When working with a franchise PR agency, time is money. Follow these suggestions to make sure you get the biggest bang for your monthly buck.
1. Franchise PR Review
A new PR will probably start your relationship by reviewing your franchise, your general brand image and your presence across the web, socials, etc. They’ll look to see what people are saying about you and how you respond to them. They’ll want to see what kind of stories you share on your blog and how often you post on your socials. Their job is to look at your business with fresh eyes and see how it comes across to potential franchisees.
Don't take it personally
If they tell you your website is letting you down, or you don’t post enough on social media or you need more content on your blog, listen to them. It’s not a personal criticism, they’re giving you their professional opinion based on many years of experience. It will also become the basis of their ‘To Do’ list for you. They can’t start doing a great PR campaign until your general brand presence is up to scratch.
Tip: I look at a new client like a house that’s being prepared to go on the market. Before I do a big marketing push (PR), to invite people (potential franchisees), to look around it I want to make sure the house (franchise) is decluttered, sparkling clean, smells good, looks good and looks warm and inviting to potential buyers. Franchisors expect new franchisees to hand over many thousands of pounds and trust them to help them build a successful business, why would they if your website is woefully out of date and is more Miss Haversham than House and Gardens? If it is evident you don’t look after your own business, why should they trust you to help them build theirs? Work with your PR to get your brand presence up to scratch before you start on your PR journey.
2. Keep your franchise PR agency in the loop
Make sure you tell your PR agency about every little thing going on in the company. We want to know about meetings, new contracts, awards, new staff, anniversaries and new initiatives. We’ll be in touch to drag this news out of you, but it makes it so much easier if you are proactive in getting these stories to us and saves valuable time. Equally don’t ask your PR to do menial tasks that could be done by you or one of your full-time employees. Only ask us to do the most important writing and creative tasks that you really can’t do yourself.
3. Signing work off
When you have started work properly and your PR asks you to sign off copy, make sure you get it back to them asap. It’s a waste of your money if we have to spend our time chasing you.
4. Amends to copy
The saying ‘why have a dog and bark yourself?’ comes to mind here. Whilst I’m not saying you shouldn’t have input and a view on what we write, making multiple amends to a press release or piece of copy uses up valuable time. Your PR is probably highly experienced in the sector, with, dare I say it, more experience than you, so trust them and their writing skills to get your story across. Unless you write for a living, it’s best to leave it to the experts. Of course we all make mistakes and that’s fine to flag them up and if any of the facts are wrong then you should 100% let them know, but other than that, it’s probably best to leave it up to them and you’ll get so much more work out of them.
5. Franchise photos
Your PR will almost certainly need high-res digital images to go with each press release. An editor recently told me he doesn’t even open press release emails unless there is an image attached to it, so your PR isn’t being difficult when they tell you they need a professional photo shoot for your franchise, or at least to supply them with some really great phone pics, they’re just giving you the benefit of their experience; no pics, no coverage.
'Tight, Bright and sh*te!'
They’ll also be able to advise you on the type of photo they want. Listen to them. Badly lit, low-res images without the branding in them are useless, they want what we call in the trade, ‘Tight, Bright and Sh*te’. It means people standing close together, in a well-lit location with big cheesy grins on their faces. If you have a franchisee that refuses to smile, choose another one. A bad photo can kill a good story. Equally a great photo can make a mediocre story. A good set of professional photos can be used again and again and are a great investment for any franchise.
Franchise brand awareness
Working with an experienced franchise PR can help you punch above your weight in the sector. We can give you a huge increase in brand awareness and credibility, keeping your franchise name on everyone’s lips; combined with digital marketing we can really bring your brand to life.