San Francisco Disclosure Experts Discuss Guidance, Social Media in Today’s IR Landscape

June 25, 2009

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Business Wire San Francisco hosted a breakfast event June 11 at the historic Palace Hotel, where more than 30 area investor relations and media relations professionals gathered for a panel discussion on the most relevant and timely issues in corporate disclosure and investor relations.

The event, titled “An Investor Relations Survival Guide: IR Strategies for the New Age of Corporate Transparency and Accountability,” focused on a discussion of the changing regulatory environment, including how different companies deal with the issue of earnings guidance, compliance challenges and social media’s place in the IR landscape. It was part of Business Wire’s Spring Investor Relations Conference Series, which has also included events in New York and Boston.

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Don Clark (far left), Deputy Bureau Chief, Wall Street Journal moderated a panel of disclosure experts and thought leaders, including (from left to right):

Among the key points discussed:

  • When discussing earnings releases, Mr. Clark identified comparisons as his pet peeve. Everything the media does is about comparing what happened to what happened in the past. He said it’s amazing how often companies will report the “net income of this or that,” but won’t have the comparison. Then the media has to dig to see the earnings drop. Mr. Clark thinks that everyone can see right through that because it’s obvious when a company is doing well since they’ll crow about it in the first sentence.
  • Mr. Schrader noted that the issue of confirming guidance is extremely sensitive and ambiguous. Once a company has issued earnings guidance, can they communicate with analysts to confirm later that the guidance is still current? Mr. Schrader believes confirming guidance is selective disclosure. Even though there’s a school of thought that says that if what you confirm is within what you’ve already put out, it’s already out in the marketplace anyway, to him, it’s a very risky policy. He believes the SEC will take action on this issue in the near future.
  • Commenting on using social media for IR communications, Mr. Hughes notes that, in his opinion, platforms like blogging make more sense on the corporate communications side. He believes financial information is too delicate to put on blogs. Additionally, because one of the great struggles in investor relations is getting investors to see the long-term business cycle and strategy, he isn’t sure that social media platforms, built for instantaneous communication, supports that goal.
  • Mr. Jelter says there’s too much “noise” in earnings releases. He says the best practice to have is to keep it simple and keep it clean. He listed what he likes to see clearly reported: “Net earnings, net loss, operating revenue, operating loss and guidance.” As Mr. Jelter put it, “write for your Aunt Virginia.” Make your release accessible and don’t bog down in a lot of terminology.
  • Mr. Schuman notes that Intel does not like using PDF for disseminating earnings releases. HTML is much more accessible, particularly with mobile devices.

Local Business Wire offices host several events each year on PR, IR, SEO & media topics.  Check out the Business Wire Events page to find upcoming events in your area.

Follow Business Wire events on Twitter! Hash tag #bwevents


Press Release Case Study #1: Lessons Learned From Texas Armoring Corporation

June 23, 2009

We had such a successful webinar last week on press release case studies that I thought I’d recap and suggest “lessons learned” from each case.

For those who missed our webinar, we took five recent press releases and asked our clients:

1.  What was the goal of the press release?

2.  Did the press release meet or exceed expectations?  and,

3.  Was it worth it?

All five clients answered the above questions “YES.”  Each example featured a great story, well told, and smartly distributed.  In our webinar poll, Texas Armoring Corporation won the “readers’ choice” for favorite case study of the five presented. 

No surprise.  This press release had everything:  a great story including the drama of guns, violence, and international intrigue, a timely news hook (carjackings of the wealthy in Mexico), and a rich, well-built news release complete with a photo and deep links.  When the Associated Press picked up the story, well, read on….

Texas Armoring Corporation

Circuit:  San Antonio/Metro and Mexico w/ photo

Texas Armoring Corporation (TAC) is a small company of 50 in San Antonio, Texas, that transforms cars into armored vehicles. One car cult website described TAC as “a Texas company building pedestrian-looking cars capable of withstanding snipers and IEDs.”Univision featured Texas Armoring Corporation after a successful press release.

