brands of products promoted across their social media. So what does this mean for apps such as Instagram?



In an increasingly digital world, where our reactions to brands and products are becoming all the more immediate, there is no greater marketing tool than the celebrity endorsement.

Whether it’s a TV star or an Instagram influencer, we look to these figures to dictate what we wear, what we eat, how we decorate our homes and so much more.

Rather than the occasional TV advert, platforms such as Instagram allow us to see and emulate what products celebrities are using in their day to day life – the ultimate endorsement for any product.

Seeing your favourite health blogger smiling statically, clutching a blender on a TV advert or billboard might not be that inspiring. Seeing that same blogger using said blender to make their breakfast 7 days a week, whilst singing its praises, is much more likely to have you forking out for one quicker than you can say ‘Amazon Prime’.



Instagram Influencers

With the ever-increasing power of online influencers, as a PR agency it is crucial we know how to maximise on influencer relationships so that we can generate opportunities for our clients.

A strong relationship with a respected influencer and positive blog reviews can be a great way of increasing brand credibility, raising brand awareness, driving sales and increasing an online presence.

To get the inside scoop first hand, we interviewed three of the UK’s top lifestyle influencers, to talk targeted approaches, PR turn offs and best practice for PRs.


How to Brief a PR Agency

So you’ve decided you need PR support and you’ve come up with a shortlist of great agencies that you think might be able to help you.

It’s a common misconception that this is where your prospective PR agencies should take over the process, creating inspiring proposals bursting with creative ideas so that you can make an informed decision.

Whilst this should certainly be the case, a PR agency proposal can really only be as good as the brief provided by you. To really hit the mark the agency must truly understand your brand and exactly what you want to achieve as a business.

To help you cover all your bases we’ve put together a printable guide to make sure you provide your prospective agency with everything they need to come up with an award-winning proposal.


The Fashion Minefield

Celebrity Designers: How to Avoid a Fashion Faux Pas

Catwalk Fashion Vogue - Designer Celebrity Clothing

Personal brand is integral to the success of celebrity fashion lines and it must be delivered with consistency and credibility. That way, when we get dressed we can think to ourselves, Rihanna would totally wear this. When we’re buying celebrity, we’re not buying clothes, we’re buying a lifestyle. Even if this lifestyle remains solely aspirational these micro-expressions make up a huge part of how we see ourselves. With these ambitions, celebrity fashion has the potential and influence to eclipse fully trained designers. This worrying trend was noted in Vice’s i-D after Kanye West’s initial launch;

“It’s not Prada or nada for the mass consumer of fashion. Instead, they choose to buy into something that they can’t be, and those celebrity-endorsed products give them the power to do just thatWho cares about a new hemline or silhouette if you can look like Kanye West?

 So, with the celebrity fashion market set to look more successful than ever, we’ve taken a look at the business of personal branding & clothing design and what is required for any longevity to be achieved.

Kanye West Yeezy Season 4 Fashion Catwalk

Image Courtesy of; Yeezy Season 4

A celebrity’s personal brand needs to match their products; however, this can be a fine line to tread. The clothing must reflect the individual’s personality without being overshadowed by. This is a practice that Mary-Kate and Ashely Olsen have managed perfectly. Their brand is obviously designed by them, reflective of their well-known bohemian style, yet they take the back seat and let the clothes speak for themselves. This has won them many favours and allowed them to be taken more seriously in the fashion biz. Fashion is a notoriously hard industry to crack, they do not take well to imposters, so any celebrity wanting to expand into fashion must be authentic and committed in its delivery.

This is perhaps the biggest pitfall of celebrity clothing lines, relying on your status to drive sales and engagement, without being particularly engaged yourself. Perhaps the oddest example of this was demonstrated by Katherine Heigl. After her success on Grey’s Anatomy, she chose to release a set of special edition scrubs… they are interesting to say the least. Coming in a range of curious patterns and colours, they offered little innovation, and as is so often the case with celebrity designers, it’s highly likely the first and only contact that Katherine Heigl had with them was during the promo shoot.

