Content brand of the week: the National Trust, the charity bringing heritage up to date

The National Trust? As in the tea-swilling guardians of all things old and crumbly in the UK?

The National Trust ( and its 568 heritage sites nationwide) may have a reputation for being a haven for the tea-fuelled middle-classes and harassed looking parents, but we thought as people were celebrating St George’s day this week it’d be fitting to profile a brand that celebrates England all year round (as well as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). Here’s a video from the charity to get us started.

Good lord, what a precocious young presenter!

I know, right? While we wouldn’t want to go on a lengthy tour of historic sites around the country with young Mia, we certainly like spending time with the National Trust’s content. We picked this video out because it’s a great example of the fun, accessible content the Trust makes for younger audience members.

Beatboxing and bird watching, who knew?

It’s not just birds that super beat-boxer Jason Singh can imitate though, the Trust also has videos of him impersonating bees, baby lambs and the wind. Plus, a whole bunch of other vids. That’s all just on the organisation’s YouTube channel. There’s also a dedicated mini-site for kids, which is called ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’. It’s like an online resource, activity ideas pack, nature guide and loyalty scheme all rolled into one. Perfect for making sure the youngsters keep coming back.

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So the National Trust has got a focus on kid-friendly content to get youngsters enthused about history and heritage?

Yes, it does, but its remit reaches far wider than that. The organisation creates content for all ages – answering the needs and interests of its current adult members just as well as it does for young visitors.

I should hope so, they are the ones paying for the Trust to exist after all!

Indeed, and as an organisation that relies on memberships there’s a pressure on the Trust to offer benefits back to its members. One such benefit is the thrice-yearly magazine, which is printed and sent out to every member. It’s a great way of keeping the conversation open with members, by informing them of the latest happenings up and down the country, how the Trust is spending members’ cash, and top attractions and deals that are available to them. The Trust also teases a couple of stories from each issue on its website, as a little taster for those thinking of signing up.

All this chat and we still haven’t touched on the awesome TV ad!

If you mean the loud and shouty, extremely off-the-wall ‘ad’ that surfaced on YouTube a few months back, I’m afraid you’re mistaken. That was a fake.

But it was so funny!

True, but so was the Trust’s response to the spoof. Messages like the one below were sent out in response to the general public’s frenzied twitterings, helping to harness the huge spike in awareness and bring attention back to the really important subject; Britain’s beautiful beaches and historic sites.

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So even when it’s not doing it on purpose the National Trust gets it right?

Pretty much. The organisation’s great at Pinterest too, leveraging the huge wealth of resources and assets it has at its disposal to tell vibrant stories through its boards. Not content with that, there’s also a weekly Instagram competition promoted with the hashtag #NTchallenge. Here’s an entry submitted by Speak Media’s very own account executive Nick.

SECRET SOUTH DEVON
Image courtesy of Nick van Buuren.

Beautiful! Someone pass the Thermos and we’ll have a cuppa…

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More from Tom Owen
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Author: Tom Owen

A strategic storyteller and compelling content creator, awash with acuity and adept at alliteration. I work for Speak Media. www.speakmedia.co.uk

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