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How to Market Your Franchise Opportunity Part 5: Franchise Content Marketing

Content marketing provides valuable content to a targeted audience in hopes of inspiring action. These are the top tips you need to know to successfully build and execute a content marketing plan.

By Morgan Wood1851 Franchise Contributor
Updated 11:11AM 10/21/22

Selling without selling can be difficult but incredibly rewarding. Businesses often rely heavily on outbound marketing to drive sales, but that is not the only option. Content marketing can provide a more authentic experience for the audience and cultivates a selling environment where the audience does not necessarily feel like it is being sold to in the traditional — maybe even naggy — sense of the word.

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

When looking to build and execute a content marketing strategy, the audience, and providing value to that audience, should sit at the center of all planning.

Outline a Clear Goal

This is likely the least exciting of all of the steps. Outlining a clear, measurable goal that you hope to achieve through content marketing is important as you work to embrace the following steps. In a best-case scenario, the content creators at a company will be interested in and passionate about the topic at hand, and it can be easy to get carried away creating all types of content.

No matter how much you love a topic or are excited to share, a scattered, hard-to-follow content marketing approach will not be effective. Rather, creating an incredibly clear goal will help you to get the most out of your work.

In the case of franchising, narrowing the field of focus and finalizing a goal can bring the content marketing mission from something like “inform more prospects in order to secure 25 additional units by the end of the year” to “draw in more millennial franchisees” or “add five franchisees to the network who previously worked in pet care retail.”

Clearly outlining a goal allows you to visualize the target audience more specifically — a hugely important aspect of creating useful content.

Embrace Video Content

“Video is obviously very key in today's world. As a user, I like to read things, but there are other users that prefer to watch,” explained Amy Przywara, chief marketing officer of Sylvan Learning*. “By incorporating video content, you’re providing another mode for content consumption. It’s sort of like making your content marketing a multi-channel thing; you’re giving a range of people content in the form that they’re most likely to be receptive to.”

While creating video content allows franchisors to provide content for multiple modes of consumption, it also provides a sort of realness that can be difficult to find elsewhere. More traditional print content certainly has its place, but video provides a connection and appeals to the humanity of its audience in an especially unique way.

Show Passion for the Mission Rather Than the Sale

While content marketing is a means to ultimately make a sale, the content itself should never be focused solely on selling.

Telling the stories of franchisees, providing remarks on the industry and including other educational content allows a franchisor to connect with their audience in a more meaningful way. This approach also creates space for the franchisor to spotlight its passion or existing franchisees' passion.

“Content marketing allows us to start this process where a prospect doesn’t necessarily have to make a commitment to get on an interview or fill out an application. It’s a way to get people going in a low-commitment environment,” Przywara explained. “I think having these kinds of stories is a way to build that relationship. When it gets down to the sales process, the prospect will know, ‘I actually care about you, and I want this to be a good decision for you,’ as opposed to ‘I just need another unit sold this month.’”

Embrace a Brand Voice or Spokesperson

This is a helpful first step in achieving the next must-do: Maintain Authenticity. Embracing a brand spokesperson, if possible, is a great way to further infuse humanity into content. Allowing the audience to have a specific face — and a real person with a real professional background — to associate content with can help to build those connections.

However, if anyone within the franchise network is not willing or able to take on this role, finding a brand voice provides a helpful filter through which all content can be distilled. For example, having a set of guidelines to govern all brand content keeps the output consistent through a very simple practice. These guidelines can include things like using proper English and being professional without coming off as overly authoritative.

Maintain Authenticity

Though “authenticity” is one of the many buzzwords thrown around when discussing marketing, it truly does have a place in content marketing when done correctly.

Finding authenticity within content marketing for a brand can be a delicate balance between peeling back the curtain a bit to allow prospective franchisees to feel that the content is truthful and straightforward and maintaining a brand-aligned, professional voice.

It is important to remember that authenticity comes in multiple forms. Sometimes, it will be authentic to publish content about a topic that is newsworthy, even if it is not directly pushing prospective franchisees to request more information or seriously consider the application process. 

Showing interest in and care for a topic, even when it seemingly does not align with a specific franchise development goal, is a great way to maintain that authenticity; demonstrating care as a baseline rather than a selling tactic reminds the audience of the franchisor’s bigger mission. 

“I think having that lens in your content marketing is very important because a lack of authenticity can be very quickly seen,” Przywara said. “If the content really isn't authentic and people see through it, you might not ever get that feedback from someone that walks away from buying your franchise. You could lose people without ever knowing exactly why.”

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.