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PR Planning, 2021-Style

PR Planning, 2021-Style

Although most franchises consistently invest in public relations on the consumer side, franchise development stories are often left untold.

PR helps you create a steady stream of good news about your brand to raise your franchise’s profile and get you noticed in all the right places. Franchise recruitment PR is different because the goal is to get your message into the hands of a very specific audience – one that is different than the customers you target with consumer PR. Because your prospects are reading franchise media outlets and using them for research, that’s where fran dev PR focuses. You want those outlets to tell your brand’s success stories so that prospects can begin to imagine themselves in your franchisees’ shoes.

Third-Party Validation

Candidates are doing more research than ever into franchises they’re interested in, which makes third-party validation even more important. In other words, you need to make sure that trusted media outlets are talking about you.

This is the year to ensure you are capitalizing on your franchise’s accolades. Prospects researching your brand are paying close attention to how you fare in various high-profile rankings and lists, such as Entrepreneur’s “Franchise 500” and Franchise Business Review (FBR)’s “Top 50 Recession-Proof Franchises.” These are great selling points for your franchise and should be leveraged on all platforms, including your fran dev website.

For example, if your goal is to get on (or move up) FBR’s “Top 50 Franchises for Women,” make sure your PR agency knows so that they can help you build a strategy to call attention to your most successful female owners and what you are doing to recruit more female franchisees. Include those stories on your blog, website and social media.

Pro Tip: For SEO purposes, make sure you spell out the honor in text on your website rather than just post the badge. Google bots cannot read pictures.

Media Training

If 2020 taught us anything, it was the importance of having a sound crisis communications plan. Assuming your plan is now up-to-date, this is the perfect time to provide media training for your top company leadership. Whether business is good or you’re facing a crisis, it’s important that your spokesmen and -women be prepared for interviews when the time comes.

Media training is more than having talking points ready; it involves being able to predict what you’ll be asked, answer a tough question without getting rattled and stay focused on key messages.

Pro Tip: Be sure talking points are prepared before even a minor crisis becomes public; reporters do not always make appointments before they call (or show up in the lobby).

Owned Media

With almost all in-person events canceled in 2020, many franchises turned to owned media to get creative about how to find and nurture leads. Owned media includes all the platforms you “own” – blog, email, social pages like LinkedIn, etc. These are terrific platforms on which to disseminate information on your franchise development opportunity through blogs, videos, posts and more.

Through valuable, educational content, you can establish your expertise and speak directly to prospects who have already shown interest in what you have to say. It’s worthwhile to put some money behind your content – boosting LinkedIn posts, for example – to ensure your message is heard by prospects who may not follow you yet.

Pro Tip: Send your content to trade or franchise media, so the next time they need an “expert,” you’ll be top of mind.

Metrics for Success

It’s always been tough to “measure” public relations and determine how well your PR efforts are working. Here are several metrics that you can use to measure PR success:

  • The quantity and quality of earned media placements. Earned media is harder to get than ever, so be sure to leverage those precious placements by sharing on your blog, email drip campaign and social pages.
  • Referral traffic to your website from media placements. When users visit your site after reading an article about you, PR is working.
  • Share of voice (SOV) gauge. SOV measures the percentage of coverage that’s about your franchise as opposed to how much your competitors are getting. You don’t want competitors to dominate the conversation or set the agenda in your industry.
  • Frequency of outreach. News releases, articles and pitches demonstrate how productive your agency is.

Pro Tip: Boost social posts about media placements to get more mileage out of those hard-won placements.

Curious Jane’s Franchise Development Blueprint is a holistic approach, bringing all the elements of your marketing under one roof.