If you are one of the millions of Americans currently...
There’s little doubt that a well-messaged and sustained public relations campaign can do wonders for franchise validation. While not a traditional “lead-driver” for franchise sales, the benefits of a media mention or two go far beyond that one time “name in the lights.”
Let’s be honest – business development for emerging franchise brands is hard, so getting the most out of every marketing tool in your arsenal is essential. As marketing continues to become more fully integrated, a piece of earned media has longer legs, and can and should be used to help shape a campaign.
Earned media optimization
Your PR team earned a piece of quality media coverage – sweet! It shouldn’t end there though. When it comes to an integrated marketing approach, your search engine optimization team should be helping the PR department optimize links in the coverage (provided you can secure links) to ensure readers are being properly directed back to your website. Whether it’s a company press release or piece of third-party coverage, the SEO and PR teams should strategically choose key-worded links that need improved rankings to get an extra boost from the coverage.
Also, as we’ve discussed, acquiring natural and valuable backlinks through third-party mentions have big benefits when it comes to creating brand validation. A quality PR campaign can earn those mentions, but they must be properly linked to have any discernable SEO value for the franchise brand.
Social team, go!
A robust social presence can do wonders for franchise marketing efforts, as well. Between direct social engagement with prospective franchisees to tell your brand story or the ever-growing opportunities to target leads through highly optimized advertising, social media is arguably the greatest tool for the franchise marketer. Perhaps ignored, however, is social’s ability to increase the reach of an earned media placement. If your organization is going to take the time and effort to secure media coverage, an equal focus should be placed on sharing it consistently across social media channels to reach an even greater audience.
When it comes to touting a piece of earned media, consider it as a value add for your organization. The more value-added content you can share, the greater awareness and credibility you can build for your organization.
To get the most out of a piece of earned media, a great social strategist might pull individual components and expand though multiple posts. For example, this article shouldn’t be shared just once as “Our president Matthew Jonas shared his thoughts on franchise public relations.” Instead, consider a series that increases shelf life and findability, beginning with “Earned media and SEO go hand in hand – see what Matthew had to say in his latest contribution to Franchise Expo,” for example. No worries on sharing the article more than once. In today’s quick-glance social cycle, you’re likely hitting and engaging a new audience every time.
Sales team material
A prudent franchise sales prospect will do their homework when considering a franchise opportunity. And, when it comes to franchise businesses, potential franchisees have very consumer-like behaviors, and trust the validation that comes with industry perspectives via bylined articles or robust and thoughtful media coverage. When your sales team can point to earned media coverage as a source of third-party validation, you’re in the drivers seat to engage them. The more earned media you can place in the hands of your sales team, the more opportunity they have to let the franchise brand speak for itself.
Emerging franchise brands love the value that positive media mentions bring. While these placements offer value as they stand, treat earned media with care and maximize its value through digital and sales to make a discernable impact.
Matthew Jonas is the president of TopFire Media, an award-winning integrated public relations and digital marketing agency specializing in franchise marketing and consumer branding. Together with the leaders of iFranchise Group and Franchise Dynamics, Jonas established TopFire Media to provide a strategic and synchronized method for digital marketing in the franchise industry. As a digital marketing strategist with more than a decade of in-depth experience in SEO and PPC, social media publishing, conversion based marketing, inbound marketing, sales management, and online lead generation, Jonas has built a career dedicated to delivering an integrated marketing approach that achieves client success and long-term relationships.