Using PR Targeting and Measurement Strategies for Investor Relations

July 16, 2014

By Farah Merchant, Global Disclosure & Financial Reporting Services, Business Wire

Targeting, monitoring and measurement are essential to every successful public or investor communications program.

So how do you do it?

The first step for any effective program is to identify or ‘target’ your organization’s correct audience. If performed early on in the communications program, a great deal of time and money will be saved. The earlier you can set up your conversation monitoring, and metrics, the more time you have to make adjustments or changes, as the data dictates.

The Barcelona Building Blocks, the first set of PR measurement rules, were introduced in June 2010 at the Second European Summit on Measurement by The Barcelona Declaration of Measurement Principles and include the following tenets:

  • Goal setting and measurement are fundamental aspects of any PR program.
  • Measuring the effect on outcomes is preferred to measuring outputs.
  • The effect on business results should  be measured where possible.
  • Media measurement requires quantity and quality.
  • Advertising value equivalents (AVEs) are not the value of public relations.
  • Social media can, and should be measured.
  • Transparency and ability to duplicate results are paramount to sound measurement.

When it comes to measurement, IR and PR teams approach it differently.  While both use qualitative and quantitative methods of measurement, investor relations communicators tend to see more value in qualitative metrics. Moving towards a measurement process that combines qualitative and subjective metrics can be a challenge.  While there may be some overlap, Investor relations teams monitor different terms and audiences, all which produce different outcomes. The role of investor relations today includes complying with SEC regulations as well as engaging with and listening to vast array of audiences such as regulators, analysts, investors and media.

Investor relations departments have traditionally measured progress based on either outputs or outcomes.

Output measures items such as number of analysts covering the company, quality of analyst coverage, and media coverage – traditional, online and social, all which can directly influence stock price.

Outcomes are what IR professionals tend to be measured upon – achieving a fair market value for the stock. Measuring outcomes by program does not allow for proper attribution of the external impact from industry activity, roadshows or previous campaigns or news. However, in the wake of the 2008-2009 financial crisis, share price is not necessarily the best metric for evaluating an IRO’s success.

In 2014, conversation analysis is a standard part of any communication program.  While some IROs are catching up, other investor relations teams are allocating larger portions of their budgets to measurement and evaluation. According to a survey conducted by NIRI in 2011 on “How IR Programs Measure Up”, IROs had only allocated 1 to 5 percent of their total operating budgets to this area. Public relation departments, on the other hand, reported an increase from 4 to 9 percent in total amount of budget that corporations were allocating to the measurement of PR and communication programs.

To establish a successful investor relations monitoring program, IROs must first come up with guidelines for conducting and measuring an IR campaign including:

  • Defining the target audience – investors, analysts, shareholders, activists, reporters and more
  • Creating key messaging for these audiences that feature positive company information most likely to impact audience perception;
  • Determining social and traditional communication channels such as press releases, online newsrooms, IR sites, blogs, email, text messaging, social channels and more;
  • Taking a new look at IR communication programs to ensure ideal impact upon the reader.  These can include quarterly and annual reports, conference calls, road show presentations, press releases, and most recently social media;
  • And finally actively conducting perception studies by engaging directly with investors and analysts about the effectiveness of a company’s investor communications, the responsiveness of the IR team and the quality of disclosure.

Social media has not played as prominent a role in the realm of IR targeting/monitoring but this is changing quickly.  IROs should be putting emphasis on tracking the temperature of their company via social media channels.

The right approach to measuring the impact of an investor relations program is to focus on your objectives and to measure the results that affect your objectives.

Think about what you’re trying to achieve in your communication campaign, i.e. identifying conversations about your key terms, the audiences you want to engage with and the results you want to achieve.  Goals can include identifying all conversation types, increasing positive discussions of your company within core audiences, decreasing hype or message misalignments.

