Category Archives: Targeting Investors

Two reports offer a comprehensive view on Main Street investors

Blog karma. Yesterday’s posting of the Shareholder Confidence 365 Study result on annual reports flows perfectly into the new ProxyPulse report from Broadridge and PwC. The ProxyPulse report is a very worthwhile read.  

As an obvious companion report, I biasly recommend our Fall 2013 How Investors Consume Your IR Content report (download link on the right). Together, these two reports offer the most comprehensive view on Main Street.

From the Broadridge and PwC report, I especially like that they are challenging the Board of Directors to think (and ask questions) about retail. From ProxyPulse:

10 QUESTIONS DIRECTORS SHOULD ASK:

  1. What is the institutional and retail mix of our company’s share ownership?
  2. Do we fully understand the impact of retail voting at our company?
  3. How does our company’s size and mix of institutional and retail ownership impact the voting participation of our shareholders?
  4. Does the company have a communication program that allows for adequate engagement with all shareholders?
  5. How does our company’s shareholder support compare to that of our peers?
  6. Does the company anticipate a close shareholder vote on a sensitive issue?
  7. Are there situations where additional outreach to retail shareholders might make the difference on a close or sensitive voting issue?
  8. Do we understand the concerns of significant shareholders who may decide to vote against one or more of our directors, and/or pay plan, and what have we done to engage them?
  9. Have we done sufficient cost/benefit analysis of our distribution method(s) for proxy materials and its effect on voting participation?
  10. Have we had sufficient discussions around potential changes to how the company distributes proxy material?

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The value of retail (individual) investors varies from company to company. Beyond standard corporate transparency, how Main Street is courted is up to the issuer. The IR department creates their communications strategy that follows that value – and just like a marketing function, you focus where the money is.

Our job is to help our clients reach individual investors as efficiently as possible. An obvious example is RetailInvestorConferences.com – where 17,000 investors have opt-ed in to listen to company presentations month after month.

A less obvious example (but timely in juxtaposition to the NYSE “no more Thomson subsidy to Nasdaq” announcement) is our IR Room MST investor relations website service. We’ve added new functions that are intuitively proactive toward individual investor communications.

  • Includes a mobile app for fast, simplified access to your IR content. Safe to assume mobile is very important to retail’s research as institutions will still weigh heavy on their Bloomberg-esque portals
  • Includes a risk and hands-free solution to post your news releases into the StockTwits and Twitter streams – two networks ripe with individual investors and traders. This brief explains this newsflow.

Retail may not move your needle, but they are an outspoken group. Understanding what they want and what the do is key. Check out the reports.

Have a great day.

Investor Relations already beat Amazon to the multi-tweet PR punch

A bit of buzz about Amazon’s 14-tweet news announcement on Wednesday. Marketing-wise, it was a clean and targeted campaign: the issuing of a press release of bullet points followed up by the retweeting of those points. The #1 rule of content marketing is maximizing your content across as many channels as appropriate.

Investor relations departments have been using this same strategy for earnings announcements for several quarters now. Below is a StockTwits page of FedEx’s most recent earnings tweets. (click the image to enlarge it)

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This example of using Twitter and StockTwits for shareholder communications is actually a much better use of the real-time value of the social media audience. The Amazon press release and subsequent tweets were (according to my timestamps) sent at 12:05 – 1:07 AM EST so it was not meant to be a real-time (workday) campaign. Earnings announcments are real-time, market moving events.

The FedEx example above is also an excellent study of using StockTwits and Twitter for investor relations; much in line with this whitepaper.

  • Don’t have dialogue: have “newsflow”
  • Don’t imply selective disclose by pick-and-choosing followers
  • Do use your $CASHTAG
  • Do use both StockTwits and Twitter

Again: The #1 rule of content marketing (and that is what shareholder communications is) is maximizing your content across as many channels as appropriate.

Have a great day.

The push for push it

Ooh babybaby. Babybaby. Ohh babybaby. Bababababy.

For obvious reason, active traders and investors love to be up-to-the-second on their holdings. That’s what mobile does best for investor relations content. It pushes instant IR alerts to stakeholders that want IR alerts wherever they happen to be. Interuptive alerts. 

