Brand Journalism and the Evolution of Online Newsrooms

August 6, 2014

In the August 2014 issue of PRSA Tactics, Business Wire’s VP of Web Communications Ibrey Woodall reflects on how the online newsroom has matured from a basic press release archive to a central communications headquarters complete with brand articles. Although a very few journalists (only 7 percent) still believe that company-written articles do not belong in the news center, results from the 2014 Business Wire Media Survey illustrate that more than 60 percent of reporters are receptive to brand journalism.

Brand Article Types of Interest to ReportersRead the article “Online Newsrooms and Brand Journalism: Survey Shows Media Acceptance of Corporate Storytelling in Press Centers” to learn more about how organizations can create special content sections within their online newsroom. Content that helps relay a company’s history and industry focus, enhancing both brand loyalty and search engine optimization.


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.


Social Media, Wall Street, and the Big Questions Still Being Asked

July 10, 2014

By M. Joe Curro, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire

Show me something innovative, not just new. I have a wide range of interests, but one thing that really gets me going is finding a creative approach, a new way of presenting what I’ve seen before. A triple-A game studio released yet another first-person military simulation? Meh. Astoria is getting another fusion restaurant? Yawn. Netflix is suggesting another season of Star Trek… OK, bad example. How do they know me so well?

I had the opportunity to witness a creative approach last Thursday at PRSA-NY’s inaugural #SocialWallStreet Meetup. Held at the Museum of American Finance, the event featured a discussion of how to address the questions facing Wall Street’s use of social media. New regulations have been passed, but few companies seem eager to embrace the opportunity. The decision to frame the event as an “unconference” was more than the cheerful adoption of an undefined buzzword. It was brilliant.

prsa socialwallstreetBusiness Wire has been a part of this debate for years, encouraging our clients to use social media channels as part of a well-rounded communications strategy for both PR and IR. While there are plenty of risks to keep in mind, social media has the potential to be incredibly valuable. I was glad to see that Business Wire’s message has clearly been getting out there. As a refresher, check here for a white paper on the risks and rewards of social media for regulated companies.

David Rosen, SVP of Digital Corporate & Public Affairs at Edelman, ably played MC to a group of about 50 participants from agencies, financial companies and others. David got the ball rolling by laying the framework for the day — namely, that we were not there to debate whether or not permission had been granted from a regulatory standpoint for companies to use social media. We were working from the assumption that it had, and the question we needed to answer was: Now what?

The event started with brief presentations and a free-form Q&A session with David’s experts, Joyce Sullivan, VP of Social Business Programs at Socialware, and Tom Chernaik, CEO and Co-Founder of CommandPost/CMP.LY.  We then brainstormed in groups of five or six, while David, Joyce and Tom circulated among us, and came up with the most immediate concerns preventing a company from embracing social media as part of its communications strategy.  Once we had around two dozen questions, we voted to determine the top six that we felt needed the most urgent attention. Each group took one question and proposed specific answers that could be implemented to address the concerns of cautious social media adopters.

The groups considered:

  1. How to convince senior management that social media isn’t just for teenagers
  2. How to make the business case for social media
  3. How to create compliant content
  4. How to help people realize that social media is more than just Twitter
  5. How to do real-time response
  6. How to respond if your social channels are hacked

We arrived at some clever answers and heard a broad range of ideas. But the part I like best is that we’re not done. The #SocialWallStreet event was not intended to be a one-off experiment. It was a seed to get a conversation growing in our industry. There will be future Meetups (and I look forward to them), but we should be talking about this constantly.

The answers proposed by the attendees of Thursday’s event can be seen here. I invite anyone and everyone to join the conversation, and if you’ve got an idea to share, let us know.  Post a comment to the event summary. Start a debate within your own company. Heck, send me your idea! This is just going to get more interesting, and I want to see how it turns out.

Joyce captured the attitude of the event perfectly as she wrapped up her opening remarks: “The regulations are in place, but you’re all waiting for someone to give you permission. OK, fine. I give you permission. Now get to it.”  Sounds good to me.


Combine your IR and PR news or separate them? Reporters weigh in

July 7, 2014

Should a public company's financial content reside within the online newsroom or within the IR site_q30_2014As time becomes more precious for today’s journalists, company websites, or more specifically online newsrooms and IR sites become increasingly important.  As the importance of these sites grows, so does the question of how to highlight the content relevant for each of an organization’s differing audiences.  For example, should public companies combine financial data with branded content?  Or do reporters prefer separate microsites, each highlighting the content relevant for that specific reader, making it easier for the visitor to find what they are looking for?

Find out what reporters want in an online newsroom in Ibrey Woodall’s latest article in our series based on the results of the 2014 Business Wire Media Survey.

Click here to read: Hosting Corporate Financial Data: Online Newsroom or IR Site?

Download a copy of our Media Survey results at: http://go.businesswire.com/business-wire-media-survey-results


Footballing nations battling it out in the IR Magazine Awards!

June 11, 2014

By: Chen-Lee Tsui, Manager, European Marketing/London

With only a few weeks to go, the IR Magazine Europe 2014 awards are due to take place on Tuesday 24th June. For the football/soccer fans among us, this is the same evening as England’s first World Cup game against Costa Rica!annual IR Magazine Awards ‒ Europe

Now in its 24th year in London, this event celebrates the best Investor Relations achievements across various industry sectors and acknowledges the contributions made by individuals as well as by teams. For both winners and runners-up an IR Magazine Award means that those selected have demonstrated they have created results that deliver real business benefits.

