Public Sector: Campaign Breakdown - The 19th century newspapers site

In-house team: British Library comms team

Timescale: June 2009-present

Budget: Undisclosed

The lowdown

The team's brief was to launch the public version of the British Library's website of two million pages of 19th century newspapers from 49 national and regional titles.

Who is being targeted?

The project was rolled out to the media during the week commencing 18 June and key target audiences included existing and new researchers, people with an interest in genealogy and social history, the media and opinion formers with an interest in digitisation projects.

Strategy and tactics

An integrated communications approach was implemented to create maximum impact for the launch of the website. The key creative hook for the press campaign was 'now and then'. A series of topical angles was assembled to interest journalists: crime, binge drinking, holidays, bank fraud and sport, and present-day headlines were used to demonstrate similarities with 19th century British life. A video news release was developed as well as a social media press release and Facebook and Twitter updates to generate excitement online.

Media coverage

This resulted in more than 125 articles, including a double-page spread in The Sun and articles in The Guardian, The Independent and The Telegraph, as well as most regional media. BBC Radio 4, 5 Live and regional radio also ran reports and international coverage included the Los Angeles Times and Rai Italian TV.

What happens next?

The communications team is now developing the second phase of the campaign targeting long-lead history and genealogy media to maintain traffic to the website.

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