Once you know your audience, consider what kind of conversation and materials you want to share with them.  This will vary by platform.  For example:

  • If you find discussions are on Twitter, add images to your Tweets to receive higher shares and engagement. Don’t forget to monitor your cashtag ($ sign + ticker) to capture direct discussions about your stock
  • LinkedIn discussions are generally textual, but images receive much larger space on the page, so upload an image with your update and link to increase impact
  • Facebook varies its content by the user’s preference, so use a mix of video, images and text and track the results to determine impact
  • YouTube is the world’s largest video library. With billions of videos watched daily, it is not surprising that more than 30% of all searches are related to news

Monitoring must also include identifying important trends in consumer opinion and top influencers, activist activity and then tracking changes over time.

NUVI bubble stream

The NUVI Bubble Stream

At the 2014 NIRI National Conference, we had the opportunity to see the impact of traditional and social communications on company reputation and stock price via the NUVI’s social media monitoring platform.  In one easy step, by simply typing in the company name and cashtag (a dollar sign + ticker symbol), one could instantly  identify conversations, discussion trends, influencers,  message adoption and geo-resonance, all data used to create a better, stronger IR communication program.

The principles of measurement, albeit designed for PR professionals, are just as applicable to IROs.  Although differences do exist between the roles of public relations and investor relations, i.e. different stakeholders, there is still a great deal of overlap.  IROs will benefit by developing a standard of measurement using the methods that PR professionals have implemented as a guideline and making them more relevant to the financial health and reputation of the organization.

Have questions on how to create an IR program that embraces these principles?  Let us know! We work with thousands of public companies around the globe, ensuring we stay on the forefront of investor relations best practices.


Tips, tricks and advice for today’s PR, IR and Marketing Professionals

October 19, 2013

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social & Evolving Media

What a week!  There were so many great news pieces, platform changes, tips and more that we had to commit an entire blog to sharing them with you.

Below please find this week’s top stories for public relations, corporate communications, investor relations and marketing communication professionals.

Social Platform + Search Engine Updates

Media + Research

Tips, Tricks and Best Practices

Did you find this list useful?  Did we miss anything?  If so, please share below, we are always looking for compelling information we can share with our audience!


Editor’s Corner: PR Disasters! Why a Crisis Comm Plan is Critical

October 20, 2011
by Fawzy Zablah, Editor, Business Wire/Florida

by Fawzy Zablah, Editor, BW Florida

Ever since “the father of modern public relations,” Ivy Lee, sent out what most consider the first press release following the 1906 Atlantic City train wreck, companies, individuals, governments and news agencies have participated in an unofficial competition to win what I call “the best told story contest.” It’s a race that is not won by the “best story” per se, but the victor is usually either the first to get there, truth-tellers, or the best re-arranger of reality. It’s a race that must be run whether you own a newly opened restaurant or a tech company.

Let’s travel to more modern times, and take as an example the most recent Blackberry outage issues which have turned out to be a PR nightmare for Research in Motion (RIM). During a crisis, a company should never have a slow response because it shows a lack of control over the situation. And even if the situation is not under control, your PR assault should always confidently be the first to storm the beach.

These days, companies need to be aware of how critical it is to have a quick line of communication with customers, whether through issuing press releases regarding recent events or via direct statements to the press. A company always has to appear like it’s in control as far as good PR is concerned, even if it isn’t. Ivy Lee knew that as soon as word got out of the Atlantic City train wreck, rumors would swirl, the story would grow legs of its own and it would no longer be his client’s story. That’s why the first rule of crisis management is to communicate. The beginning of the crisis is the most critical period, and it sets the tone for the rest of the incident.

So let’s finish this crisis management lesson with thoughts Ivy Lee espoused so long ago, and which are now a golden rule of PR: “Tell the truth, because sooner or later the public will find out anyway. And if the public doesn’t like what you are doing, change your policies and bring them into line with what people want.”

With 31 bureaus around the world and more newsrooms than all of our competitors combined, Business Wire is proud to provide local expertise and superior service, backed by the most accurate editors in the world. In Editor’s Corner, we ask some of our best to chime in on how to get the most out of your press release, based on their years of experience in the industry.