In addition to visibility and branding, TAC’s goal for this press release was to generate sales leads from private, wealthy individuals concerned with safety in Mexico. Their initial Business Wire release was widely syndicated and produced respectable link clicks,  but when the story was picked up by the Associated Press, a media avalanche ensued.

Geraldo, CNN, and myriad TV affiliates jumped on the press release–even in español!   A reporter from Univision visited the TAC facility and recorded dramatic footage of an AK-47 blasting at a TAC-treated windshield and resulting only in a bullet sized hole with spiderweb cracked glass.  Very impressive.

Jason Forston, Executive VicePresident of Texas Armoring,  relayed that he did no pitching, and yet more than 160 editorial articles and dozens of video clips resulted from the press release.   “Our competitors are now imitating our every move—we’re truly leading the industry in a new way as a result of the coverage,” said Forston.

“It’s hard to quantify where every single lead comes from, ” said Forston.  “We had three- four sales from the U.S.–direct sales from the press release.”   NOTE:  a sale is worth more than six figures to Texas Armoring.

Lesson learned:  A great story, excellent photos and formatting, deep links that drive traffic, and turning the head of your local AP reporter can result in massive coverage that drives sales.

To watch the entire press release case studies webinar, check out the archived event.

Do you have an impressive press release case study that involves Business Wire services? Email monika.maeckle@businesswire.com.


Boston-Area Investor Relations Professionals and Business Media Explain “Transparency” in an Increasingly Online Environment

June 16, 2009

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Business Wire Boston hosted a breakfast event June 11, where investor relations and media relations professionals from across New England gathered to discuss best practices in corporate disclosure and how to manage the flow of information in the digital age.

The panel discussion, “Communications Strategies for the New Age of Corporate Transparency and Accountability,” focused on the meaning of disclosure as dictated by the SEC, the appearance of transparency versus actual accountability and the importance of simultaneously disclosing important financial news.

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Matt Kelly, Editor of Compliance Week, moderated the panel, which also included:

Among the key points made by the panel:

  • Ms. Gates explained that statements made online on websites and through mediums such as Twitter are still just as liable as press releases when it comes to classifying official company information, and those posts are therefore still regulated by the SEC. She stressed that IR professionals need to treat digital mediums like blogs and tweets with gravity.
  • Mr. Takazawa echoed Ms. Gates’ conservative view of disclosure explaining that many companies mistake detail for transparency and that to put too much information out there for investors will only dilute the message.
  • When embracing a social media policy, Mr. Takazawa again said it is important not to have too much “noise” and let communications get out of control. By limiting those with the authority to post information or speak to the press to a highly vetted few, communications can stay on message and not distract investors.
  • Mr. Pressman stressed the importance of simultaneous disclosure and the use of a primary newswire when disseminating financial news explaining that there are 5,000 companies he follows and he does not have time to go to thousands of websites each day looking for company news.
  • Mr. Quaratiello elaborated on the importance of disclosure and not “burying the facts,” noting that when the Boston Herald receives annual reports that have pages and pages of text, his team assumes the company has something to hide and reporters skip right to the notes section.
  • Mr. Pressman stressed the limitations of reporting on stories first posted via sites such as Twitter because of the lack of reputation and authority. Mr. Quarantiello, who described his publication as more of a tabloid at times, said his team tends to pick up more stories online these days. He said that a CEO on Twitter might be a scary thought for an IR professional, but from his standpoint, “we’ll eat it up.”

Local Business Wire offices host several events each year on PR, IR and media topics.  Check out the Business Wire Events page to find upcoming events in your area.

Follow Business Wire events on Twitter! Hash tag #bwevents


Upcoming Business Wire Events – June 10 Edition

June 10, 2009

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Join Business Wire experts in your area for media breakfasts, panel discussions and other insightful events. We bring local media members and industry thought leaders to your market to discuss today’s most relevant topics, from writing for SEO to marketing with social media. Best of all, Business Wire events are usually free of charge. Check out some of our upcoming events in your area:

An Investor Relations Survival Guide: IR Strategies for the New Age of Corporate Transparency and Accountability