Katherine Heigl Scrubs Collection Medical

Image Courtesy of;


The line was cancelled after 30 days (although it lingers in various corners of the web), and made those involved look foolish and unfortunately rather unfashionable. Perhaps if Katherine Heigl was actually a doctor then the line would’ve held more weight, but without this qualification the scrubs became little more than ineffective merchandise.

If you want to sell your product to people, then some sort of insider knowledge or understanding is required. We’re not talking rocket science, just an indication that you’re in touch with your customer base and what it wants. What Katherine Heigl lacked, Jessica Simpson is a fine example of. She represents a brilliant example of strong personal branding and an honest approach to fashion design. Sure, her clothes aren’t on the cutting-edge, but neither is most of the population of America. Jessica Simpson represents the normal woman and the ‘middle Americans’; in doing so she has managed to tap into a market which puts yearly revenue at $1 billion. From her days as Daisy Duke, to her media-scrutinised weight fluctuations and her transition to motherhood, she is an ‘everywoman’. In channeling this personal brand, she has managed to create clothes that the average woman can feel comfortable and confident in – a far cry from the often alienating and inaccessible cultures of most global fashion houses.

Lunge your bunz into @macys and get The Warm Up by @jessicasimpsonstyle #macysexclusive

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However, there is a new gap in the market that allows celebrities to become involved in fashion, at a much lower rate of risk. The rise of athleisure has presented the prime opportunity for celebrities to jump on the fashion bandwagon, and under the guise of ‘streetwear’ they can shy away from much critique from the fashion execs. Fashion houses longstanding distain for leisurewear is eroding, but in the meantime a whole host of individuals could create lines without the scrutiny from fashion watchdogs, who often brand such collections as ‘boring and uninventive’. These include the wildly successful Pharrell Williams x Adidas collection, Rhianna for Puma and Beyoncé’s Ivy Park. It seems athleisure is here to stay; perhaps this will carve out a space in the market so every (half-decent) celebrity fashion line can thrive, without stepping on too many toes.

#Supercolor @adidasoriginals ⚡️

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Top 10 Food Blogs 2016

The food blogging community has grown hugely in recent years and is becoming an increasingly saturated market, so how do you stand out from the crowd? We take a look at 10 of the most interesting and innovative, and what they do that earns them a special place in our hearts, and stomachs.

The Art of Plating

Bio: The Art of Plating does what it says on the tin, although there is certainly nothing on this blog that can be conjured from a tin. Their blog is a holy grail of Michelin-level insights, reviews and tips, paired beautifully with an Instagram album devoted to precision and design in cooking.

Egg, phyllo dough, goats cheese, lardons, spring onions, peas, and basil aioli by @chef_palooza #TheArtOfPlating

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Why we love it: Involving finesse and very steady hand from start to finish, this blog captures the aesthetic of modern culinary culture and lends a little inspiration to any brave home cooks looking to elevate their plates.

Eat like a Girl

Bio: Niamh is living our dream, travelling the world, eating fantastic food, reviewing and curating recipes and keeping it all down to earth, so it’s palatable to even the newest of foodies.

All about the broth this week and gorgeous soups. Today's lunch was a roast chicken, pea and bacon soup with garlic croutons. The base of it was a beautiful chicken broth made with raw bones, lots of veg, garlic and wild white peppercorns. I am finding comfort in the kitchen this week. I hope you are too!

A post shared by Niamh 🍴🍳🍜✈️ (@eatlikeagirl) on

Why we love it: Niamh has covered every conceivable topic, country, cuisine and dietary requirement in the book, and she does it all with the same enthusiasm, simplicity and beautiful imagery in every post.


Bio: LondonFixr is a recent innovation in restaurant concierge services in London. Headed up by Mikey Williams, a London-based student, they provide bespoke restaurant recommendations and a food blog to die for.


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Why we love it: They do the hard work for us, a few minutes scrolling through their latest Instagram posts produces enough options to cater for every birthday dinner you can dream of, imagine what they can find when it’s personalised to you.

Symmetry Breakfast

Bio: An oldie in blogger years, but definitely still a goodie! Mark and Michaels breakfasts haven’t faltered over the years, and neither has our interest in them.

