Hello and welcome to the second installment in this 3-posts series known as “The Collaboration” series. In this occasion, we’ll jump back on the content train and how to ensure a smooth workflow between you and your franchisees in your franchise online marketing strategy.
It’s true that content is king: a blog with constant updates generates 7 times more traffic than a static page (which also increases the chances of conversion!). Nonetheless, it’s also true that content is stressful (believe you me).
Still, and while it’s totally necessary to post regular local content, you shouldn’t let the trifling aspect of ‘who takes care of what’ detriment your relationship with your franchisees. It’s obviously really important that both the franchisor (to offer guidance and assist with brand compliance) and the franchisees (to input with their knowledge on local audiences) help each other in the process. But how should they do it?!
This is where this post comes in! I’ll go over some of the elements necessary to produce content and I’ll give you some suggestions of how to divide them up depending on the type of business model you have. Hopefully, you’ll find them useful and you’ll be able to have a well thought out and collaborative content strategy!
The Elements of a Content Strategy
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: content is KING. And as you may know from history books, most kings are (or were) high maintenance. This particular monarch needs time, attention, to be constantly posted, needs to have a direction, needs to be compelling enough, keep brand compliance and speak to a local audience.
In this section I’ll go through some of the basic elements that go into producing content, so, later on, we can go over who needs to take care of each one.
Of course, content is king for a reason: it delivers results. But for you to know if you’re getting the results you want, you’ll need to set some goals for your content strategy! What do you want to achieve through it? Traffic? Better leads? By giving your content a direction, you’ll focus your franchisees on reaching a goal, instead of writing content that’s all over the place!
Content may seem easy but it needs practice and training; especially if you’re delegating some of it to franchisees. Even if you don’t want them to actually write the content, it’s still a good idea to provide guidelines or training for your franchisees. By keeping them on track with what you want to accomplish, you’re ensuring that all are working towards that goal.
Inspiration is one of the big obstacles in writing. What should they write about? In this post about Content Solutions, you’ll find a few ideas for inspiration. At the same time, you can click on these links to read about topics that can be written on QSR, Professional Services and Cleaning/Restoration franchisee sites.
It’s also a good idea to read blogs, draw inspiration from real life and have a backlog for topics that can be turned into posts!
Now to the actual writing: who will take care of such an absorbing task?! More often than not, you’ll need external help to get you through it. You won’t always be able to rely on your franchisees since they are probably busy with getting their business moving.
As you know by now, even though the idea of content duplication may be tempting, it’s not the answer! Content needs to be localized for SEO purposes and to please the local audience that will be visiting the site. This could be an easy but very important task for franchisees.
Check / Compliance
If you’re a franchisor, you know what this means. Your brand needs to be correctly represented in your franchisee sites and content should be up to par too. That’s why, it’s recommended to verify that the content is compliant with your brand and values BEFORE it’s published.
It’s also wise to check for spelling errors and other slips that may cause the post to lose credibility.
Like with any other marketing strategy, content needs to be constantly updated: who will take on the job of posting regularly? Who will check back to see if all facts posted are still relevant? Who’s going to corroborate that all links still work? These are thing that can seem minimal, but should be taken care of!
Now that we’ve laid down the basic elements in content creation, it’s time to find out how you can divide up the work depending on the way you run your franchise!
How to Handle Content Collaboration In Your Franchise
Before getting down to the nitty-gritty, I want to give you some pointers. For starters, content is very time consuming and it requires certain expertise, so I would advice looking for external assistance. A writer that can create templates or do research and update constantly will be an enormous help in your content strategy!
At the same time, I eager you to express your ideas in terms of content to your franchisees. Yes, every franchise is different and even though I’ll give you suggestions, you can modify them to best fit your business.
Still, remember that you and your franchisees need to be synchronized (even if you don’t want them to write). By coming to an agreement of ‘who should take care of what’, you’re easing up the tension that could build up when dealing with content. So keep it in mind!
Now let’s move to how the workflow could be divided in three different franchises:
If you are the franchisor or form part of a very controlled franchise, this can help you with content creation. Sometimes, a franchise is this way because they have a lot of franchisees to handle or maybe (and probably), they aren’t too tech savvy, so everything needs to be provided to them.
In this type of relationship, and as you’ll be able to see in the image below, the franchisees rely on the franchisor and the content expert to get through content. They’re part of the training and they take care of the localization of the content the expert produces for them (in the form of templates) to avoid content duplication.
A somewhat controlled business model entails that the franchisee may have a little bit more independence: maybe they have more time to perform some tasks or are a bit more tech savvy and know a thing or two about writing.
The franchisor and external help need to be pretty reliable still, but there’s a bit more freedom for the franchisee. They can even start producing content from time to time, but the topics will have to be assigned to them. At the same time, they can be more involved in updating the site’s content and being more proactive in the process!
This third business model is less controlled. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that the franchisor plays a minor role, it just means that the franchisee has a bit more time, is more experienced with computers and knows how to write a good post. Still, it’s good to have some external help to not put all the content pressure on the franchisees. At the same time, tiny details like updates can probably be carried out by the franchisees.
How Empowerkit Can Help with Your Content Strategy
Empowerkit may be able to ease the stress on your content strategy because it can help you achieve your goals while maintaining a more versatile relationship with your franchisees.
As you may know, with Empowerkit you can control and lock certain apps and content so it’s compliant with your franchise. At the same time, it helps you manage the franchisee sites so you can keep track of what your franchisees are writing from one same manual.
Plus! it’s a content management system which makes the editing, adding and removing of blocks of text much easier (no codes required)!
Still, I want you to remember that a franchise online marketing strategy is no joke and it takes up more work than one person can handle. So if you want to receive all of the perks that come with having franchisee sites, you’ll need to collaborate with your team (on a bigger or smaller way).
Hopefully this post will help you steer your content in the right direction and define the roles that each member in your franchise will have. By doing this, you show true leadership and interest in getting your local businesses out there, which the franchisees will appreciate.
If you have any doubts regarding this post or Empowerkit, feel free to ask!