Hosted by Business Wire San Francisco

Today’s financial crisis is certain to lead to greater corporate disclosure and accountability standards. Ironically, the definition of transparency itself has become muddied as a result of considerable — and often deliberate — misinformation in the marketplace. This Business Wire Spring Investor Relations Conference Series event will focus on the changing regulatory environment, the role of technology in investor outreach, revisiting Regulation FD, and the compliance challenges ahead. Don Clark, Deputy Bureau Chief, Wall Street Journal will moderate a panel of disclosure experts and thought leaders, including Jim Jelter, Corporate News Editor, MarketWatch; Peter Schuman, Manager, Investor Relations, Intel; Stephen Schrader, Partner, Baker & McKenzie LLP; and Alex Hughes, Director of IR, Dolby Labs. This event is free for Business Wire members and $15 for non-members.

Thursday, June 11 at 8:30am PST
The Palace Hotel
2 New Montgomery Street, French Parlor Room, Second Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105
To register: RSVP to Sandy Donnelly at sandy.donnelly@businesswire.com with the subject line: “Media Breakfast: An Investor Relations Survival Guide” or call 415.986.4422 x561

Crafting an Effective Press Release: A One-on-One with Bloomberg

Hosted by Business Wire Toronto

As journalists become increasingly inundated with news and information, it is vital to understand and leverage the effectiveness of a well crafted press release to maximize your coverage in the news. Join Business Wire Toronto and Bloomberg News for a one-on-one with Bloomberg Bureau Chief David Scanlan. Mr. Scanlan and his editorial team will share their valuable insights about what it takes to help your press release stand out amongst the thousands of others that cross the wire every day. This event is free for all attendees.

Thursday, June 25 at 2pm ET
43rd Floor, Brookfield Place, 161 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M5J 2T3‎
To register: RSVP by Tuesday, June 15 to Rhianna Padamsey at Rhianna.Padamsey@BusinessWire.com

For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/business-wire-events.

Follow Business Wire events on Twitter! Hash tag #bwevents


Business Wire PR Peeps Poll: Quality Rules over Quantity for Press Release Postings

June 3, 2009

When it comes to press releases, could it possibly be that less is more?  That’s what most of you said when asked what you most value:  the QUANTITY or the QUALITY of sites where press releases post.

Yep, according to the latest Business Wire PR Peeps Poll, QUALITY definitely rules.

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Almost 80% of you said that you value the quality of sites where your press releases post over the number of sites where it posts.  Only about 20% of you prefer more postings to better ones.

Interesting—and frankly, reassuring, given the ongoing quest for clicks, metrics and monitoring.  Here’s the poll breakdown:

Business Wire PR Peeps Poll for May 2009

  • 176 said quality of sites-78.57%
  • 48 said number of sites-21.42%

To those who participated, thanks for taking the poll.  And how about helping with the next one?    News release or Press Release? Which do you prefer?

224 respondents via Twitter and Business Wire webinar polls.  Poll conducted  May 6 – May 30, 2009.


Business Wire Partners with The Boston Globe for an All-Access Discussion

June 2, 2009

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Business Wire Boston hosted an exclusive luncheon event at The Boston Globe‘s headquarters May 21. The sold-out event featured speakers from a range of Globe departments including digital media, advertising and business reporting, drawing in more than 100 media relations professionals from across New England.

The event, “The Boston Globe and the Changing Media Landscape: An Inside Look at the Move from Print to Digital,” offered an overview of how The Globe, owned by The New York Times Company, is adapting to new business models in communication and incorporating new media techniques in reporting and advertising.

»A full recording of the discussion is available.

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The panelists (all with The Boston Globe, left to right):

  • Shirley Leung, Assistant Managing Editor of Business News
  • Sam Martin, Chief Advertising Officer
  • Susan Hunt Stevens, Senior Vice President for Digital
  • David Beard, Editor of Boston.com

Jack Jackson, President of PRSA in Boston and principal of On-Message PR, moderated the discussion.

Topics discussed included valuing media coverage in the print edition of The Globe versus Boston.com (the paper’s companion site), new revenue streams for the organization and how the paper went from zero to 35,000 Twitter followers in less than four months.