Monday: Friar's Omelette, a Scottish recipe by Lady Forbes was first published in 1910. A sweet omelette with sticky apples. I've finished mine with some yoghurt and seeds and a cup of tea 🌟 #noscottishflagemoji —————————- You've got just less than two hours to bid on my auction prize (and many others) to raise money for @rarecharity so be quick and take a peek! 😘😘😘😘

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Why we love it: They provide endless variation and inspiration, from open faced smorgasbord to shakshuka or the humble pancake, and they’re involved with some really brilliant campaigns like #CookForSyria.

Boxed Ideas & Naomi Twigden 

Bio: Naomi and Anna founded food delivery start-up ‘Lunch Bxd’ in 2014, where they provided healthy and delicious lunches delivered to your desk. Naomi has gone on to create breathtakingly vibrant but balanced recipes, both for her own cookbook and a number of well known brands. She displays these on her personal blog, and on BoxedIdeas with Anna.

Roasting a few aubergines with chickpeas, miso and ginger makes an easy base for packed lunch for the week (serve with baby spinach, herbs, nuts and tofu) 🍆 #recipe #aubergine #miso #salad #aldesko #vegetarian #packedlunch #mealprep #wholesome #nourish #healthy #tofu #vegan

A post shared by Anna & Naomi (@bxdideas) on

Why we love it: Anna and Naomi show us how to fall in love with vegetables and make the most of our packed lunches, with a focus on using up leftover or unloved ingredients. Great for punchy lunches you can throw together in no time at all.

Maja Vase  

Bio: Maja Vase, or the aptly named @majachocolate on Instagram, is a Danish blogger with a flair for the fancy. You may have to get Google to do the legwork on some translating, but it is so worth it to get involved in her gorgeous creations.

Cherry liquorice love! 🍒 Hit the '❤️' if you'd like a taste! (And find the recipe on my blog both in Danish and English!)

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Why we love it: Normally when you see an immaculately presented cake that looks too good to be true, it is. The image sits there in front of you tantalisingly with no guide to how you might replicate this in your own home. Maja is the godsend that lets you have your cake and eat it.

Top With Cinnamon

Bio: Izy Hossack is a 19 year old Londoner whose blog is jam packed full of delightfully colourful healthy and alternative recipes. Whether it’s eggless cookie dough ice cream, or steamed mussels with a black bean, coconut and ginger broth, Izy wows in her recipes, photographs and some really satisfying gifs.

Smoky, burnt eggplant on a bed of garlic-tahini yogurt drizzled with pomegranate molasses and coriander oil. 🔥#🍆🌱 Oh and don't forget the sprinkling of pistachios and pomegranate seeds!! This is perfect when scooped up with a warm flatbread 😍 The recipe is inspired by @kimpton's culinary & cocktails trend forecast for 2017 . Find the recipe via link in profile or on my blog (👌🏽 #ad #CCTrend

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Why we love it: She’s created a blog that is everything we could hope it to be; fun, informative, easy to follow and a visual delight.

Serious Eats

Bio: Serious Eats works from a ‘science of home cooking’ angle, here Ed Levine, Kenji Lopez & Co. have employed this technique to incredible effect, allowing Serious Eats to become the self-proclaimed “world’s most trusted authority on deliciousness”.

Great #carneasada should taste, first, of the beef. It should be buttery, rich, and juicy, with a nice charred, smoky flavor from the #grill or broiler. It should also be tender enough that you can eat it in a taco or burrito, but substantial enough to be served as a steak and eaten with a knife and fork. Finally, the marinade should have a good balance of flavors, with no single ingredient overwhelming any other. Get the #recipe for #TheFoodLab's carne asada at #SeriousEats (search "carne asada" at the link in our bio). #CookTheFoodLab

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Why we love it: Their guidance on techniques, as well as recipes, is something invaluable to any blossoming chef. Articles range from how to make the perfect omelette, to a complete guide on cooking lobster, and having tried and tested plenty we can confirm, they’re never wrong.

We Are Food

Bio: Anna Jones writes for the Guardian, the Pool and runs her own blog. She’s been a food stylist for Ottolenghi and Jamie Oliver, where she first entered the world of food.

