Catch the Public's Eyes and Ears as a Storyteller

Find out how to tell your story to attract more customers to your franchise or small business.

learn more about Joe Prusha

By Joe Prusha

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

What's your story?

Maybe your quarterly or annual sales have skyrocketed. Or, you've won an award for your community service. Possibly you're opening your company's first franchise in your area, or you're opening your first franchise after a career in something completely different.

In any case, you have a story worth telling.

"If you build it, they will come" worked for Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones, thanks to professional storytellers in Hollywood and special effects magic. In the real world, CGI (computer graphic imagery) remains out of reach, but good storytelling can and will build your business.

Related: Buying a Franchise? What to Look for in a Company's History

Marketing and public relations help spread the word via traditional media – newspapers, TV and radio – and the multi-faceted online world of social media from Facebook and Google+, to Instagram and Pinterest, to Twitter and Reddit (to name a few).

Digital marketing can include SEO (search engine optimization), establishing email lists and text feeds. However, mail should not be overlooked either, as your brochures, flyers or menus can be micro-targeted down to specific neighborhoods and ZIP codes.

Those are ways to deliver your message, but what about the message?

What do you want to say, and how do you want to say it? What do you have to say? And once you've thought about that, think about this: How will you get a reporter to write or produce a story about it – and your business?

This is where public relations comes into the picture. Professionals can help you find the best way to tell your story and to put you message in terms that will speak to customers. Your company may have a national PR program in place, or you may have to engage more directly on your own.

Related: Why 'Captain America' Types Make the Best Franchisees

At Erbert & Gerbert's Sandwiches, our national PR firm posts to our corporate Facebook page daily. This keeps our delicious sandwiches at top-of-mind for lunch each day. As franchisees, we can choose to copy the post and customize it to our own local pages or do our own posts.

The PR firm Sanderson & Associates specializes in franchise companies and their franchisees. This gives us a voice in the franchise community and beyond. They help us get the attention of new customers and aid in the growth of our system by attracting new franchisees.

Whatever your specific specialty is, see if there is a marketing/PR firm in your area that has handled your type of business before and ask for samples of that work.

Keeping your business name in the public eye is key to moving forward. Take the time to find your story and tell it to people who may become your future customers – if you have good marketing and public relations.

Related: Why Athletes and Veterans Make Incredible Franchisees

Joe Prusha

Owner of Erbert & Gerbert's

Joe Prusha is the owner of Erbert & Gerbert's in Milwaukee, Wisc., serving Eastside, Shorewood, Murray Hill, Riverwest and Downtown. As a young man, Prusha worked at Erbert & Gerbert's to pay for college then worked at a variety of restaurant concepts in order to evaluate their strengths and decided to open his Erbert & Gerbert's because they were the best he'd encountered. His Milwaukee location opened in 2009 and has been thriving since. 

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