Land of Oak & Iron
When the Land of Oak & Iron quite literally needed help in putting itself on the map through local, regional and national media outreach to attract new visitors to the area, they came to us.
The Land of Oak & Iron really is a hidden gem in the North East. Not a physical attraction but rather an abstract idea around the themes of history, heritage and natural habitats, spanning a 177 km2 area surrounding the Derwent Valley including Consett, Rowlands Gill, Prudhoe and Whickham, all coming together as one to give a compelling visitor offer with the opening of a new Heritage Centre at Winlaton Mill – the gateway to the Land of Oak & Iron.
One of the Land of Oak & Iron’s biggest challenges is being able to communicate what it is, who it’s for, and importantly, where it is – it really is a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered, explored and enjoyed. So much so, we were asked to help raise the profile of the area and all that it has to offer through a sustained media relations campaign.
Having discussed objectives and set KPIs, it was identified that as well as developing an on-going relationship with local press to help promote the Land of Oak & Iron, the opening of its new Heritage Centre, and engage with potential visitors, the team also wanted to land national media coverage, to help raise awareness of the Derwent Valley to a larger audience outside of the North East.
We conducted a full media audit of suitable channels that we could engage with to make this happen, as well researching journalists, producers and other members of the media to reach out to in a bid to introduce them to the Land of Oak & Iron. Our gold level media target was BBC’s Countryfile. The programme fit perfectly as a platform to showcase the history, heritage and natural habitats of the area, while the audience profile of the TV show was an exact match for the type of person who would actively plan a day out and travel from further afield to experience something new as part of the experiential economy.
As a result of developing a relationship with the producers on BBC’s Countryfile, we worked closely with the editor of the programme to create a TV package of content that would not only work well for their schedule and availability of having crews in the region, but that also showcased all that the Land of Oak & Iron has to offer its visitors.
After months of planning, the date was set for filming, and so we briefed all key spokespeople, reiterating the key messages and advising how to work in brand references of ‘The Land of Oak & Iron’ into their natural speech without sounding contrived, as well as overseeing filming.
In November 2018, the Land of Oak & Iron was included in BBC’s Countryfile focus on County Durham, featuring interviews with traditional rapper dancers, workshops with local craftspeople who use nature from the area to inspire their work, and a piece focusing on the history of the Land of Oak & Iron’s mining heritage with Marley the Pit Pony as the star of the show. The whole package was on message, with several brand references to the Land of Oak & Iron throughout, and even featured presenter Helen Skelton explaining to viewers the whole concept of the location and its visitor offer to viewers.
Picture credit: The Land of Oak & IronBack to Work