B A K E D / Baked apple porridge with almonds, warming spice and cashew butter and maple cream in today's @guardian_cook. It's a warming weekend porridge that's good enough to eat for pudding.

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Why we love it: Vegetables are the centre of her world and table, and she makes us want to replicate this. Her commitment to healthy eating and living is infectious and delicious.

Clerkenwell Boy

Bio: Business Insider named him London’s top food Instagram star, and we’re inclined to agree. A blog celebrating what London’s food scene has to offer, the mysterious Clerkenwell Boy gives an insight into culinary delights found anywhere from pop-ups to Michelin Star instiutions.

Blown away by everyone's kindness and support – tonight's #CookForSyria x SHALOM charity pop-up dinner @salon_brixton by @nicholasbalfe was fully packed from wall to wall, and the food was just so thoughtful and delicious 🔥🍖🍃🍒🙏 || To find out how to get involved, simply follow @cookforsyria or hit up (link in my bio) 😘 #CookForSyriaRecipeBook

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Why we love it: His seemingly insatiable appetite provides us with a steady stream of a-grade content, and all within a stones throw from the office, lunchtime travel made worthwhile.

Maximising the blogger

With the ever-increasing influence of bloggers, as PRs it is crucial we know how to maximise on the blogger/PR relationship and that review opportunities are utilised to our client’s advantage in every way possible.

A strong relationship with a respected blogger and positive blog reviews can be a great way of raising brand awareness, driving sales and increasing an online presence.

To get the inside scoop first hand, we interviewed renowned life and style blogger What Lizzy Loves, to talk targeted approaches, PR turn offs and best practice for PRs. Lizzy’s advice is invaluable and highlights the importance of a targeted approach, considering whether your brand is a good fit before contacting bloggers and how to entice bloggers to events.

What Lizzy Loves, blogger

How do you like to be approached by PRs?

I like to receive a well-worded and well thought out email that shows the PR has read my blog and not just inserted its name. I have lost count of the number of emails beginning “Dear What” as though What Lizzy Loves is my name.


What do you look for when it comes to brand partnerships?

The brand (or product) must be a good and authentic fit with my blog and my style. I look at the brand ethos and for example, wouldn’t work with a company that uses real fur or exotic animal skins. I look to see if the collaboration will be mutually beneficial. After all, it is a working relationship and a blog post takes anything up to 4 hours to write, edit, photograph and promote afterwards.

I also look at the potential for longer-term and ongoing partnerships too. It’s something that is appealing to me.

That being said, I am always willing to support small businesses, particularly other working mothers like me, without wanting anything in return- just being part of a supportive community is reward enough in these circumstances.

blogger, blogs, what lizzy loves

Image courtesy of: Luis Llerena,

How do you distinguish between paid for/non paid for content on your blog and social media channels?

On my blog, I identify gifted products with an asterisk which leads to the disclaimer that states that the items were gifted. If the content is sponsored I write “This blog post has been written in collaboration with…” or “This is a sponsored post”. I must be honest and say that I don’t do this on Instagram- I really must start!

Is there anything that puts you off working with certain PRs/brands?

Often, a PR will approach me to work with them – usually involving a product review. On those occasions where I think it is acceptable to ask for a fee, I do so and send the relevant fee structure plus my media kit. In very many cases, I don’t get a response to this. This puts me off entering any further correspondence should they approach again in another instance.

I find it strange too that a PR will approach and then tell me there is no budget for a collaboration. The brand is paying a PR company so it should therefore expect to pay a blogger for their input. No brands or PRs should expect anyone to work for nothing, after all, they aren’t! Clothes and handbags are lovely, but unfortunately, they don’t pay the mortgage!

blogger, what lizzy loves, blogs

Image courtesy of: João Silas,

What is the strangest request you have ever received from a PR?

The strangest one was fairly recently and I was asked to remove all links from my blog from a well-known brand that I wear, love and feature regularly, for the purposes of Google. I have never collaborated with this brand, I simply linked to the item so my readers could find it. It has really made me think twice about ordering from that particular website again and certainly about linking to their products.

