Posted: 11th May 2015
The Refectory at St Davids opened in May 2006, as part of a multi-million pound restoration of the Cloisters at St Davids Cathedral, Pembrokeshire. Refectory owner Bill Sewell brought PR consultant Helen Stallard on board to maximise media coverage for the new enterprise.
The Refectory is a beautiful and exciting place: it has something for all types of visitor – foodies, heritage buffs, tourists and people drawn to architecture and churches. Communicating niche angles for a story was essential to bring this disparate demographic together. At the same time, St Davids is a small place with a strong sense of community, so regular local press coverage was vital to keep residents informed and supportive in terms of what was happening at their cathedral.
We started off by making a huge list of possible media targets in the local, national and specialist press. Over the course of last summer we sent out a regular stream of communications to the media targets, emphasising the niche stories and angles to whet the appetite of our targets.
We also used the growing current interest in local food as a PR tool – we were nominated for the UKTV Local Food Hero awards, which led to coverage in the Western Telegraph, and were featured in the magazine of the Welsh Farmers Union, in an article on food miles.
The community angle was not forgotten since, in Wales, the communities of farming and church are so important. I got hold of the names and addresses of all the vicars in the Diocese, and sent personal letters in English and Welsh asking them to mention us in their Parish Magazines, to which we received a positive response.
The niche targeting worked. Since April 2006 we have achieved media coverage worth tens of thousands of punds in terms of equivalent advertising spend, including a large piece in the Saturday Telegraph and several smaller pieces in the likes of Waitrose Food Illustrated and Restaurant magazine. We also received plenty of coverage in the local papers and in niche titles, such as Church Building magazine, where Bill was asked to write an article advising vicars on how to go about opening restaurants in their churches!
Helen Stallard provides marketing and PR support for small businesses, particularly those in the creative and lifestyle sectors.