Key Steps for Mapping a Great Franchise PR Strategy

When you use a map, or utilize your GPS app, you do so for direction. The entire purpose of a map is to see where you are going before you get there, and ultimately what path to follow to reach your destination. When it comes to mapping out a PR plan for a franchise client, there are four key milestones that shouldn’t be missed as you work your way toward reaching your goal.

First and foremost, you need to understand the personality of your brand. An edgy, bold brand with outspoken ownership may thrive by joining a public conversation that may be controversial, whereas a quieter brand with a broad clientele may be served better with mainstream placements and a generalized message. Regular conversations, ideally with an experienced public relations agency, can go a long way toward understanding the proper positioning for a given brand. Public relations is about tapping into current events, and you won’t know which topics to capitalize on if you don’t understand your brand’s relevancy to them. 

PR gold is found when you construct the right message, to the right audience, by way of the right platform.

Matthew Jonas

Franchise marketing tips to take into account

As importantly, a good PR representative or agency will have a keen understanding of a particular industry sector. This is especially true in franchising! Franchise marketing is a niche, a small world of its own within a giant marketing sphere. Not only does it serve a marginal (though mighty) target market, but it is also driven by legal limitations that differ from consumer marketing and vary from state to state. PR is part of an overall franchise marketing strategy — think of a city map inset on a state map — and its activity must abide within these same parameters. Not knowing the ins and outs of the franchise industry can be costly, both literally and figuratively to an otherwise upstanding franchise owner with an attractive concept.

You may know your concept. You may know your industry. Now it is time to construct the message around it within the franchise space. To do that, you need to identify your target audience. This means understanding who you are trying to attract to the franchise opportunity at a very detailed level. In a digital landscape, it means knowing where your potential franchise buyers “hang out,” and how they navigate, which translates into understanding what platforms they use, what kind of topics they comment on, where they shop, as well as their financial qualifications. PR gold is found when you construct the right message, to the right audience, by way of the right platform. If you know who and where your ideal potential franchisee is, and what makes them engage, crafting an effective message is much less daunting. 

Franchise PR is a marathon

Finally, and perhaps most crucial, is providing the right vehicle for your now perfectly constructed message. Remember, part of a successful PR strategy is knowing where your market is, aka what they read and who they are influenced by. Pitching a journalist or influencer is tricky business, and quite honestly, a key reason to opt for hiring a professional franchise PR firm. Keeping your finger on the pulse of who the appropriate journalists are, who the most influential blogger is, or what the latest Instagram sensations are only part of the PR process. Relying on cold calls and unsolicited emails can be, at best, ineffective, and worst, seen as completely taboo. Relationships must be built; trust must be established. A story pitch must benefit the writer as well as the brand. It must suit the audience, which means you had better have done your homework or, better yet, have the assistance of a franchise marketing agency before you start making your PR pitch. 

Good franchise public relations takes more than posting a hashtag or emailing an industry expert. Great PR takes forethought and strategy. It’s a process. Know your brand, understand the industry, construct the right message in the right space, and be respectful with your pitch. Utilizing these four principles, with the guidance of people who are well versed in the franchise PR space, is a good starting point on a PR map that can lead you to your desired destination: franchise success.  

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Matthew Jonas
Matthew Jonas is president and co-founder of TopFire Media. As TopFire Media’s brand steward, he defines high-impact digital PR and marketing strategies for an impressive cache of consumer and franchise-based clientele.

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