19B Press and Social media coverage by Phil Marsh
When I was invited to join the team attempting to purchase 19B by Fuzz, I immediately agreed given our previous joint ventures have always been interesting, entertaining and normally hard work with sometimes unpredictable results.
Some of you may be aware that I’ve a fairly long experience volunteering, not as long as the Trustees, but 35 years or so doing commercial, marketing, press and PR which seemingly qualified me to become a journalist with The Railway Magazine.
With this background I approached the 19B purchase PR campaign in a tried, tested and trusted fashion and being part of this successful team was amazing. How then to carry on the campaign to keep ‘Little Blue’ as Gordon Rushton calls 19B, in the headlines?
Again this was made possible by teamwork and I hope you agree it has carried on working. The railway press was targeted with a regular stream of 19B news timed to fall at their key times in the publication cycle.
Social media is now arguably more important than the print media but given 19B supporters’ age profile, print media is still key to us as is Facebook which have been our main outlets for information but only after you, 19B’s supporters have been informed of any developments.
We achieved widespread coverage following the Supporters’ Day, not just in the anticipated publications such as Heritage Railway, Railway Magazine, Narrow Gauge World, Vintage Sprit and Steam Railway, but also in Modern Railways and Rail Infrastructure magazines!
This excellent coverage for which we should all be grateful to the editors for, was partly due to invitations to all publications to join us at Statfold, (of which about 50% were accepted), but also due to Adrian’s place in the rail industry.
Subsequently as a result of discussions with Mortons Media, we held a special readers day for them with the editors of The Railway Magazine and Heritage Railway in attendance on 7th October. 19B pulled a succession of full trains for Mortons’ readers and the day deemed a success for everyone involved.
Why do we do these events? To attract new supporters, to keep us in the news and to repay the Statfold’s trust in us by attracting more visitors to our new operating base. Mortons have perhaps been 19Bs biggest media supporters so repaying this was important.
We will hopefully remain in the main railway publications thus maintaining our profile and increasing our supporter base with a predetermined deliberately timed press releases. In these days of instant news we will be stepping up the social media posts as time permits.
And this is how the tried and tested PR campaign format to keep 19B in the forefront of the media has worked. Building and maintaining these relationships is a win-win for all of us.
Yes, we have a plan going into 2024 and I’ve been detailed to look at a project for 2025 being ably assisted by Rob Fraser, a well known railway professional with decades of volunteering experience. When plans are confirmed, you generous supporters will be the first to know!
Painting by Jonathan Clay