SEARCH FOR A 21ST CENTURY MILLER

“The campaign by Capital B Media helped us reach people who wouldn’t have heard of us otherwise, and the knock-on effects to visitor numbers to the museum and country park, and online visits to the website has been amazing.”
Lynn Dunning, head of museums and heritage for Barnsley Metropolitan Council

  • the brief

    Barnsley Museums, owned and operated by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, selected Capital B Media to launch a nationwide search to find a new miller for the 17th century Worsbrough Mill.

    The mill has milled flour since 1865 and is one of just 40 working mills in the country. It’s estimated that there are approximately 300 traditional millers still employed in the ancient profession in the UK.

    With so few trained millers in the country, Worsbrough Mill needed to attract attention if it was going to thrive as a viable, independent business and continue an ancient tradition.

    The current miller was retiring after over 20 years and a targeted PR campaign would help find his replacement.

    Engineering experience and interests in heritage, milling or breadmaking were desired for the role and it was likely that the job would appeal to someone looking for a ‘lifestyle’ job where they could enjoy a new way of life in the Yorkshire countryside. There was an option to rent a cottage next to the mill which meant that the job had national appeal for people willing to relocate to Barnsley. 

  • the action

    We worked closely with Barnsley Museums, and a consultant and master miller from Fosters Mill in Cambridgeshire, to research the history of working flour mills and gather statistics around flour production for a media release. We also worked with Barnsley Archives to find photos of the mill dating as far back as 1904.

    We created a media release to launch the nationwide search and captured the imagination of journalists, regionally and nationally. A separate media briefing document targeted national TV with high-quality photographs of possible filming locations and a brief history of the mill and surrounding area.

    A press photocall invited reporters and press photographers to interview the retiring miller and we acted as the mill’s external press office, handling all media enquiries. Our copywriting services provided a ‘twist’ on the usual job advert issued by the council, including the title ‘Could you be our 21st century miller?’ We created and implemented a social media content plan and filmed and edited seven short videos to use on the mill’s Facebook and Twitter channels.

  • the outcome

    There were 23 applicants for the role, with eight selected for interviews. A candidate was appointed in early July. Applicants came from across the UK, and even one from Greece. Visitor figures to Worsbrough Mill increased by 53% in May 2018 compared to the same month last year.

    National coverage was achieved on BBC One’s Countryfile Diaries which has 1.14 million viewers. This was repeated on BBC Two the following day. Regional broadcasts included ITV Calendar News, and two separate appearances on BBC Radio Sheffield which included a two-hour slot on the station’s Rob Rouse Roadshow broadcast from the mill. A three-page trade industry profile was featured in Milling & Grain magazine (p84-86). Regional and local print coverage was achieved in Yorkshire Life, Yorkshire Post, Sheffield Star, Barnsley Chronicle and BBC News online.

    In May, users to the website were up 25% and sessions were up 30% compared to the previous month. Facebook video views were up 2,481% in May to 2,271. Post reach was also up by 179% to 8,533. Tweet impressions from the press launch to the job deadline were 39,500 compared to just 1,800 impressions in the previous 44-day period.