Public relations plays a key role in franchise recruitment, Mel Betts, director of Grapevine PR, says
I’ve worked in franchising for the past 20 years. During that time, I’ve often asked franchise businesses to identify their number one challenge. More often than not, their answer is the same: attracting the best franchisees.
The good news is that PR can help. Public relations is, in fact, around 90 per cent press relations. This means the development of press or news releases, articles and case studies about a franchise. The proactive placement and resulting media coverage in relevant magazines or online portals offers the chance to tell the story of the franchise using real-life examples.
Everyone’s mad about social media these days - and rightly so. It’s a cheap, largely free way to promote a franchise and a tool that can’t be overlooked within the marketing mix. However, press articles that offer a more detailed, in-depth look at a franchisee’s journey to success are also valuable ways to impress potential franchisees considering your franchise.
Someone looking to invest a significant sum in a franchise territory will need to do plenty of research. They will want to read about other successful franchisees and find out lessons learned or top tips, plus more about the industry through an online search. If this content is missing in relation to your franchise, you may miss out on the best franchisees.
Publication of content in the media or online gives a certain credibility. Once the content is created, it’s something to show off about on social media. Or more correctly put, it can be repurposed (subject to copyright) as a link on social media, in marketing collateral or on the franchise’s website.
A short video intro on social media can breathe new life into an old case study or article and in this way it’s possible to maximise investment in professional content creation. It’s important the content produced fits in with the strategy and vision of the franchise.
Organisations usually compete in one or two of four spaces: innovation, quality, customer relationships or cost. For PR to be authentic, a coherent strategy emphasising key messages that support the relevant positioning is important. A professional PR firm can help identify and emphasise USPs and generate relevant messaging to weave into content.
PR can be a great way to showcase your franchise. However, some firms are put off from hiring a PR firm, as they don’t know what they will receive in return for their investment.
At Grapevine, I try to solve this challenge by offering guaranteed deliverables. For example, an agreed number of articles, case studies or press releases generated and placed with a suitable media outlet within a specified time frame.
I also encourage clients to go for a trial project, particularly if they’ve never undertaken PR before, to see how it works.
Following the many challenges faced this year, people will be considering different career options. If you’re looking at expanding your franchise, now is a great time to develop case studies and articles to promote your business.
Professionally produced content can offer credibility, depth and help you stand out from the crowd and, as a result, play an important role in helping attract the best franchise candidates.