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Siren’s Joe Holmes Milner, first found out about Substack after discovering food writer Jonathan Nunn. Nunn travels around the suburbs of Greater London, shining a spotlight on the local eateries that are the beating heart of their communities, with a healthy drizzle of Jamie Oliver-bashing to boot. Nunn’s excellent Vittles newsletter is available to read via Substack, but only accessible on a subscription basis. As a PR & Comms agency, we’re always on the lookout for new trends, and we’re noticing Substack being used more and more among journos. So what is Substack, and why is it on the rise?

The digital era has changed traditional media outlets for good. The recent ‘State of Journalism UK’ study by Muckrack, the media database for PR firms, found that among the top concerns facing journalists were limited editorial freedom, a lack of funding and an increasingly fragmented audience. From this scorched earth has risen Substack, which has emerged as a beacon of hope for journalists seeking independence, creative freedom, and direct engagement with their readership. With its innovatively monetised model and user-friendly interface, Substack is moving the goalposts in journalism, attracting an increasing number of journos opting to go solo and build their own subscriber-based publications.

The origins of Substack

Founded in 2017 by three friends, Substack was conceived as a simple email newsletter tool aiming to offer a direct connection between writers and their audience. Since then, Substack has evolved into a comprehensive platform for journalists, empowering them to build their own subscription-based publications and monetise their work independently.

Cutting out the middle man

Substack’s appeal lies in its ability to provide journalists with a level of creative and financial independence that writing in broadsheets and tabloids may not allow. It empowers writers to explore their passions, experiment with writing styles, and cover niche topics that may not receive attention from mainstream outlets. Instead of buying a paper to access your favourite regular column, you only need an online subscription. In this way, Substack enables journalists to foster a more intimate and interactive experience with their captivated readership.

Own your own content

One of the most significant advantages of Substack is in how it incentivises journalists. The platform enables journalists to monetise their content by offering subscription-based newsletters, with readers paying a monthly or annual fee to access premium content. Vittles newsletter, for example, charges £900 for an annual subscription, giving their contributors a bigger piece of the pie. Substack takes a small percentage of the subscription revenue, allowing journalists to retain the majority of their earnings – a positive symbiotic relationship. This model provides a sustainable income stream for journalists, while challenging and encouraging them to consistently produce high-quality and engaging content. Win, win right

Redefining relationships

Substack has become a catalyst for journalists to build their personal brands and develop a loyal readership, as Nunn has. By allowing writers to directly engage with subscribers through comments, Q&A sessions, and even exclusive events, Substack buttresses the central relationship between writer and reader. This consequently empowers journalists to better understand their readers’ interests, preferences, and feedback, while providing financial stability and creative freedom during the rising cost of living.

Criticisms and challenges

While Substack has garnered significant popularity and praise, its critics are equally robust. Some argue that it perpetuates the trend of the ‘attention economy’ – at a time when distrust in the media is growing, especially in light of the historic phone hacking at The News of the World, sensationalistic headlines can be used to drive engagement. Others raise concerns about the potential lack of editorial oversight. Substack does not enforce traditional journalistic rigour of an editorial process, leading to concerns it may only serve to slipping standards and an increase in disinformation.


Substack has emerged as a game-changer for journalists, offering an alternative path to success beyond the formulaic approach of traditional media. With its emphasis on independence, creative freedom, and direct engagement with readers, Substack has become an appealing platform for journalists seeking to build their personal brands, monetise their work, and cultivate a loyal audience.

This is important because, as an industry-leading PR agency, we have to stay on top of media developments to help our clients navigate Substack and achieve best media results. We recognise that Substack is changing the landscape of freelance journalism and encouraging more freelancers to write stories about their passion projects. For us, it may change the way we pitch to journalists in the future, with more of an emphasis on specialism – one of our key skills at Siren Comms. If Substack continues developing, we will be keeping a close eye on the knock-on effect on the power and reach of traditional media outlets and keep tabs on how it shapes the future of journalism. In the meantime, Joe will keep reading Vittles with gusto and we will experiment with targeting specific media with credible communities to work with.

Ask you team if you’d like to know more about Substack and then contact one of our experts at Siren Comms –


blog, travel & pr

As we nudge towards the halfway point of 2023, which travel trends are continuing to make waves? 🌊

The past few years have given us countless trends and cultural shifts in the way we work, travel, and meet colleagues and clients. From the rise of buzzword terms like quiet quitting and hybrid working to the COL crisis and the rise of ChatGPT dominating more than one water cooler chat in the office, it is fair to say that change has and will continue to come thick and fast.

I’ve compiled a list of the latest travel trends to share with you.

Highlights include:

Sustainable and Responsible Travel: With growing environmental consciousness, travellers demand more sustainable and responsible travel options. Travel companies continue to adopt eco-friendly practices such as reducing carbon emissions, promoting eco-tourism, and supporting local communities.