Upcoming Business Wire Events: Meet the Media in Chicago, Crisis Comm in Atlanta, Visit Bloomberg in Toronto

May 5, 2011

Upcoming Business Wire Events

Wake Up With the Chicago Media

Hosted by Business Wire Chicago

Rise and (make your pitches) shine! Join Business Wire Chicago for breakfast and meet the producers and editors from some of Chicago’s most sought-after outlets. Find out who wants to be pitched via social media, how you can make a great first impression and where the best PR opportunities exist in each of these hot media outlets. Kimberly Eberl, President at Motion PR, will moderate the panel, which includes: Kathryn Born, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, TINC Magazine (Technology Industry News – Chicago); Susanna Negovan, Editor-in-Chief, Michigan Avenue Magazine; and Kathryn Janicek, Daypart Manager/Executive Producer, NBC Chicago. This event is free for all attendees.

Thursday, May 12 at 8 a.m. CT
Maggiano’s Little Italy – Chicago
Antinori Room, 516 N. Clark St. (banquet entrance is on Grand Ave.), Chicago, IL 60654

To register: Please send an e-mail to Abbie Sullivan at Abbie.Sullivan@BusinessWire.com BEFORE Friday, May 6. Be sure to include your name, the name of your company, and a phone number where you can be reached. Please note that seating is limited. We request no more than 2 guests per organization.

Media Breakfast on Crisis Communications

Hosted by Business Wire Atlanta

From a natural disaster to a negative blog post, is your company prepared to manage a communications crisis? Now is a great time to go over the basics of crisis communications and reputation management. Join us as our experts share their thoughts on some key steps to following when responding to a crisis, rebuilding trust and how best to address the media during a crisis. Panelists include: Andrew McCaskill, V.P. & Group Director, William Mills Agency; Chris Joyner, State Government Reporter, Atlanta Journal Constitution; and Chris Sweigart, Manager of Digital Content, WXIA NBC, 11alive.com.

Thursday, May 26 at 7:30 a.m. ET
Anthony’s Fine Dining
3109 Piedmont Road Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30305

To register: RSVP to Matt Johnson at 770.667.7500 or email matthew.johnson@businesswire.com.

Bloomberg Editorial Briefing Session

Hosted by Business Wire Toronto

Join Business Wire Canada for an exclusive intimate conversation with Bloomberg News editors and reporters at Bloomberg’s Toronto offices.  Please join us for a complimentary breakfast and informal chat with four members of Bloomberg’s esteemed team to hear their collective insights on how not to have your hard work end up on the news room floor. Speakers include: Paul Davitt, Team Leader, Bloomberg Sales; Sean Pasternak, Bloomberg Banking Reporter; Steve Frank, Bloomberg Commodities Industry Editor; and David Scanlan, Bloomberg Bureau Chief. This event is free for all attendees.

Friday, May 27 at 8:30 a.m. ET
Bloomberg
Brookfield Place, Canada Trust Tower, 161 Bay st., Suite 4300, Toronto, ON

To register: RSVP to Katrina Bolak at 416.593.0208 or email katrina.bolak@businesswire.com by May 23.

Business Wire holds dozens of local events every year. We bring local media members and industry thought leaders to your market to discuss today’s most relevant topics, from trends in today’s newsrooms to writing for SEO. Events are usually free of charge to members. For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit BusinessWire.com. Follow live updates from Business Wire events on Twitter: hash tag #bwevents


Florida Media Luncheon Results in Tips for Crisis Communications Planning

April 13, 2011

by Julia Sotelo, Client Services Representative, BW Florida

Business Wire Florida held “CRISIS! Expect the Unexpected: Plan, Manage, & Respond,” a media luncheon for South Florida Professionals on March 30 hosted by JM Family Enterprises Inc. and moderated by Amy Wagner, former Senior Vice President, Investor Relations and Global Communications of Burger King.

