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Real ghostbusting: how PR saved a hauntingly quiet pub

In autumn 2010, the Inn at Freshford's ghostly quiet bar was far more likely to be frequented by its spooky regulars than mortal, paying customers

Two years ago we were contacted to help a local pub raise its profile.  It had been abandoned by its locals and wasn’t attracting new customers quickly.  In autumn 2010, the Inn at Freshford’s ghostly quiet bar was more likely to be frequented by its spooky regulars than mortal, paying customers.

We love a challenge at Avalanche Media.  How to build the business of a public house no longer at the heart of its community?  How to attract new customers to a place with no passing traffic?  Had we been contacted earlier in the year, our PR recommendations would have been less frightening I’m sure, but in the build up to Halloween, there was only one place to start – with a good ghost story.  A quick chat with the Inn at Freshford’s then management team revealed the pub had plenty of tales, which with our input, generated plenty of media attention, such as this on BBC Bristol.

Since, the pub has been given a further welcome lease of life from one of the UK’s most charismatic landlords, Mark Birchall, which whom we have worked to rebuild the Inn at Freshford’s local connection.  A healthy and continued combination of PR injection from Avalanche Media, in the form of press releases, media attention, event and campaign organising, journalist reviews, social media activity across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, has all helped to revitalise the Inn at Freshford’s reputation.

It takes time to make this sort of difference, plus consistency, PR planning and focusing the product offering.  The Inn at Freshford knows what it is – and just as importantly, what it isn’t.  We’re always learning in our work with clients and have applied a lot of the lessons learned from our work with this great country pub to other businesses.

Avalanche Media<< For pubs and businesses needing a happy ending, these ghostbusters are for hire.


Media coverage served up for Inn at Freshford

It’s been another busy, but great start to the week.  More media coverage of pigeon racing has rolled out since Saturday’s BBC Breakfast News feature.  We’ve also engineered further high profile results for the lovely Inn at Freshford, with which we recently launched Save Bath’s Historic Pubs campaign.

For starters, the pub and its campaign featured on BBC Radio Bristol on Saturday morning.  The interview, with local historian Kirsten Elliott, starts at 1:19:50.

The main course arrived in the form of an equally tasty serving of ITV News coverage yesterday, which also highlighted the recent closure of the nearby Packhorse Inn in South Stoke.

There’s a little breathing space before dessert arrives later, on Heart.

Save Bath’s Historic Pubs campaign has already been met with a massive amount of support.  Mark Birchall, the Inn at Freshford’s landlord, is adamant that a change is needed, to protect the heritage of Bath’s pubs. Watch this space for more media coverage.

Don’t forget the local pub history talk at The Inn at Freshford tomorrow evening – which is free and will probably kick off at about 7.30pm.

Super Saturday

As per my previous post, yesterday, despite its numerical placement in the month, was great.  Not only was it filled with sister-in-law hen do frolics, but it began with PR results from more hard work on behalf of Avalanche Media clients.  Here are two examples – more to follow:

>> Sports presenter Mike Bushell tries out pigeon racing for his BBC Breakfast sporting challenge

>> Local historian and supporter of Save Bath’s Historic Pubs campaign Kirsten Elliott, talks with BBC Bristol’s Ali Vowles about her talk this week at The Inn at Freshford. (From 1:19:50)

What a difference six months makes

Hands up, it has been a while – actually, a long while – since this blog was last updated.  But there’s a good excuse, honest:  Avalanche Media’s been busy.  2012 has been our busiest yet in fact and now that we have had a chance to reflect on some of its results, it’s a good point to share.

If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter (and thank you, if you do!), you’ll be aware of our recent work with pigeon racing in the UK.  Despite it being a sport with The Queen as its patron, it’s one of Britain’s great traditions which faced imminent extinction if left to continue without PR input.

In April this year, Avalanche Media was instructed to provide full press office support for the sport – to both react to incoming enquiries from journalists as well proactively create media coverage.  What a coup!  And here’s just a sample of what’s been achieved so far:

When words create a thousand pictures

PR’s changed. A hell of a lot.

My first day in the job saw me sending a stream of press releases through the fax machine; stuffing the remainder into envelopes for the last post.

I’m still writing releases but the distribution couldn’t be more different.  I also run a number of social media accounts on behalf of clients – communicating with journalists and wider audiences. I use Twitter to generate media coverage for businesses, as well as develop their brand awareness and engage with online communities.

To help monitor the effectiveness of this, I’ve developed a way of visually representing the type of followers (people and business) my clients attract on Twitter. If you’re in Frome and have a copy of the The List‘s March issue, you’ll see an example of this on the opening page.

Avalanche Media's Frome word cloud in the March issue of The List

A new addition to The List - a word cloud showing what people and businesses in Frome people have been tweeting about

The word cloud shows which words have featured the most in tweets posted by Frome folk over the past month – a fun and fascinating exercise!

Applied to Avalanche Media clients, word clouds provide a number of uses; the depiction of Twitter follower characteristics being a particularly useful one. Here’s an example applied to @bathbusiness (The Bath Business Club), of which I’m a member and soon to become its first lady chairperson don’t you know.

@bathbusiness now has over 1080 followers - as the above shows, very relevant ones.

@bathbusiness now has over 1080 followers - as the above shows, very relevant ones.

The above image encapsulates the type of followers Bath Business Club is attracting on Twitter. The word cloud has been formed using words which appear most commonly within the profiles (the short paragraphs describing themselves) of the club’s followers. The stronger and larger the typeface, the more frequently the word appears.

These infographic word clouds represent just one way of monitoring social media effectiveness – and demonstrating how a targeted community can be developed online. They are quite beautiful in my view – and offer an easy-to-interpret visual for clients to understand the value of this marketing activity.  Simple, yet revealing don’t you think?

Avalanche Media’s first video

I thought this was well worth a post as I’m quite proud of my first iMovie effort.

It can be difficult to describe PR to the uninitiated, so I thought it would help to produce a video to better explain what it is I can achieve for businesses.   To help prevent the onset of yawns and flitting to other YouTube offerings, I’ve limited the length to three minutes.   This means that the behind-the-scenes work I need to do isn’t really referred to (check out my press room for more of an insight).  But instead the important bit, the results:  these are what clients want.

Avalanche Media on YouTube

Avalanche Media's first YouTube video: The Power of PR

I hope this is useful and would welcome feedback.

After recently becoming yet another Mac convert and iMove addict, I’m hoping to produce more PR-related video offerings.  If you have ideas for any specifics you’d like me to address, please shout.

Somerset rapeseed farmer done good

This week has yielded some great media coverage for a Somerset farmer I work for.

Two different angles and editorial formats which both provide bang on targeted exposure for Andy Fussell and his Fussels Fine Food business (deliberate difference in spelling!):

Click on the images below to see the articles in
The Times and Women’s Fitness.

click on image to see The Times article in full

Somerset-grown rapeseed oil: The British answer to olive oil -

click image for full article on

Why rapeseed is the British alternative to olive oil -

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