What Role Does Paid Media Play in a Franchise PR Campaign?

What Role Does Paid Media Play in a Franchise PR Campaign?

Public relations is generally associated with organic content like a great media placement, an insightful blog or social post. All of these tactics are important for franchises that want to increase brand awareness, tell the brand’s story and build a strong reputation among consumers and franchise prospects. However, paid media should also play an important role in your franchise PR.

Some PR departments do not budget for paid opportunities other than distributing news releases through the wire. However, think what a huge difference you see when you pay for syndication of a release. Putting your news on the wire can attract media attention, increase brand awareness and drive web traffic. So why wouldn’t you put a little budget behind other content, as well? 

If PR is all about storytelling, the intersection of PR and advertising gives a brand the chance to tell its story in a more impactful way.

Amp Great Content

Great PR begins with developing great content, and ideally, the bulk of your content will live on channels that your franchise “owns” – such as your website, blog or podcast. That’s important because it allows you to control and maintain your most valuable content. If your content were housed somewhere else – like a news outlet website or social media platform – you would run the risk of having the owner archive, move or even delete it at any time. They could even pull the plug on the outlet altogether. In any event, your valuable content would be lost.

That said, your brand’s owned content could be boosted – literally and figuratively – by putting some money behind it.  For instance, if your franchise publishes a great profile of a franchisee on your blog, you could share the blog on your social channels to get more mileage out of it. And to help it gain traction and reach the people who you most want to engage with, you could then boost the post.

Boosting or sponsoring content also would be a great strategy to spread the word about a grand opening or other big event at one of your franchise locations.

Pay to Play

You could also create content specifically for a paid opportunity – and there are plenty of those. For example, say you write an article outlining some of your franchise’s support systems and other “selling points” that might make it a more attractive choice for the franchise prospects that you and your competitors are pursuing. Most trade publications would not publish (for free) something so self-serving – but it could be placed as native content (or an advertorial piece) in a franchise publication, where we know prospective owners will be doing their research.

Sometimes the content itself is so good it creates its own “paid” opportunity. For example, Curious Jane pitched an article for a client profiling a really interesting franchisee to a trade magazine – and the magazine’s editor loved it. Coincidentally, the magazine’s cover story – a paid placement – had fallen though that month. The magazine offered the cover to the client at a reduced rate, and they jumped at the opportunity. So, the profile piece wound up being the cover story in a magazine!

Paid media will never be the star of your PR strategy; that title will always belong to earned media, because it’s just as valuable as it is hard to get. However, since you are creating all that great content, you definitely want it to be seen. Put some money behind your work to ensure that your intended audiences will have the chance to consume the content you’re producing for them.