Coincidently with the TheIRapp news (blogged here today) StockTwits just announced a major upgrade to their mobile app for Android and iPhone for their 300,000 registered members.

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Chief amongst the upgrades is alerting.

StockTwits’ members can set very detailed alert criteria for both individual companies ($LIKEYOURS) as well as on experts that frequently discuss your company or sector. To be redundant: It pushes instant IR alerts to stakeholders that want IR alerts wherever they happen to be.

If you are still unclear on the difference between StockTwits and Twitter, I suggest you download this whitepaper here.

The whitepaper also suggests how you can send your news – with RegFD confidence – over StockTwits and Twitter… and onto many key financial portals’ social media feeds at once.

So what does this mean in regard to PR Newswire helping our investor relations clients?

Our investor relations product, IR Room MST, automatically sends your news to StockTwits members. As prior, as a niche, we’re past the discussion phase “is mobile important for IR.” Now we’re in the “how effortlessly and affordable can I get it” phase. That’s why we rolled it into IR Room MST. Easy to implement. 

For additional IR Room MST details, click here.

Have a great day.

Let your investors do the “social” half. You just do the “media” half.

When social media was first proposed to investor relations, the buzzword “engagement” frightened the bajeebers out of most everyone. That’s not too inappropriate, considering social media was generally marketed as a personable connection. About as unRegFD-ish as you can get.

TWITTERTALK4Where are we now? Well, many marketing (ahem) and client service departments are successfully using the social aspect of social media to connect, one-on-one, with customers… but IR is still fraught with apprehension. It’s time to wipe the slate clean and redefine what social media can do for investor relations.

Clean slate one: Social media, particularly Twitter and StockTwits, have both evolved to become proven news streams. That’s the safe and easy opportunity for shareholder communications.

Clean slate two: You do not have to engage with your investors in social media. But you do need to start feeding investors your content so they can “talk amongst themselves” and be social with each other with your news. The buzzword here is “amplification” of your message.

Clean slate three: For now, simply treat social media as any news media channel in your quiver. Investors do use social media for news. Begin by sending out your existing news releases in Twitter and StockTwits. That’s it. No two-way interaction. No new content. No “engagement.” Just send out your news.

Click here to download our communications brief that discusses this in detail. I do ask you (please) to opt-in. Yes, someone from sales will probably call you too, but that’s not so bad. #winkwinknudgenudge.

Have a great day.

Video: How OTC Markets issuers can send news and target investors directly from their OTC Markets desktop

The OTC Markets reported their 2012 trading statistics and highlights today. Congrats to them for their continued growth. You can read their press release here.

Of special note is they highlight our partnership.

“OTC Markets Group made significant enhancements to its OTC Disclosure & News Service… In the fourth quarter of 2012, the company announced a partnership with PR Newswire that integrates PR Newswire’s news distribution service with OTC Markets Group’s OTCIQ.com IR and business intelligence portal for OTCQX, OTCQB and OTC Pink companies. “

Easy workflow. Superior distribution. Better outbound. 

That’s the simple goal behind our collaboration. If any IR department (or harried CFO) needs a few time-saving steps, it’s the leaner departments generally found within OTC issuers. Thank you to Cromwell Coulson, President and CEO of OTC Markets Group, for this terrific opportunity to help OTC issuers amplify the “oomph” of their shareholder communications.

How-to video:

Want to see how easy it is to send a press release from the OTCIQ? Just fill out this form here and identify yourself as an OTC markets listed company. We must verify your listing before sending you the “How-to” video link.

VIDEO HOW TO: OTC issuers can send news directly from their OTC Markets desktop

Have a great day.

Let’s not confuse material disclosure with meaningful distribution

This week, I was forwarded a sales pitch that a competitor sent to one of our clients regarding news distribution. The point the sales person wanted to sell was they “were good enough.” That’s a “C” on a report card – and it brought to mind the difference between material disclosure v. meaningful distribution. In fact, if you want “good enough” for RegFD, don’t use ANY newswire. That’s what that sales person should have pitched.

