Franchise Media Training Blog
Why is the news media more relevant to a franchise than any other business?
Pete Burdon 31st Oct 2017
There are two big reasons why the news media means so much to franchises. Firstly, they are in a far better position to attract masses of free media attention. And secondly, they have far more to lose when reporters come knocking for the wrong reasons.

Why can franchises attract so much media attention?

A major benefit franchises have when it comes to attracting positive media attention is their franchisee network. What this means is that national campaigns can be set up at head office and franchisees can run them locally and involve local media. 

This may seem link lots of work, but it doesn’t have to be. All it requires is a campaign idea, such as fundraising for a worthy cause in your niche. Then a generic press release is created at head office where all franchisees need to do is fill in their name and location. This can either be done by them or someone at head office, before the release is sent to local media in the different franchisee areas. There are a few more details to organise, but that’s the gist of it. I’ve created similar campaigns myself, leading to many thousands of dollars worth of free publicity. It’s well worth it and not difficult to organise.  

The second reason why it’s easier for franchises to get positive media attention is because of the credibility a franchise immediately offers. As a former daily newspaper reporter, I can assure you that when I received media pitches from anyone, I was always dubious about who was sending it. This was never an issue for franchises because once I knew they were a franchise, I knew they were genuine. That’s a big deal for media. 

What’s the second reason the media means more to franchises? 

The other reason the media means so much more to franchises is because of the extreme damage that can be done. One small franchisee that receives negative press can badly affect the entire franchise. There have been recent examples in Australia, and who can forget the Jackie Lang disaster for Subway a few years ago. The sacking of one worker in Dunedin saw every franchisee in New Zealand lose between 15 and 20 percent of turnover in the following two weeks. It also made the news in Australia and around the world. 

The key to avoiding this is to be ready. This requires a crisis communication plan with things like staff guidelines, media statements ready to send out at a moment’s notice and guidelines of what to do in what situations.  

Most franchises never think anything will happen, but there are countless things that can go wrong. Most are out of your control, but that doesn’t stop them happening. 

This reminds me of a famous quote from Warren Buffett. “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” 

For more information on Franchise Media Training, visit the rest of the website or email Pete Burdon on [email protected] 
What Do Media Want? 
Pete Burdon 9th Aug 2017
What does the reporter want from my interview?  

Before you can benefit from a media interview, or keep out of trouble if it’s a negative issue, you need to know what the reporter needs from you. 

This depends on the medium and format 

If it’s for a TV or radio news bulletin, all they want from you is one or two verbatim snippets lasting between five and 15 seconds. These will become the story’s sound bites. This is why it’s so important that you are concise. If you’re not, one of two things will happen. You will either lose the opportunity and be shut out of the story. Or secondly, the reporter will try to paraphrase what you said. This is usually where people get misquoted. 

The best way to take control of these interviews is to work out the two or three key points you want to make, and dress them up into language that will help the reporter bring the story to life by using them as sound bites. We’ll look at this in more detail in a later post. 

What about live broadcast interviews?

Obviously there is less pressure here because viewers or listeners will hear the entire interview, not just small snippets of it. But it’s still important to prepare the same way. You should always answer the questions asked of you, but then transfer to one of your points, or one of the more interesting ways you have come up with to make that point. That makes it far more likely that viewers or listeners will remember your point. 

Regardless of the topic, this is an opportunity to get your points across. If you only answer the questions, you lose that chance. You will also find that snippets of that interview may be used as sound bites in subsequent news bulletins. But that will only happen if you make your points in interesting ways. 

What about print?

Print stories fit into two categories. These are news stories and feature articles. If you are being interviewed for a news story, you have more scope than you do for a broadcast interview, but be careful. The reporter will be wanting background and material that he can quote you directly from. So the preparation process is the same as those above. Always remember that everything is quotable so you still need to be brief and transfer back to your points in different ways. If you don’t, you lose control of what the story will focus on. 

Feature stories are more detailed, so you will be asked more questions. My advice here is still to focus on your key points, but have more ways of saying these points than you would plan for a news story. This will give the reporter more material and more options for direct quotes, but you will still be focused on your message. You’d be surprised how little information is needed from you to create a 1000-word feature article.

Everything you need to know about media interviews, including the ability to put your new skills into practice in the privacy of your own home or office through your computer webcam, is incorporated in Media Interview Training for Franchises.

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