Do you ever directly approach brands you would like to work with?

Yes I do and on these occasions would never ask for a fee. It is usually if I have seen an item that I genuinely love and desire and feel I could promote well. Again, it comes down to mutual benefits. If someone is kind enough to respond to my request, then I will do everything I can to promote that product.

What do you feel makes for a good blogger/Press event and what entices you to attend?

The opportunity to meet the team or a celebrity is always enticing as is the opportunity to get, for example, a manicure or treatment. A glass of fizz or cocktails and canapes works for me every time as does a goody bag or a gift from the brand! Help towards travel costs in return for a blog post or social media coverage is always nice too.

blogger, what lizzy loves, blogs

Image courtesy of: Alex Holyoake,

Do you ever post negative reviews and if so, how do you manage the relationship with the PR or brand?

I don’t post negative reviews, but if something doesn’t work for me I will email the PR or brand and give honest feedback and let them know why. In those circumstances, I offer to return the item.

What made you start your blog?

I was approaching my 40th birthday and had a desire to write about my evolving style. I have always loved clothes and accessories as well as a having love for writing and sharing. A lot of friends ask for style advice and suggested that I set up a personal shopping service which I did consider, but decided in the end to start my blog.

Which social media channels do you find most engage your followers?

Instagram. It’s my favourite social media channel and is the one I put the most into.  It’s quick and easy to comment on other accounts and to reply to comments on my own. I could get lost for hours scrolling through other accounts!

Do you have any advice to budding bloggers?

Always always be authentic, be honest and be yourself.

Try to find a niche or a USP- easier said than done though!

Use apps to help schedule your social media and make sure you have the same username and avatar across all social media.

Enjoy it but be prepared to put in a lot of work. Much more than non-bloggers would believe!

Understand that it becomes rather addictive and sometimes takes over your life!

blogger, what lizzy loves, interview, blog

Image courtesy of: Toa Heftiba,





How to be Famous

Tactics used by celebrities and their PR’s to stay in the limelight

By Andy Michael

The world of celebrity and what it means to be ‘famous’ has become a lot harder to define of late. Back in the day, being a ‘celebrity’ was more about your craft and your critical and commercial reputation. As a result, the real stars stood out and glistened, and audiences willingly brought into and embraced the shiny Hollywood veneer.

Today, largely thanks to cable TV (with oh so many channels to choose from), social media creating its own influencers left, right and centre and a hell of a lot of reality TV, there’s quite an over-saturation of so-called ‘celebrities’ all vying for column inches.

And, as an audience, we’ve grown a little…cynical. We can spot what’s staged managed from a mile away. But whilst some celebs brazenly flaunt their ‘fame engineering’ (inviting the cameras and the world’s eyes into their living room is often why they’re ‘famous’ in the first place!) or in many cases, don’t do a very good job of keeping their self-promotional orchestrations discreet, there are others who know exactly how to play the game…

  • The ‘Match made in heaven’

Another week, another story about Taylor Swift and her new man of the moment Tom Hiddleston. A far cry from the happy glory days of public handholding in far flung locations and slogan vests proclaiming undying love, rumour has it there’s trouble in paradise. If reports from ‘insiders’ are to be believed Swift is uncomfortable with Hiddleston’s desire to be so public about their relationship, concerned that this little known British actor might be using her to piggy back into the spotlight.

You. don’t. say.

Whether it’s the case for Swift and Hiddleston it’s undeniable that being photographed in the company of someone else who has a bigger household profile is a common self-promotional tactic undertaken by those wanting to climb their way up the fame ladder. Most notably, in a romantic context.

How many celebrities can we think of who first stepped onto the scene and gained prominence as a romantic attachment to someone else way more famous than them? Liz Hurley, Amanda Holden, Nick Canon, Amber Rose, Scott Disick, Chrissy Teigan…Plenty, is the answer. And you can find further examples where the ‘newbie’ on the block has ultimately become more famous than the celebrity they were originally photographed with in the first place.

