Marketing Your Franchise: What is Public Relations (PR)?

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PR is one of those terms we hear a lot in a business context, but many people aren’t 100 percent sure what it actually means. So, exactly what is public relations? In this beginner’s guide, we’ll be exploring how to market your franchise with PR. 

As a business owner, you can’t get very far without understanding PR, so let’s dive straight into the definition… 

What is public relations?

Public relations is the process of managing how people view your business. It involves taking steps to control how your company presents itself to the outside world in order to encourage positive publicity. Contrary to popular belief, PR is all about laying the foundation for others to create marketing material about your business, as opposed to actively disseminating it yourself. 

As well as helping to build a franchise’s brand awareness and reputation, PR professionals can also work to combat the effect of negative news or a lack of public trust. When a crisis strikes, bosses must act quickly and work closely with their PR teams in order to repair the damage. 

Usually, when businesses enlist the help of a PR consultant, they’re looking for someone to review the company and find interesting or untapped resources to spread brand positivity. 

PR is the Persuasion Business. You are trying to convince an audience, inside your building or town, and outside your usual sphere of influence, to promote your idea, purchase your product, support your position or recognise your accomplishments.
—Robert Wynne, Forbes Contributor

Is PR the same as marketing?

Many people connect PR with marketing because both terms describe the act of building a business’s reputation with the ultimate intention of encouraging people to buy its products or services. 

However, there are distinct differences between public relations and marketing. PR is all about strengthening a business’s position as a credible company so it has the potential to earn positive press. While marketing can increase a business’s exposure, PR focuses on building trust. 

What does PR entail?

PR professionals spend a lot of their time communicating with journalists to help them create high-quality content promoting a brand. News editors often ask for quotes and case studies, providing a key opportunity for businesses to show their brand in a good light. 

PR also involves engaging with clients, consumers and critics online. You can establish a dialogue with people interested in your brand by posting blogs or maintaining an active presence on social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter, for example. 

From time to time, it’s necessary to create press releases to share business news with journalists, influencers and other content creators. Then, they can take the information and publish it under their own name, which raises your business’s profile. 

People who work in PR might also write speeches and pitches, organise events, conduct market research and network to establish new contacts. 

How to promote your franchise with PR 

Compared to marketing, PR is an indirect way of promoting a business - but it can be more effective. Here are some of the key aspects of creating a communication strategy in order to promote your franchise. 

  • Creating content relating to industry news and offering additional insight in order to present your business as an expert in its field

  • Writing press releases announcing the introduction of new franchisees to the network and reminding readers of available territories and the benefits of investing in the franchise

  • Creating and sharing useful and informative content that adds real value

  • Incorporating SEO techniques into blog posts and other content to improve your franchise’s ranking position on search engines and boost its profile

  • Getting the most out of social media by using LinkedIn to share business news, Twitter to promote your brand’s personality and Instagram to inspire and engage followers, for example

  • Organising events and inviting local journalists to report on it - raising funds for charity or sponsoring a local organisation will help you build trust with consumers

  • Establishing a personal and local feel for each franchise unit to encourage customers to develop a closer relationship with the brand and value it as part of their community

  • Engaging with followers online or taking other measures to mitigate against negative press 

  • Taking action to resolve an issue or sharing content focussing on positive aspects of the business to stop a single incident negatively impacting the reputation of the entire franchise network

More information about managing your franchise’s communication strategy

As you can see, public relations involves a wide variety of different techniques and activities, all to boost the credibility of a business and its team. Usually, large corporations hire a PR specialist to manage things for them, but you can roll out a communications strategy yourself. 

There are many measures you can take to reinforce your business’s credibility. One of the best ways to achieve your end goal is to consider your customers. What do they value in the brands they use? How can you gain their respect and impress them? 

With a good understanding of consumer demand in your industry and geographical region, you can start becoming the business people want. 

You’ll find more advice on mastering your public relations strategy and establishing a high-quality communications plan here at Point Franchise. See our guide to promoting your franchise in your local community or brush up on our top eight marketing techniques

You might also be interested in finding out about the lessons we can learn from the world's biggest franchising scandals

Find additional resources at Point Franchise

Point Franchise releases informative business guides and industry news articles twice a day. You can read our most recent publications on the home page. You can also access content from franchising experts to boost your knowledge and enhance your business strategies.

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