With almost all in-person events canceled because of the pandemic and an ever-shrinking media landscape making it tougher than ever to get earned media coverage, franchise development directors are having to redraw the game plans to fill their leads pipelines. One smart approach is to develop a robust owned media strategy.
“Owned media” is exactly what it sounds like – information platforms that you already own. This is the ideal time to take advantage of the LinkedIn following and email lists you have cultivated and use them to make your own “media opportunities.”
An owned media strategy involves creating valuable content, establishing expertise and using your owned media platforms to get your message out to people who have already shown interest in what you have to say.
Create Something of Value
Start by creating educational or otherwise useful content. This content could be a blog, a video, a webinar or an e-book. You’re going to need a lot of valuable, educational and well-written content, so be strategic about the order in which you release it. You should offer free content first to whet the audience’s appetite; later, you can mix in some gated content, where you ask users for their email address or other information in exchange for downloadable pieces.
After your audience has seen the value of the content, then they may be more willing to provide their email addresses (or whatever information you are asking for) to continue to receive content. Use your valuable content to engage leads and move them down the sales funnel by educating them about your brand, the opportunity and inching them closer to signing the deal.
And why should audiences be interested in your content? Because you’re the expert, of course.
Establish Your Expertise
Not only does great content inform audiences about your brand and your franchise opportunity, but also it establishes your franchise leadership as subject matter experts. Whether your president is talking about leadership or the franchise development director is discussing the benefits of multi-unit ownership, a regular cadence of strong content helps that person to establish him- or herself as a thought leader.
The types of content and the volume are important, also. A blog or webinar might be more polished, and a video might seem more personal. But one piece of content does not an expert make; you need to commit to producing regular content. It will pay off in the end: When conventions and in-person events resume, and earned media opportunities start to reappear, your expert will have the credentials to put them in high demand.
Share Your Content
Just as you do with earned media, you must be sure to leverage your owned media content. The whole point of creating this content is to share it, so put it out there and share it on every relevant platform. Send an email to your leads list inviting them to your new webinar. Share the links to your blog or video on LinkedIn and Twitter.
You may even be able to create your own earned media opportunity by telling a franchisee’s success story on your blog, then sharing the blog with trade media or a local news outlet in your franchisee’s community. These stories deserve to be told, and who can tell them better than you?
Owned media can help you to establish your expertise and to share your message. Put in the effort that is required to produce great content, then promote and cross-promote it to leave your audience clamoring for more – and looking for you to provide it.