When the Media Comes Calling – Part I: Maximizing the PR Opportunity

Generating positive media coverage for your franchise brand usually involves a proactive outreach. And it takes time and effort to build relationships with the local media.

Capturing Lightning in a Bottle

Sometimes – just when you least expect it – public relations opportunities present themselves. For instance, when a tornado or hurricane hits, a franchisee specializing in household repair may be called upon for his or her insight into rebuilding in the wake of the disaster.

Because these franchise PR opportunities are few and far between, you need to make the most of them and handle media requests properly from start to finish.

As part of the first of two posts outlining ways your franchise brand can leverage media opportunities, here are some tips and advice to help guide you when reporters or TV producers come your way:

  1. Provide a Swift and Timely Response: Journalists and TV reporters work tight deadlines and often come to you at the last-minute needing comment or footage. It is critical that you respond to them in a timely manner and oblige their needs. When it comes to rare opportunities, remember that you have to work around their Never say, “Sorry, I have a meeting at that time.” You can always reschedule your meeting; they can’t reschedule their newscast or publishing deadline.
  2. Ask Questions BEFORE You Grant an Interview: If the media approaches you for a story, they understand and are used to sources asking: “Is this going to be a positive story?” Get a good feel of the tone and context of a story before you make commitments to do an interview. If a media outlet is doing a negative piece, you’ll want to steer clear.
  3. Keep Your Expectations in Check: A story may run tomorrow, next week, or … never. While it’s appropriate to ask a reporter when they plan to publish or air a story you were interviewed for, remember that breaking news or an editor’s decision may postpone a story, or prevent it from ever running.
  4. Use Your Interview as a Networking Opportunity: Make sure that you keep in touch with reporters who agree to speak with you. Follow up with them every two months to see if they are working on another story that you could be a source for.

Keep the Ball Rolling

Just because a once-in-a-lifetime event occurs, you can’t afford to leave it at that. It’s important for franchise brands to maintain a healthy professional relationship with both local and national media outlets that initiate contact. Further down the road, these individuals can help push your brand forward and act as a great resource for future franchise PR strategies.

Next week, we’ll dig deeper to explain how you can prepare your business and staff when responding to surprise media inquiries.

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