Chrissy Teigen, John Legend, Celebrity, Fame

Image Courtesy of ABC Television Group,

On the more sordid end of the spectrum you only need to look at the number of kiss and tells and sex tapes to see that ‘romantic’ involvement with a celebrity can attract a lot of media attention and propel someone relatively unknown into their own spotlight, their own reality TV show, and even their own development deals. Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian have created multi-million dollar brand empires out of their videoed intimate exploits!

  • The ‘Stolen Moment’

When a celebrity or high-profile individual wants to make a statement (perhaps ‘subtly’ showing off a new engagement ring, a pregnancy bump, flaunting their weight loss or a fantastic bikini shot) but doesn’t want to liaise with the media directly and publicise the fact that they are manufacturing a potential photo opportunity, it is quite common for them to engineer a snatch photo. This minimises the ‘obviousness’ whilst giving them their ‘look at me moment’ when they’re vacationing in the Hamptons, St Bart’s or enjoying a romantic stroll around Venice (ahem Kim)…and of course, it secures them coverage and keeps their profile resonant in the media!

Kim Kardashian and Kanye paparazzi famous

Image courtesy of Alexis,

So how do they do it?

Some individuals will directly tip off the paparazzi, a national newspaper or a picture agency themselves and share in the profit that the picture makes. For a bit of rehearsed posing, it can cover the cost of their holiday!

The sensible celebs, however, will consult their celebrity publicists. With their know-how, they can negotiate a split on fees with photographers, perhaps a 50/50 deal for whatever money is generated for syndication of the picture taken.

This is why celebrity PRs are so important.

A professional, respected and well-connected celebrity PR firm will have pre-existing relationships with picture desks and pap agencies and sometimes discreetly step in to negotiate these photo opportunities on behalf of their celebrity clients. The good celebrity PR firms not only have the clout to negotiate a handsome fee, but they can sometimes pull off picture approval too, giving the ‘papped’ celebrity license to see the pictures of themselves in advance before publication to make sure the pics are suitably flattering. And, providing the pics suit the wants and needs of the celebrity, who says they have to be flattering? Call me sceptical, but exactly how many TOWIE stars have we seen pictured in the Balearics ‘eating away their heartache’ with a giant burger stuck in their mouths? The answer is: enough to suggest that many are clued into the fact that the next weight-loss DVD deal is waiting just around the corner.

Charloitte Crosby before and after fitness DVD

Image courtesy of Rizwanul Haque,

  • The ‘Gift Experience’

Celebrity gifting and brand partnering are also win – wins for celebrities. They get to boost their style stock, look great and earn plenty of kudos for doing so in the press. They also save themselves some pennies just by striking such a deal with a fashion or lifestyle brand. Instead of shelling out thousands of pounds for the latest must-have dress, they can be supplied one by a top designer in return for a tweet or wearing at an event where they’re likely to be photographed. The celeb gets to keep a high-value product, doesn’t have to pay for it and they get themselves in the press looking fantastic on the Red Carpet. And the designer piggybacks on the free PR.  It’s not just the celebrities that get the exposure.

Anna Kendrick Red Carpet

Image courtesy of ABC Television Group,

Think about this year’s Oscar goody-bags and how many press mentions the contributors got too. This form of promotional activity involving celebrities can also be further extended, formalised and monetized by way of a brand extension opportunity, like an endorsement/licensing deal or brand ambassador appointment. Depending on how many hours the celebrity is putting in, the value of the potential sponsor and the impetus behind / resources invested in a particular campaign, celebs can earn mega bucks from brand partnerships. The likes of David Beckham and Beyoncé have earned hundreds of millions by way of plugging haircare products, fragrances, underwear, grooming essentials…the list is endless.

READ MORE: 4 of the Weirdest Celebrity and Brand Partnerships

However, despite this (seemingly) mutually beneficial relationship between celeb and social media the celebrity in question still needs to be mindful. There’s a fine line on platforms like Twitter and no one wants to end up becoming a tacky marketing tool and puppet for a C-List clothing brand. Yes, celebrities should honour the terms of their arrangement and plug their gift donors if they’re accepting what they’re being offered, but there is such thing as overkill.