Just as we’re increasingly flexitarians and climatarians with what we eat, now we’re turning flexi-air-ian. Swapping an outbound or inbound short-haul airline ticket for a train ride instead across Europe. Savvy clients are showcasing the range of travel options and putting the ‘slower travel’ message front and centre.

Greener meetings and events: linked to the above, how refreshing to see a continued appetite for weaving sustainability into event planning!

After a year of travel for fun, relaxation, and reunion post-pandemic, we’ve seen an increase in travel for personal betterment. Whether that is travel to escape, identify your life’s mission, or discover what your body is physically capable of, there is a transformation retreat that caters to it. Personalising your holiday has never looked so good!

Interested in understanding how to capitalise on the latest trends for your business or brand? Drop us a line at: 


blog, siren team news, uncategorized_

London, 23
rd December 2022 – Siren Comms, the award-winning PR & comms agency with a reputation for driving commercially valuable results for its clients across consumer and corporate work, has announced today its certification as a B Corp, joining a growing group of companies reinventing business by pursuing purpose as well as profit.  


Siren Communications Ltd has been certified by B Lab, the not-for-profit behind the B Corp movement, as having met rigorous social and environmental standards which represent its commitment to goals outside of shareholder profit.   


The B Corp certification addresses the entirety of a business’s operations and covers five key impact areas of Governance, Workers, Community, Environment and Customers. The certification process is rigorous, with applicants required to reach a benchmark score of over 80 while providing evidence of socially and environmentally responsible practices relating to energy supplies, waste and water use, worker compensation, diversity and corporate transparency. To complete the certification, the company will legally embed its commitment to purpose beyond profit in its company articles.  


Siren Comms is now part of a community of 6,058 businesses globally which have certified as B Corps. The B Corp community in the UK, representing a broad cross section of industries and sizes, comprises over 1,000 companies and includes well-known brands such as The Guardian, innocent, Patagonia, and The Body Shop.   


Along with its strong track record in travel, transport and leisure, the comms business has made a focus and specialism of working for purpose led organisations for some years.  It is proud to be working with Motability Operations and Uber Boat by Thames Clippers as businesses shaping their own purpose led strategies. Several of Siren Comms’ recent client wins include Delphis Eco, XeroE and Seacourt, all of which are B Corp businesses.  


Chris Turner, Executive Director of B Lab UK, says, “We are delighted to welcome Siren Communications to the B Corp community. This is a movement of companies who are committed to changing how business operates and believe business really can be a force for good. We know that Siren Comms are going to be a fantastic addition to the community and will continue driving the conversation forward.   


“We are pleased to have B Corps of all shapes and sizes as part of our community – from start-ups to multinationals and across many different industries. Business is a powerful force and B Corps demonstrate that you can do good in any sector. Welcoming Siren Comms is an exciting moment because they have an opportunity to lead the way within the UK communications industry. We and the rest of the B Corp community are really pleased to support Siren Comms in paving the way for a new way of doing things.   


“Their commitment to doing business differently will be an inspiration to others and really help spread the idea that we can redefine success in business to be as much about people and planet as it is about profit”.   


Rachel O’Connor, Siren Comms’ founder & managing partner, added, “We are incredibly proud to be a certified B Corporation Company.  Since I founded Siren in 2005, our mantra has always been to do the right thing by our people, our clients, our business and the planet, and that is something that’s even more critical in the current times that we live and work in. I’m so pleased that through the brilliant organisation of B Lab UK we now officially join the B Corp Community and the whole Siren team is excited to make further strides in our commitment to pursue purpose as well as profit.” 


There are currently over 1,000 B Corps in the UK and 6,058 worldwide.   




About Siren Comms:  

Siren Comms is an award-winning integrated communications agency. A small team of experts, working closely with a hand-picked network of partners. Siren Comms has strong relationships across Europe and the US; whilst creatively working with agencies across media buying, research, brand, digital, video and content. 


Founded by CEO Rachel O’Connor in 2005, it now boasts a client portfolio that includes brands from across the leisure and lifestyle, luxury, food and drink, hospitality and hotel, destination, technology and tour operating sectors – to name just a few. In 2017, it merged with Essence Communications. 


About B Lab UK: 

B Lab UK is transforming the economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet. A leader in economic systems change, our global network creates standards, policies, and tools for business, and we certify companies—known as B Corps—who are leading the way. To date, our global community includes 6,058 B Corps in 84 countries and 158 industries, and over 150,000 companies manage their impact with the B Impact Assessment and the SDG Action Manager. 


blog, siren team news

Ahead of World Mental Health Day on 10 October, two members of our Siren team attended the Mental Health First Aid England Course, a globally recognised course training employers to recognise mental ill health and help people find the support they need to stay well. Through this, we have proudly joined a community of over 350,000 people in England and 2.6million people worldwide, trained to help those in mental health need.  