Panelists included:

Laura Vann, Public Relations Specialist,  Lynn University Marketing and Communication

Don Silver, Chief Operating Officer, Boardroom Communications

Elianne Gonzalez, Hispanic Press Officer,  Insurance Information Institute

Wayne K. Roustan, General Assignment Reporter,  South Florida Sun Sentinel

Laura Vann, Lynn University

Laura Vann, Lynn University

Laura Vann gave a moving presentation on the Lynn University Crisis following the aftermath of the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which involved 12 students and two professors.

Vann discussed Lynn University’s unenviable circumstance of false information that reported some students were safe when in fact that was incorrect. The University acted quickly with a clarifying a press conference.

Don Silver opened the panel discussion with Crisis Management tips. Among them:

  • Deal with crisis immediately.  Seek a short term solution that will save time, grief, damage to your brand and the company.
  • Remind everybody, especially those that answer phones, who at the organization can speak on behalf of the company.
  • Know the media that covers your company. Understand their news cycles, how they work, what they need, and how they need it.
  • Monitor.  Keep Lexis/Nexis, Google and different news alerts active for your company, clients, brand names, etc.

Wayne K. Roustan shared 30 years of media expertise in covering crisis situations. His first insight:   how media are expected to do the impossible on multiple platforms. “It’s just non-stop feed the beast. So if the media knows when the news is coming they won’t pester you. You are controlling the situation.”

Elianne Gonzalez stated a common mistake organizations make during a crisis situation is that they forget to keep a printed copy of the Crisis Plan handy just in case the power goes out and/or loss of communication. She also pointed out the plan should include contact information for the company’s spokes persons.

Ibrey Woodall was on hand to share Business Wire’s Crisis Communications online tool. Woodall discussed a Darksite feature that allows communicators to prepare a crisis plan and implement it in the backend.


Upcoming Business Wire Events: Powerful Pitches in Cleveland, Crisis Comm in Florida, Meet the Tech Media in LA

March 21, 2011

Upcoming Business Wire Events

Powerful Pitches

Hosted by Business Wire Cleveland

Just about everything in a communications professional’s life involves some form of pitching. A successful pitch involves a great deal of persuasion and creativity. Join Business Wire Cleveland for a breakfast seminar featuring Jim Kukral, web entrepreneur, blogger, professional speaker, educator and author of two books – Attention! This Book Will Make You Money and The Ultimate Pitch. Jim will draw from his years of experience counseling major corporations, entrepreneurs and small businesses to provide you with the tools and inspiration to prepare powerful pitches that will grab attention and help you accomplish your goals. This event is free for all attendees.

Thursday, March 24 at 8:00 a.m. ET
The City Club of Cleveland
850 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44114

To register: Please RSVP to Melissa Chambers at melissa.chambers@businesswire.com

CRISIS! Expect the Unexpected: Plan, Manage, & Respond

Hosted by Business Wire Florida

Join Business Wire Florida & JM Family Enterprises, Inc. for this in-depth panel discussion with South Florida media and crisis communications experts. Amy Wagner, former SVP of Investor Relations and Global Communications of Burger King Corp hosts the panel, which includes Laura Vann, Public Relations Specialist, Lynn University Marketing and Communication; Don Silver, Chief Operating Officer, Boardroom Communications; Elianne Gonzalez, Hispanic Press Officer, Insurance Information Institute; and Wayne K. Roustan, General Assignment Reporter, South Florida Sun Sentinel. This event is free for all attendees.

Wednesday, March 30 at 11:30 a.m. ET
JM Family Enterprises Inc.

111 Jim Moran Blvd., Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

To register: Please RSVP by Friday, March 25 to Julia Sotelo at Julia.Sotelo@businesswire.com or call 954-474-8833.

Meet the Media: LA-area Technology Journalists Discuss Reporting Trends and how to Pitch Tech Media

Hosted by Business Wire LA

Join Business Wire LA for breakfast and a panel discussion featuring technology journalists as they share their thoughts on what makes a good story and learn how your organization can increase its chances of being covered by the media. Panelists include: Natalie Jarvey, Reporter (Technology), Los Angeles Business Journal; Kevin Kelly, Features Editor, G4tv.com; and Brian Deagon, Business and Technology Journalist, Investor’s Business Daily. This event is free for all attendees.