The short list for the awards came out recently. If you’d like a flutter the odds are in favour of Germany – a great footballing nation, with 27 nominations across 17 main award categories. Another world class football team, England (read: UK), picks up 18 nominations (five more than last year!). The Scandinavian countries (sorry, not qualified for the World Cup) share nine nominations, followed by Italy (six), Spain & Portugal (five) and last but not least the orange footballing giant, the Netherlands, with two.

booth

Business Wire has been supporting this industry leading awards program for more than 11 years. This year without fail, we will be present. Back by popular demand, a branded photo booth will be there to capture your evening with friends and colleagues! Attendees will have the opportunity to get their pictures taken for free at the photo booth, providing a great “take-away” lasting memory of the event.

We hope to see many of you there “strike a pose”. Email us with questions, or if you would like to meet up during the program.  See you in London on the 24th June!


Decoding the 2014 Global Trends in Investor Relations

March 21, 2014

By Farah Merchant, Global Disclosure Specialist, Business Wire

BNY Mellon, a global leader in investment management and investment services, conducted its ninth annual Global Trends in Investor Relations survey in late 2013. Nearly 700 companies from 63 countries ranging in different market capitalizations and industry sectors participated in the survey.

Below are some interesting takeaways from this year’s survey:

  • The survey showed that only 27% of quoted companies globally are using social media to communicate with investors. Companies by-in-large reported not adopting social media because of “lack of investor demand” (61%). Other reasons were that management did not see the value of using social media (37%) as well as insufficient resources (33%).
    • The only region that showed an increase in social media use as an IR tool was in Western Europe, where 45% were reported using social media, an increase from 32% the previous year. Developed Asia, on the other hand, was the most reluctant region.
    • Twitter, StockTwits, Mobile Apps and Facebook were the more common social media platforms used, while other social media channels, such as LinkedIn and YouTube have shown a decline in the past few years.

BNY Mellon: Companies not using social media

  • Another trend from the survey is the changing influence of financial media. Most companies still recognize the importance of global financial newspapers such as the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal but increasingly acknowledge that professional investor news services leveraging on-air or on-line environments such as Bloomberg and Reuters have more influence on their current and prospective investors.
    • More than 84% of respondents (an increase from 58% in 2012) rated Bloomberg and Reuters as the most influential outlets while 52% declared the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal to have the most influence.  Another area of growth is investor-generated media, the likes of Seeking Alpha and Motley Fool, which surged from 5% to 15% from 2012 to 2013.

BNY Mellon:  What Media Outlets Matter to IROs and Investors

  • One final point I found interesting was the growing focus on expanding one’s shareholder base worldwide.  Nearly two-thirds of the Western European companies surveyed said their top goal in 2013 was to diversify their shareholder base internationally. The same could be said for Emerging Asia and the Middle East too.
    • In what could be perceived as a contradiction, more than one third of the companies surveyed admitted they do not distribute financial result press releases internationally.  Also, very few investor meetings and conferences were held outside home markets.

BNY Mellon: Growing International Shareholder Base

The landscape of IR is constantly evolving and the results of this survey reflect these changes.  IR professional’s need to continue evaluating the tools available, from new and existing social media platforms, to more traditional engagement methods such as press releases and investor meetings. Staying on top of trends in the global marketplace, and using all the tools available are essential for an effective IR strategy.

To read the full report, Global Trends in Investor Relations 2013: A Survey Analysis of IR Practices Worldwide, Ninth Edition, click here.


Which Publications Inform Today’s Leading Communicators?

March 18, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media

Earlier this year we asked blog readers to share their top daily reads.  We wanted to see which publications are considered must-reads among today’s communications experts.  Do communicators rely on mainstream media to keep them up to date through mainstream media, like The New York Times?  Industry trade magazines such as Mashable?  Or social networks including Twitter and LinkedIN?

The results were somewhat surprising.  With 152 respondents to date, our survey shows:

  • Just 20% of respondents said they read mainstream media such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today on a daily basis, yet these publications continue to be the top-desired coverage targets for small and big B2B and B2C companies alike.
  • Only 9% of those who replied use LinkedIn as a news source, yet LinkedIn continues as a top conversion platform for many businesses.
  • 17% noted Twitter as their primary news source, the highest of any social network, with one communicator smartly pointing out that Twitter’s speed makes  tools such as Google Alerts less valuable.
  • 14% relied on PR industry trades suggesting that these outlets, while valuable, may not produce content frequently enough to warrant a daily read.
  • A mere 2-11% read highly targeted social, digital or SEO-oriented blogs and articles. While this may be because these topics are heavily covered  in other industry publications, we were still surprised by such a low number.

What do you think?  Which publications are you reading every day?  Take two minutes to fill out this survey yourself, and we will continue to share updates as the data change.

Business Wire Reader Survey

Business Wire Reader Survey

You can find the survey here:  http://blog.businesswire.com/2014/02/27/what-publications-to-top-marketers-read-business-wire/


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