Let’s not confuse material disclosure with meaningful distribution

In 2008, the SEC recognized that a corporate investor relations website is a recognized channel for material disclosure. The SEC proclaimed that companies are no longer required to use a newswire for RegFD. Just post your news on your IR website. The industry pundits went wild and, sadly, by the close of 2009, all the newswire vendors were out of business. Oh, wait – that didn’t happen.

What DID happen was that the investor relations departments themselves demonstrated their prowess for their external shareholder communications and their understanding that “good enough” may be a fair base for Fair Disclosure, but not for shareholder communications. Shareholder communications is a blend of sales, marketing and client service – all of which need to continually reach out to find new customers (investors) as well as reinforce the buying decision (hold!) of current clients (shareholders).

Fast forward to distribution 2013 and the vocabulary of what “news” distribution is. As far as the web is concerned, news is now “content,” and prevailing content marketing methodologies stress that corporate communications needs to go beyond the traditional online news portals and aggregator feeds and be targeted to pertinent topic and sector influencers: an outbound communications mosaic in concert with how the web works today.

Disclosure is for the SEC. Distribution is for growth. That’s the guidance we give our investor relations clients. We want their report cards to have all “A+” grades.

Have a great day.

This Yahoo! homepage headline should link to your IR content, not to a stock newsletter

If you don’t maximize the value of your shareholder communications content, others will take your audience from you.

The recent results from our Shareholder Confidence 365 Study reported that ‘pert-near 50% of investors read conference call transcripts. I suggested that an IR department should take a proactive role in offering this coveted content to shareholders and potential investors and take the simple action of posting your transcripts on your IR website.

This Yahoo! home page reinforces that opinion. A stock newsletter grabbing your investors’ interest away from you. Meow.

YAHOO_TRABSCRIPTS

You want the investors who are interested in your company coming inbound to your IR website, not to a stock newsletter. Once investors come inbound, you can measure and target your outbound.

Click here to learn how we do this.  

Heck, lose your inhibitions!! Send a short (inexpensive, notice & access-ish) media release announcing your “Q2 Earnings Call Transcript is Available” with a link back to your IR Room. Investor relations practitioners should re-purpose any and all their existing content, creating inbound activity. Once investors come inbound, you can measure and target your outbound.

Yes, yes, I’m partial to sending press releases. But regardless of the $ to us, it’s one of the first lines of content marketing’s offensive – and always a safe and solid distribution choice for IR. 

Have a great day.

Content is the missing link between investor relations and social media

Within the past two months, there has been a torrent of opinions regarding investor relations and social media, much of it ignited from the Wells Notice sent to Netflix in December and Zipcar’s issuing an 8-k after their CEO’s tweet.

As I read through the torrent of pundits, many of them inflammatory towards the SEC, one over-arching point stood out to me: “oh for Pete’s sake, are we STILL talking about this topic.”

There are three reasons investor relations and social media remain odd bedfellows.

  1. Risk of selective disclosure
  2. Lack of unique content
  3. No content marketing methodologies

Risk of selective disclosure

By their actions, investor relations officers have told our industry, in no uncertain terms, that social media will not work for them. The risk of material disclosure real – and let’s not accuse the SEC of being out-of-date on this topic. The SEC’s job is to protect investors, and from their desks it’s a lot wiser NOT to open the Pandora’s Box of social media to further release the kraken of fraudulent promotional practices already pervasive throughout social media.

Lack of unique content

Investor relations has a great depth of material and important content, but per RegFD, it is widely repurposed and repackaged.

The strength of social media is its real-time delivery of unique content. Unlike marketing (ahem), as a role within their corporation, Investors relations itself does not create the type of content conducive to social media. From a tactical communications perspective, together, the words “unique” and “real-time” do not favor RegFD. Remember, predatory investors are like paparazzi waiting for a wardrobe malfunction.

No content marketing methodologies

For many marketing departments, the term “social media” has taken a back seat to “content marketing” and that’s the direction we are guiding our investor relations clients.

Shareholder Confidence 365 Study offers surprising insights on investor engagement

This may seem like a lipstick/pig vocabulary exercise, but it has a purpose: it brings clarity to the communication goal. Tight measurement of outbound communications efforts for ROI. In other words, proving that “social media” has tangible results BEFORE the customers’ final purchasing (investing) decision. As stated in our new Shareholder Confidence 365 Study, the crux of inbound (ROI) strategy is your investor relations website. Download the report here.