A video recording of the event, “The Boston Globe and the Changing Media Landscape,” can be found here: http://www.valedvideo.com/berkshire/video_home.html

For more information on local Business Wire events in your area and what’s coming up on our award-winning webinar series, be sure to check out upcoming Business Wire events.


Upcoming Business Wire Events – June 1 Edition

June 1, 2009

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Join Business Wire experts in your area for media breakfasts, panel discussions and other insightful events. We bring local media members and industry thought leaders to your market to discuss today’s most relevant topics, from writing for SEO to marketing with social media. Best of all, Business Wire events are usually free of charge. Check out some of our upcoming events in your area:

Breakfast with The South Florida Business Journal

Hosted by Business Wire Florida

Join Business Wire Florida for an in-depth discussion with Kevin Gale, Editor of the South Florida Business Journal. Enjoy continental breakfast while learning about the Journal‘s news operations in South Florida. This event is free for all attendees.

Tuesday, June 2 at 9:00am ET
Broward College
Willis Holcombe Center
111 East Las Olas Blvd. #1208 Boardroom, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301
To register: Please RSVP to Claudia Perez-Bonilla at Claudia.Perez@businesswire.com or call 954-474-8833 with the subject line “Media Breakfast: Breakfast with The South Florida Business Journal”

Press Releases: The Road Not Taken

Hosted by Business Wire Nashville

There’s a whole new world beyond the text press release. A little extra effort may net you big media results. Join Business Wire Nashville in this enlightening workshop where we will show you how multimedia, stylistic elements and SEO techniques can breathe more life into your release. This event is free for all attendees.

Tuesday, June 2 at 11:30am CT
Chapple Building, Magnolia Room
5115 Maryland Way, Brentwood, TN 37027
615.377.0700
To register: Please RSVP  to Business Wire at na_sales_group@businesswire.com or call 615.661.6123

Business Wire Luncheon: Social Media and Journalism: How Does One Influence the Other?

Hosted by Business Wire Seattle

The coming of social media has caused significant changes in traditional journalism. Social media gives everyone a voice: both average Joes & journalists are talking about organizations online & in print. Join a savvy panel of communications experts, including Todd Bishop of TechFlash.com, Blake Cahill of Visible Technologies, Hanson Hosein from University of Washington and Colleen Moffitt of Communiqué Public Relations and author of Strategic Public Relations: 10 Principles to Harness the Power of PR for an exciting discussion about social media and its relationship to journalism. Learn how journalism and social media influence each other, how our panel is leveraging their online communications and how you can create relevant content online. This event is free for Business Wire members and $20 for non-members at the door.

Follow this event on Twitter! Hashtag: #bwevents

Thursday, June 4 at 11:30am PST
Union Square Boardroom
One Union Square Building, First Level , 600 University Street, Seattle, WA 98101
To register: RSVP to Lauren Linscheid at Lauren.Linscheid@businesswire.com

An Investor Relations Survival Guide: IR Strategies for the New Age of Corporate Transparency and Accountability

Hosted by Business Wire San Francisco

Today’s financial crisis is certain to lead to greater corporate disclosure and accountability standards. Ironically, the definition of transparency itself has become muddied as a result of considerable — and often deliberate — misinformation in the marketplace. This Business Wire Spring Investor Relations Conference Series event will focus on the changing regulatory environment, the role of technology in investor outreach, revisiting Regulation FD, and the compliance challenges ahead. Don Clark, Deputy Bureau Chief, Wall Street Journal will moderate a panel of disclosure experts and thought leaders, including Jim Jelter, Corporate News Editor, MarketWatch; Peter Schuman, Manager, Investor Relations, Intel; Stephen Schrader, Partner, Baker & McKenzie LLP; and Alex Hughes, Director of IR, Dolby Labs. This event is free for Business Wire members and $15 for non-members.

Thursday, June 11 at 8:30am PST
The Palace Hotel
2 New Montgomery Street, French Parlor Room, Second Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105
To register: RSVP to Sandy Donnelly at sandy.donnelly@businesswire.com with the subject line: “Media Breakfast: An Investor Relations Survival Guide” or call 415.986.4422 x561 by Tuesday, June 9th

For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/business-wire-events.


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