After the initial hullabaloo of opening a franchise opportunity dies down, new franchisees are left to wonder how they can get their message out and continue to grow their business.

The majority of new franchisees do not have the funds to hire a publicist to handle media relations or the time to deal with traditional print sources. However, with the rise of the Internet, there are several cost-effective and time-efficient ways that new franchisees can employ to increase sales with minimal effort.

According to the Web site All Business, franchisees can follow five steps to harness the power of media relations.

First, franchisees should set up a Google Alerts account. This program will send franchisees e-mail alerts whenever their business is mentioned online - whether in Web sites, blogs, tweets or comments. A franchisee will input his or her "search terms" - keywords that relate to their business - delivery and e-mail address. Good terms to select include the franchise's name and city and the owner's name. Additionally, it's a wise move to set-up a separate alert for competitor information.

As franchisees start receiving alerts, they should create a spreadsheet to keep track of who's writing about their business. It should include the reporter's name, the publication and contact information including phone number, email address and URL, the Web site writes.

Franchisees can also get online sources from traditional media such as newspapers, magazines and newsletters. They should take note of these names and investigate what they've published online. Technorati and Google Blogsearch are also useful search engines to help individuals find industry-specific bloggers.

Making comments and asking questions after posts is a good way to begin building a relationship with media figures, according to All Business. Journalists have less time to investigate and research so a thoughtful, professional answer can prompt a dialogue and future use as a source.

But don't rush things. The Web site suggests that franchisees wait at least 90 days after striking up a relationship. By familiarizing themselves with a reporter's or blogger's writing style, franchisees will be better able to pitch to them.

When a franchisee is finally ready to make that all-important phone call or write that e-mail, they should be careful. Be wary of typos and grammatical errors, E-zine writes. And make sure to spell the reporter's name and publication correctly!

The Liberty Tax Service franchise opportunity is #9 on the fastest growing franchises list of the 2010 Entrepreneur “Franchise 500.” Our tax franchise is an affordable and viable business choice. Each office provides thorough, computerized tax preparation coupled with superior customer service. For the best small business opportunity in the income tax franchise industry, choose Liberty!