PR Newswire is a communications company and a firm believer in social media / content marketing. We HIGHLY RECOMMEND that IR departments are listening to the social media stream: following their cashtag, etc.

This blog discussion is about actively participating and understanding the value in balance to the work and risk. Our new investor relations website solution, IR Room, utilizes inbound content marketing technologies to clearly demonstrate the ROI of outbound investor relations communications and help target new communications.

What the heck! With the upcoming frappe’ of Thomson and NASDAQ IR websites business, now is a very appropriate time to re-evaluate your investor relations website. To that, our new report has interesting insights on how your investors consume your investor relations content.

Have a great day.

IR Room App – alerts and convenience

I don’t need to explain to anyone that tablet and smart device use escalates each day. You can gauge that for yourself per it seems every other television commercial is for a smart device or a wire plan. More analytically, we also have our investor survey coming out with data on smart device ownership by investors.

What I do want to explain is, in my opinion, the #1 benefit of implementing an IR Room App: the news and SEC alerts display to investors. News and SEC files are the top “inbound marketing” content investors want. The IR Room App assures that your mobile investors will see your company’s momentum. This is a screen capture of my iPad.

 The IR Room App is "perfectly priced"

Convenience is a subjective term. In this context, it refers to the 24/7 anywhere attributes of mobile devices. Investors and media will read your news at their pace and with the more focused intimacy that tablets offer… while others will see the breaking news and instantly act (Buy! Hold! Sell! Punt!) on the news.

2013 IR needs a mobile strategy, even if it’s a “lite” version to start.  The IR Room App is VERY easy-to-launch for your department. Learn how effortless it is to get your own app.

Have a great day.

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OTC Markets Group and PR Newswire Announce Enhanced News Distribution through the OTCIQ.com Portal

November 27, 2012 – New York, NY – OTC Markets Group (OTCQX: OTCM), the operator of Open, Transparent and Connected financial marketplaces for 10,000 U.S. and global securities, and PR Newswire, the global leader of innovative marketing, communications and investor relations solutions, today announced a strategic partnership that will provide OTCQX, OTCQB and OTC Pink companies a seamless and cost-effective way to broaden the dissemination of company news and information to investors and mitigate SEC risk.

PR Newswire has integrated its news distribution service with OTC Markets Group’s OTCIQ.com, an IR and business intelligence portal for OTCQX, OTCQB and OTC Pink companies. This integration enables OTCIQ.com subscribers, including SEC reporting companies, to comply with disclosure requirements by providing convenient access to the tools needed to communicate timely information to analysts, investors and the media.

This new premium offering gives OTCIQ.com subscribers the ability to maximize the distribution of their news through PR Newswire’s expansive network, including local and national media outlets, websites, online databases and Reg. FD compliant news portals, as well as through the OTC Disclosure & News Service network of broker-dealers, market data providers and financial websites.

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“The integration of OTCIQ.com with PR Newswire provides OTCQX, OTCQB, and OTC Pink traded companies with an enhanced news distribution service and single point of access to distribute news and information and meet disclosure requirements,” said R. Cromwell Coulson, CEO of OTC Markets Group. “This new feature will streamline the communications process for companies and better enable their investors to efficiently analyze, value and trade securities traded on our marketplace. We are always looking for ways to improve the transparency and connectivity of our platform.”

In December, PR Newswire will further this integration by feeding the press releases of OTCIQ.com subscribers to the OTC Disclosure & News Service. As a result, companies will have the option of using OTCIQ.com or PR Newswire to distribute press releases. OTCQX companies that were previously required to upload their press releases to both interfaces will now also have the option to choose one platform for news distribution.

“The seamless integration of our distribution portal within OTCIQ.com helps OTCQX, OTCQB and OTC Pink companies overcome two of their biggest challenges – greater capital markets visibility and simplified shareholder communications workflow,” said Liam Power, Senior Vice President at PR Newswire. “OTC Markets Group is keenly aware of its issuers’ needs and we’re pleased they have embedded PR Newswire as the solution for companies to reach investors, engage with media and continually drive their financial brands.”