When the Media Comes Calling – Part II: 8 Steps for Preparing Your Franchise Brand

When you’re trying to capture lightning in a bottle with franchise public relations – meaning, the media is reaching out to you for a timely story – you usually don’t have a lot of time to get everyone on the same page. Additionally, you may only get one shot, so you have to make it count if you want leverage the opportunity as positive franchise PR.

If you’re going to be interviewed, or if a media outlet plans to conduct a photo shoot at your business, you want to make a good impression.

Visually Demonstrate You Are a Well-Run, Professional Organization

You and your franchise staff are the faces of your business, so it’s important to make sure everyone at your location is aware that the media is coming and are courteous when they arrive. Make sure you assign a point person to greet them, and introduce them to the person to be interviewed.

Furthermore, your company logo should be clearly visible on the shirts of all staff to make the most of the branding opportunity on TV or in the print media. Be consistent with brand standards – everyone on the team should be crisp, clean and in branded apparel and colors.

Content and Preparation

When speaking to a member of the media, you want to make sure you are fully prepared for the interview. You never want to walk away and say, “Gosh, I wish I would have studied more and prepared talking points.” Or, worse yet, “I wish I wouldn’t have said that!”

Here are eight steps that you should follow to ensure your media coverage runs smoothly:

  1. Speak slowly and clearly. Use descriptive language and real-life examples when possible to help viewers and readers relate to the topic.
  2. If you’re on-camera, use natural hand gestures, but avoid distracting movements. Avoid fidgeting or touching your hair or face.
  3. If seated during the interview, sit on the front edge of your seat and lean slightly towards the interviewer.
  4. Try not to “think” on TV, such as looking at the ceiling or placing your hand on your chin.
  5. Maintain eye contact with your host rather than looking directly at the camera.
  6. Think about your top key messages that you want to get across during the interview. Review main talking points as a guide for your interview. You don’t need to memorize them verbatim – put them in your own words.
  7. Depending on the topic of the interview, be prepared to bring in props that can show the viewers/illustrate what you are discussing.
  8. If you are doing a phone interview with a print reporter, keep a “cheat sheet” in front of you with key messages that you want to get across in the interview. You can always send a follow-up email after the interview to make sure the reporter has all the accurate information you want them to have for their story.

The Merits of Being Proactive

Although it can be difficult to predict when a major event will throw the spotlight on your franchise brand, it’s critical that you have a plan in place to help you and your employees understand how to react swiftly and gracefully – especially if you’re dealing with a timely issue.

Depending on how well you prepare, the media can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Being proactive will help ensure you put your best face forward.

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