Have had a mad busy week and bank holiday, and Ive bailed on about four scheduled gym sessions 🙈🙈 …sometimes you have to listen to what your body wants and give in. I'm chuffed with a day of admin and copious amounts of trash tv, plus I have my @flattummytea to rid me of all this lazy guilt !

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Louise Thompson Instagram comments


In 2011, a high profile soap star was given a formal warning about not using Twitter to earn extra money and freebies by excessively plugging different companies and products. This prompted a company-wide email to all cast members warning them against using Twitter in such an explicit manner.

In 2013, a number of Coronation Street stars were reportedly stitched up after Tweeting about fake products they were given for free at a celebrity ‘gifting suite’. This nearly got them in hot water with Advertising Standards Authority guidelines, which stipulate that sponsored messages on social networks should be made perfectly clear to avoid tricking followers.

  • The ‘Social Butterfly’

The rise of celebrities on social media has added a plethora of additional opportunities for celebrities to raise their profile. They can showcase their projects, set the record straight or challenge something that’s been said about that. Plus, they can do this without the additional help (and expense) of a celebrity PR.

Or can they?

Don’t get me wrong platforms like Twitter can be a fantastic bridge between celebrity and fan-base. In an age of engagement, they offer an immediacy like no other. If you’re someone like James Blunt, or Dr Christian Jessen or Bette Midler, and you just ‘get it’, social media can be your best friend. These guys just nail it when it comes to Twitter banter – their comebacks, put-downs, witty observations and self-deprecating quips make the very best of 140 characters and have made them all social media winners. But if a celebrity doesn’t think before they speak they can come a cropper and do more damage than good.

We’ve seen many car crash examples over the years, but both Kanye West and Azealia Banks seem to have the most consistent track record when it comes to getting it wrong on social media. While West struggles to separate his point of view from his ego, Banks goes the extra mile with profanity so intense it borders on litigious. A recent Twitter offensive caused Sarah Palin to call in the lawyers!

You need only glance over some of the worst offenders of this year to see that some celebrities could benefit from a seasoned eye over their social media. With some help from a trusted celebrity PR situations such as this could be easily avoided:

So yes you could argue that the rise of social networking is a threat to celebrity PRs. Gone are the days when publicists to the rich and famous would consult with their client’s every time about what nuggets of information should be put out in the public domain, what should be held back and what to say and what not to say. But this if often to the detriment of the celebrity.

Now, many publicists are waking up in the morning to shit-storms of epic proportions after discovering their famous clients have taken to Twitter overnight and given it their unbridled, all with disastrous consequences.

Sure, Twitter can raise your profile. But if you suffer from verbal diarrhoea, it might not be your best friend and can damage reputations. And your credibility.

If you over-step the mark, you can get it totally wrong. Kim Kardashian and Emily Ratajkowski’s recent topless selfies, plastered – by themselves – all over the internet, were apparently meant in the name of feminism and empowerment. To millions of others, however, it just came across as a desperate bid to get some attention.

We are more than just our bodies, but that doesn't mean we have to be shamed for them or our sexuality. #liberated @kimkardashian

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After nearly 20 years in the industry and having had 2 children, there’s no denying Britney Spears looks absolutely incredible. But a recent bikini shot posted by her on Twitter prompted thousands to question the integrity of the picture and whether Photo Shop had been used. So celebs had better beware: it’s a great tool for social outreach, promotion and fan-base building but if you don’t get it right, social media can be your undoing.

And lest we forget the progenitor of examples: The Bling Ring saga way back in 2008/2009 when the houses of Paris Hilton, Rachel Bilson, Lindsay Lohan and Orlando Bloom were systematically robbed by a group of young thieves who used Twitter and the internet to discover what recent luxury splurges the celebs had made, when they were out of their homes and where they actually lived!

So whilst in the right hands social media can be a profile enhancer. It can also get you burgled if you’re not careful!

So…there you have it. There are a number of strategies – some blindingly obvious, others more on the down low – that celebs deploy to raise their own profile. Effectively stage managed, and with the right PR counsel in place, these manoeuvres can often yield great, positive publicity. But, undertaken by celebrities who aren’t savvy and well versed in the dos and don’ts of the print and social media minefields, and the results can be perilous.