Christine McCaughey wearing denim jacket
Events,  Lifestyle & Events

CIPRNI Meet the New Media

I recently had the pleasure of attending an event held in Belfast titled “Meet the new Media”

This event was organised by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations in Northern Ireland. The purpose of the event was to hear from a few people who have been able to use social media to sell their brand and I use it as a way of generating income.

The guest speakers were:

Patrick & Russell (@gastrogays)

Dillon Osbourne (@diltakesphotos)

Kerry & Tara (@sistersandsons)

Tiffany Brien (@tiffanybrien)

Cathy Martin (@cathy_cmpr)

Suzie McDonald (@suziemc7) 

Each speaker told about about their brand, how they started and what made them unique in a sea of social media.

I hardly noticed the two hours fly in but by the end I had pages of notes. As well as such a great idea of where I wanted to be with my own blog and social media.

Patrick Hanlon & Russell James Alford (

These guy started off their careers by writing about food in Dublin.

They both worked within the media sector either through journalism or broadcasting. After moving to London and becoming more into their broadcasting careers they realised that they actually wanted to give food blogging a shot. Their niche is actually the Eurovision song contest.

They started off by writing about thing they liked and that interested them and therefore maintaining the engagement and pouring their heart into it was easy.

When they eventually decided to make a career from their brand, they had built up a following and had their own corner of the market nailed.


Dillon Osbourne (@diltakesphotos)

Dillon Osbourne is someone who I have followed on Instagram for a while. I enjoy his stories and he claims to be the one who started the trend in Northern Ireland of walking around talking into a camera.

I’ m fine with that and he has an easy nature think ‘gift of the gab.’

Dillon’s mantra on finding success within the social media platform is to ‘create content you like and keep doing it.’ Dillon can be found on instagram stories most days and often does live chats.

He has a keen interest in photography and gets out there and takes pictures. Engagement is something that works for him and he enjoys what he does. He says he likes to put his creativity front and centre.

Dillon charges by value and what something is worth to him. He advises that when things stop becoming fun then its time to rethink the whole thing.

Kerry & Tara (@sistersandsons)

Again having followed these lovely sisters on Instagram (and also their sister @life.of.leigh) it was so nice to meet them in real life and get chatting to them.

They are busy working mums who each have a beautiful son born within six months of each other. It was during the 3am feeds and first-time mum questions that they set up their blog and instagram page to provide a central hub of questions and answers.

As a mum myself I sometimes feel envious that this wealth of information was not available to me (my eldest daughter is 19!) when I was a first time mum.

However I love that there is this powerful tool out there and literally anyone can have a questions answered by a like minded person any time of the day or night.

Kerry and Tara discussed the direction of their brand and how they like to work with companies. There is a lot of time and effort placed into each collaboration so they only take on those that they really like or those that are mutually beneficial to them.

As busy working mums their free time is very precious so communication is key. Kerry and Tara also pointed out the importance of having an up to date media pack in order to sell yourself and your brand to public relation companies.

Tiffany Brien (@tiffanybrien)


Tiffany Brien is the picture of a “girl next door” I have followed her on instagram for ages and I absolutely love how she can be out valuing property, golfing, modelling, sailing or in fact anything every time I click on her profile.

She is a former Miss Northern Ireland and has re-invented herself several times over the years. She climbs that the secret she swears by is that she literally ‘wings it.’ Her blog is her life and she is always true and real within all her platforms.

The advice that she would give would be to try and give the best ‘return on investment’ that you can for a company. This has been one of the keys to her success and she always tries to go the extra mile for the client making sure they will return to you again or to up their investment in you.

Again Tiffany highlighted the importance of branding yourself and creating your own niche within the market – something that sets you apart from the rest!

She has recently developed the fit body bible which is a work out plan including food etc to help you get into the best shape you can.

Cathy Martin (@cathy_cmpr)

Public Relations is Cathys bread and butter.

She has spent many years in the industry and could talk all day on the pros and cons of working with brands. She is the voice behind ‘the f word’ and is the mind behind ‘Belfast fashion week’ and ‘nibloggerbrunch’ as well as CMPR models.

Cathy knows that there are great people out there and her key too getting heard is to ‘network.’ Again as others before her she agrees that selling yourself and your brand is key but you have to network and get yourself out there as much as you can. This could be attending events, workshops, or even just being very active on social media eg instagram stories.

Cathy also says that when you have yourself branded and a following built up – and she pointed out here that it is NOT about the numbers, but the fact that brands then have direct access to their target demographic.

Suzie McDonald (@suziemc7)

Unfortunately we had started to run out of time when Suzie came to the stage. As Suzie is a representative from Morrow Communications I was interested to see what the PR agency view was on this topic.

Suzie agreed with all of the previous speakers and elaborated just enough for her to point out that from her viewpoint, the biggest component that an agency needs with its influencer is ‘trust.’

I also had the pleasure of meeting Janine again from Janmary designs. I love the community that Instagram has built up locally.


Overall I had an amazing time at the event and I came away with a better understanding of the direction that I want to take my own social media.

I certainly don’t have all the answers and to be honest there is no overnight miracle that is going to make you have millions and million of followers but there are things you can be doing to enjoy yourself and what you do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.