Thursday, March 31 at 8:00 a.m. PT
The Olympic Collection
11301 West Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064

To register: Please RSVP by March 29 to Garrett Henricksen or Heather Hardge at (310) 820-9473 or email larsvp@businesswire.com.


Business Wire holds dozens of local events every year. We bring local media members and industry thought leaders to your market to discuss today’s most relevant topics, from trends in today’s newsrooms to writing for SEO. Events are usually free of charge to members. For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit BusinessWire.com. Follow live updates from Business Wire events on Twitter: hash tag
#bwevents


Social Media ROI in Cincinnati

May 14, 2010

On Wednesday, May 12, PR and marketing professionals from the Greater Cincinnati area attended our event, “Social Media ROI: Being Seen Is Not Enough.”  Our expert panel consisted of:

The panel addressed an audience of around 36 people who came to The Phoenix on a rainy morning to hear them discuss topics related to the adoption, uses, benefits and pitfalls of social media. Moderator Michael DeAloia got the ball rolling with a short PowerPoint presentation, then asked the panel to define social media and took off from there.  Each of the panelists was asked if there was a key metric they would consider for measuring ROI for social media.  Daniel Lally feels that it depends on what your strategy and goals are, while Krista Neher takes a different approach:

Later, the panel was asked to explain what they felt was the business rationalization for the use of social media. After James Pilcher discussed using it to confront business/branding problems, using the infamous “Comcast Technician Sleeping on my Couch” video as an example, an audience member asked whether stories like Comcast’s were why some companies are reluctant to start using social media:

There’s a genuine upside to getting into the social media sphere, as Pilcher demonstrated with a story about how Procter & Gamble is using social media strategies to combat negative stories, and their customers are helping:

The panel covered other topics, ranging from whether Google is still the most important outlet on the internet (a unanimous “YES”) to how social media is changing journalism to whether social media is here to stay.

The entire event, with all the questions and answers, will be available for download on Monday. Check back here or on our Twitter feed for updates.

Be sure to look for upcoming Business Wire events both in your area and online, and follow the #bwevents hashtag on Twitter for live updates from our events and webinars.


Social Media for Crisis Communications

December 9, 2009

PR practitioners — the good ones — know that having a crisis communications plan in place for their companies or clients is a key part of best practices.  And, as with pretty much every aspect of communications today, social media is making an impact here as well.  Thomas Crampton of Ogilvy PR’s 360 Digital Influence recently moderated a panel discussing both the effect of social media in creating a PR crisis, and the use of those same tools to manage, mitigate and recover.

As an indicator of how quickly things change in the web and social media worlds, take a look at slide 17, which shows “Search” as a factor in spreading buzz in hour 24 of a crisis.  That was accurate at the time this panel was conducted; as of Monday, with the announcement of Google real-time search results, “Search” has moved from hour 24 to hour 1. 

The implication here is pretty clear:  If you aren’t out in front of potential (or actual!) bad PR, someone else will be, and they’ll be doing it online where the results are searchable.  Dialogue and transparency are crucial, as is an official statement from your company that reaches customers and potential customers everywhere.

Check out the whole slide show for some more insights and a great framework for creating your own crisis communications plan.


Google Comments Offers New Opportunities for Communicators

October 30, 2007

 Google News 

One of the goals of our Business Wired blog is to provide readers with better tools for communicating their messages in the ever-changing media landscape. Today we are happy to highlight a service we’ve been following with much interest that we and our friends in Google News thought would be of value to Business Wire clients.  

Earlier this year Google News launched a comments feature that allows individuals or organizations that are mentioned in news articles to add their own comments. Comments are then served up alongside those articles on Google News.  

Josh Cohen, Google News’ Product Manager explains: “Google News has always tried to present as many sources as possible to give our users a wide spectrum of views on the news.  Comments is an experimental feature that we believe will continue this goal by letting readers see exactly what people in a story think about current news.  We think this will help us increase the number of diverse and meaningful points of view on the news.”  