Over the two day course the mental illnesses covered included anxiety, depression, PTSD, eating disorders and psychosis. Through receiving a clear understanding of each illness, its symptoms and how a sufferer may be feeling both mentally and physically we have been provided with a deeper and evidence based understanding of how each illness should be approached. 


Whilst extremely overdue, mental health issues have started receiving the attention it needs to ensure those suffering are able to recover and now more than ever, it is becoming the duty of employers to be at hand with the information and tools that can potentially help save lives. 


We truly believe that investing in our staff and their wellbeing results enhances client results, on-site efficiency and overall team happiness; and who wouldn’t want that? Here are Siren, we are supporting zero stigma surrounding mental health.


You can find more information on: 

–           Mental Health First Aid training here:

–          How you can support World Mental Health Day here:


blog, corporate

It’s been a busy and exciting time here at Siren Towers as we’ve recently won a trio of new clients across the consumer travel and B2B travel technology sectors. 

We are happy to announce that we are now working with Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours, TripBAM and Currensea.

We are proud to be working with Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours as its UK consumer press office. Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours has grown over its 31-year history to include award-winning, all-inclusive escorted tours that take guests to many of the world’s most fascinating destinations and, since 2008, truly all-inclusive, five-star river cruises in Europe, South East Asia, Russia and Egypt on its 15 Space-Ships. In August 2019, Scenic introduced the world’s first Discovery Yacht, the 228-guest Scenic Eclipse, with a sister ship due to launch in 2020.  

We have also been appointed by TripBAM, the award-winning hotel shopping, benchmarking and analytics solution provider. TripBAM enables travel managers to secure the best possible hotel rates and improves clients’ corporate hotel programmes. The initial six-month project will see Siren Comms introduce the brand and its services and build profile among European travel trade media. This appointment adds to Siren’s growing B2B portfolio which includes a raft of travel technology, corporate travel, and industry body and tour operator organisations.

Rounding off our trio of recent wins is Currensea. The UK’s first travel money card linked directly to your bank account has opened its waiting list ahead of its launch. Backed by a team of angel investors and advised by Robin Terrell, ex UK MD Amazon and Marc O’Brien ex CEO of Visa UK, the card has been designed to take the stress out of travel money whilst offering an open, honest and simple solution. Siren is working with the travel money card provider on its pre-launch activity, building the waiting list. 

Rachel O’Connor, our founding director and CEO, comments: “It’s been a busy year and these three wins are a testament to the hard work of the Siren Comms team. We’ve expanded our agency offering this year, partnering with digital marketing specialists to offer broader, joined-up communications which is proving popular with existing and potential new clients. We’re already looking forward to growing further in 2020.”

We are always ready for a new challenge, if you’re looking for a new agency, let’s talk.


blog, business, client news, out and about, photo, siren team news, travel & pr

Last week 65 travel agents and two journalists from TTG and Travel Biz turned up at Gatwick airport ready to embark on Barbados’ Mega Fam to celebrate the 65 wonderful years that British Airways has safely carried UK travellers to its paradise shores.

In partnership with TTG, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. and British Airways ran a competition for travel agents to win a place on the fam trip to explore and experience the island in all its glory. Siren hosted the media along with a group of 20 excited agents, on the trip.

The group was split across three luxury hotels including Turtle Beach, Seabreeze Beach House, and the recently opened The Sands Barbados.

After touching down on the scorching tarmac, the group were straight into their busy itinerary, from the Island Safari, heritage railway tour and cave explorations to site visits of a diverse mix of hotels on island. The trip encompassed all the best bits of Barbados and showcased the plethora of activities available. Barbados is a favourite for winter sun seekers but it has so much more to offer than simply sun, sand, and sea. 

On Friday morning the agents were hosted by Sandals resort where they took part in a mini trade show, this was a great opportunity to meet all the hotel partners, receive all their news and updates and create lasting relationships from which they can move forward and sell the destination in the future.

The Barbados Olympics was one of the highlights of the week, agents and media battled it out in a race of their choice; either taking to the waves for a 100m swim, running a mile on the open road, as well hitting the countryside tracks for a 5k cycle; and for the adrenaline junkies, the obstacle course at the Barbados Ninja Throw Down put them through their paces.

We are happy to say that though our Siren did not win …or even finish the course… she did tackle every obstacle with commitment and enthusiasm… until she fell off the monkey bars and was dunked in the pool #lifeasasiren #goneswimming

The final night saw the agents dancing the night away with rum in hand and soca beats pulsing through the air as they sailed the sea on a catamaran cruise.

By Sunday night no one wanted to leave and our Siren was left knocking on hotel doors and scouring rum shacks for all her wayward sheep.  To the disappointment of the agents, and the relief of our CEO, the trip returned all heads accounted for and not one extra stowed away in a suitcase.


Want to know more about Barbados? Visit

Got a destination that needs representation? Give us a call