The Wolfson History Prize: Putting History back in the mainstream

Our client

First awarded by the Wolfson Foundation in 1972, the Wolfson History Prize remains a beacon of the best historical writing being produced in the UK, reflecting qualities of both readability for a general audience and excellence in writing and research. The most valuable non-fiction writing prize in the UK, the Wolfson History Prize is awarded annually, with the winner receiving £40,000, and the shortlisted authors receiving £4,000 each. Over £1.1 million has been awarded to more than 100 historians in the prize’s 47-year history. Previous winners include Mary Beard, Simon Schama, Eric J. Hobsbawm, Amanda Vickery, Antony Beevor, Christopher Bayly, and Antonia Fraser.

“From scrapheap to box set, history is back in the mainstream” Financial Times

What they wanted us to do

Midas PR was appointed to deliver a brand-building campaign across PR and social media for the Wolfson History Prize 2019, included launching and building engagement with a Wolfson History Prize Twitter handle.Midas was briefed with raising the profile of the prize, building on its reputation as the leading history book prize in the UK, while reinforcing it as a key date in the literary calendar, showcasing the accessibility of the winning and shortlisted books to non-specialist audiences, and driving engagement with new and existing audiences.


How we did it

Midas worked to deliver an integrated, coordinated audience-led campaign that focused on building awareness of the prize nationally across PR and social media, in addition to driving engagement and support from retailers, stakeholders, media and influencers.The strategy focussed on three key moments: the prize dates, shortlist and winner announcements. The media campaign was segmented to highlight each of the shortlisted authors, with a bespoke PR and social media campaign on each shortlisted book in order to deliver maximum exposure. Coverage spanned news, interviews, features, opinion pieces, book reviews and beyond.


What we achieved for them

Midas secured 80 pieces of press coverage in total, and a Twitter following of 1,783 in just six months. The total media reach was over 32,696,846 potential readers, plus over 1.1million impressions on Twitter for the winner announcement.

Midas secured 56 pieces of coverage for the Shortlist, and 24 pieces for the winner announcement. Overall, we secured 6 pieces of national (print and online), 7 pieces of broadcast, 23 pieces of regional, and 44 pieces of specialist coverage (including history, literary, academic and trade press). The winner announcement tweet received 68,711 impressions, and a blog tour featuring the shortlisted books reached over 25,224 readers.

Media highlights included: BBC Radio 4 Today Programme Financial Times, I, Irish Times, Spectator, Evening Standard, London Live, Yorkshire Post, BBC Radio Wales, BBC History Extra, Times Higher Education, The Bookseller, Timeless Travels, Five Books, Jewish Telegraph.

Social media and digital engagement with key influencers, retailers, institutions and media included: Mary Beard, Suzannah Lipscomb, Bettany Hughes, Waterstones, Blackwell’s, Foyles, Jewish Book Week, UCL, AHRC, Royal Museums Greenwich, British Academy, BBC Radio 4, History Today, TLS, The Bookseller, BBC History, FT and beyond.

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