So how is this different from any comment section or discussion board? Well, on Google News only persons or organizations who are specifically mentioned in the story can comment. Google News then contacts the person submitting the comment or others in their organization to verify their identity. As a result, each story is expected to have only a handful of highly relevant comments that give readers a more in-depth look at topics in the news. Cohen adds: “their insight will both help readers understand the news, and cover views that may not be well-published or well-understood within the current coverage”. 

For PR professionals and marketers, this is an excellent opportunity to provide greater detail or clarifications when their press releases receive media pick-up. Also, it creates a new channel to follow-up on a press release with updates, success stories, or links to other relevant stories. Finally, it is another form of reaching out to your audience and participating in the conversation. While these comments differ from commenting on blogs or engaging in social networks, they can be a valuable part of the new communications mix.  

So how can you comment on a story that is relevant to your company or client?  According to the instructions on Google News you should send an email to news-comments@google.com containing the following information:

  1. Your comment (hyperlinks allowed, but no attachments)
  2. A link to the story you are commenting on
  3. Your contact details: name, title, and organization
  4. A way to verify your email address

Verification is one of the central components of Google’s comments feature. Therefore it is highly recommended to provide as much information that Google News staff can use (for example adding contact details of persons who can verify your credentials, or, if you are submitting a comment on behalf of a client, demonstrating that you are indeed authorized to speak for them). Keep in mind that Google News will not edit comments once the sender is verified, so they will be posted exactly as you emailed them. 

So the next time your press release or related articles are shown on Google News and you feel you have more valuable input to share, this can be a great new outlet. Please look at the Google Comments instructions page for more details. 

As usual, we’re happy to hear what you think. If you’ve already used Google Comments or would like to share your own thoughts about it, feel free to comment below.


Product Recalls and the Press Release: Crisis Tool and Opportunity

April 19, 2007

The recent spate of product recalls–from pet food to peanut butter–has me thinking about the role of press releases in the universe of crises. I’m not the only one.

Google noted in its Consumer Packaged Goods blog recently that for the first time in six years, a product recall placed in the #1 and #2 positions in top gaining Google searches.

Noting that “breaking news fuels online searches,” (REALLY?) Google detailed what companies should do during product recalls in the context of online search.

The search giant’s #1 recommendation: Ensure the official information is available by immediately routing searches to the press release and official statements the moment it is available online.”

The press release as foundation document will never go away. Hear that social media types beating the drum on the demise of the press release?

Those sharp enough to leverage that press release not only as media relations tools, but as search engine optimized, direct-to-consumer content pages will weather a recall better than those who don’t bother.

Meanwhile, savvy PR pros like David Muise of Full Spectrum Media seize the opportunity to take the offensive in distinguishing their brands from those tainted. Muise represents Life’s Abundance, an all natural pet food wholesome enough for people to eat.

On April 4, Muise ran a release on Business Wire and EON Enhanced Online News with the headline “Pet Food Recall Has Pet Owners Turning to www.HealthyDogsUSA.com for Safe, Holistic Dog and Cat Food Alternatives.” The story rated third most-viewed release on Business Wire that day and Muise’s NewsTrak access report reflected almost 1,000 views in the first 24 hours.

“My goal was to reach the consumer and let them know they could be educated and that they have options,” said Muise, adding that the press release distro resulted in more than 250 online requests for pet food samples. “The conversion rate on samples is between 65 and 70 percent,” says Muise. Dr. Jane Bicks, Life’s Abundance founder and a holistic veterinarian, was also tapped by scores of journalists as an expert on pet nutrition, which resulted in ancillary positive publicity and web traffic, “even though the press release had no hard news in it,” says Muise.

Recalls are challenging for PR practitioners and press releases will always be a great tool for managing such challenges. One company’s bad news may breed opportunity for competitors, but in a nod to Don Imus, we at Business Wire and EON: Enhanced Online News insist that clients be tactful. We reserve the right to refuse copy that is “blatantly opportunistic” as we do weekly, most recently with releases exploiting the Virginia Tech massacre.


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