When Posting Financial News to an IR Site, Risks Are Not Acceptable.

April 29, 2015

By Ibrey Woodall, VP, Web Communications Services

Security of an investor relations (IR) website and news distribution is paramount to any public company. Ask the investor relations officer (IRO) who has suffered due to earnings information being released to the public prematurely.  If a company’s earnings news release is accessible too soon, it can move markets, and quickly. When this happens, expect heads to roll in many ways.

Although most IR site vendors state that earnings releases post automatically to the IR site service they manage, only a few can actually confirm that the posting of the news release happens directly from the distributor to the IR site. Some vendors utilize a third-party aggregator to obtain newswire-distributed news releases and then post the release onto the IR site service. Anytime an additional step like this is added to a workflow process, more time is needed, and the opportunity for something to go wrong is greater. Most experienced communicators are familiar with the concept of Murphy’s Law – anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

At Business Wire, an earnings release is never staged onto an IR site before publication – hidden or not. When the earnings release is distributed to the desired outlets, it gets posted directly to the IR site at that time, not any sooner. This leaves no opportunity for Murphy to cause trouble. Once the news release distribution is ordered, the option to post the

Earnings news releases that are distributed via Business Wire post directly and simultaneously to the Business Wire InvestorHQSM IR site service.

Earnings news releases that are distributed via Business Wire post directly and simultaneously to the Business Wire InvestorHQSM IR site service.

release to the InvestorHQSM IR site is selected, as is the option to place the release in one or more subject matter categories. Sweet, simple, streamlined and secure.

As important as the technical dangers mentioned above, so are the internal workflow risks.  All internal procedures at Business Wire have gone through a rigorous audit. Departmental shields against unauthorized access to data can be attested to by the Service Organization Control [SOC] 2 Type II attestation engagement report that Business Wire received in 2014.This means that your news release (in text or PDF format) will not be posted to your InvestorHQSM site by a Business Wire product specialist to save time or effort.

So, when selecting an IR site vendor, do assess and compare the basic features and functionality of the service. Don’t forget, however, to pay close attention to the details of the IR site service when it comes to security of your financial data.

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Ibrey Woodall is Vice President of Web Communications Services for Business Wire. She is responsible for Business Wire’s InvestorHQ IR site and NewsHQ online newsrooms services. She can be reached via email Ibrey.Woodall@Businesswire.com or LinkedIN https://www.linkedin.com/in/ibreywoodall.


2015 Corporate Earnings Call Best Practices

April 15, 2015

By Farah Merchant, Specialist, Global Disclosure & Financial Reporting Services

Every year our team is asked to share best practices for financial earnings calls and webcasts.  So much has changed in recent years, that we decided to put together a short list of facts, figures, benefits and best practices for maximizing this crucial communications program.

irservices

NIRI’s recent Earnings Call Practices Survey shows some very interesting facts and figures. Did you know that in 2014:

  • 97% of responding companies held earnings calls versus 80% in 1996?
  • Almost 80% of companies that do hold calls do not utilize social media platforms during the call.
  • For the few companies that do use social media during the earnings call, the most popular medium was Twitter (5%), followed by StockTwits, podcasts (~2% each), and Facebook, LinkedIn, and SlideShare (each 1%).

Investors have emphasized the importance of quarterly financial calls and webcasts for some time as they provide listeners with the opportunity to make wiser investment decisions.  Some of the additional benefits include:

  • They provide analysts with the opportunity to ask questions of C-level executives, and base their research, valuation and estimates on the information revealed in the call that may not have been disclosed in the press release.
  • They provide an opportunity for the company to mention upcoming events, such as analyst days, annual shareholders meeting and investor conferences. Some even mention the company’s full calendar of upcoming events.
  • Calls and webcasts provide companies the opportunity to leverage social media messaging to increase visibility of the discussion. Home Depot is an excellent example of a company successfully tweeting live information.
  • Webcasts can be archived with replays accessible through company’s investor relations site.

Because earnings calls and webcasts are predominantly presented in a live format, here are a few preparation tips to keep in mind:

  • Present a cohesive message that communicates what your earnings results indicate for the future of your company.
  • Pick your presenter based on position in the company and speaking skills (usually CEO or IRO and CFO to present the financials).
  • Do a dry run of the presentation and potential Q&A topics.
  • Utilize visual components such as power point presentations, infographics and downloadable content to increase engagement with your audience.
  • Use multiple channels to announce the earnings webcast date/time, insuring the widest possible outreach. Most common methods of alerting audiences of the call are via press release, your company’s investor relations website page, and social media outlets such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Consider combining traditional earnings call and webcast methods with the power and reach of social media platforms the day of the event, to both increase the intended reach of the event and generate higher levels of engagement with investors, analysts and the media.

There are many companies consistently exhibiting ‘Best Practices’ through various mediums during their earnings calls. One company is FedEx (NYSE: FDX), and how they use Twitter and their $FDX StockTwits symbol to showcase their key headline numbers:

Fedex Tweets

As you can see, there are many components that go into a quarterly earnings call, and best practices are constantly evolving. Public companies should always be on the lookout for new trends and mediums for earnings calls as well as more ways to actively engage with their audience during these events.

Earnings calls present a valuable opportunity for public companies to communicate key messages to investors, analysts and the media. By following best practices for the call presentation and leveraging multiple distribution mediums (press releases, webcasts, social media), they can maximize their earnings call even further.

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One on One with VentureBeat’s Founder and CEO, Matt Marshall

April 6, 2015

By Matt Van Tassel, Business Wire

With over a year since Business Wire signed an exclusive wire partnership with VentureBeat, I thought this was a perfect

Matt Marshall, CEO and Founder

Matt Marshall, CEO and Founder

opportunity to sit down with Matt Marshall, the man behind this great news organization.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with our partner, VentureBeat is a powerful channel for Business Wire clients looking to engage venture capital funds and influencers. The highly targeted audience for VentureBeat includes potential investors, business decision-makers, tech industry leaders, and consumer enthusiasts with a keen interest in the latest innovative products and services. By adding news releases to VentureBeat, Business Wire clients gain access to the venture capital news mix, with stories aimed at VC-backed innovation, deal flow and liquidity.

Matt Marshall, Founder & CEO of VentureBeat, launched the website in 2006 in response to the lack of coverage in the entrepreneurial and tech space. Matt began his writing career with the Washington Post in 1994 and covered venture capital for the San Jose Mercury News prior to starting VentureBeat. In 2002, Matt was awarded “Journalist of the Year” by the Northern California Society of Professional Journalists. Matt’s impressive background, experience and passion were clearly evident when we spoke to him about VentureBeat.

Matt, give our readers a little background, what is VentureBeat?
VentureBeat is a media company that covers disruptive technology and why it matters in our lives. We are headquartered in San Francisco, with a news bureau in New York and staff writers in France and the United Kingdom. The company, now at 44 people, is divided into News, Events and Research. Events produces six events per year, targeting C-level executives and founders. VB Insight, our new, VC-backed research offering, focuses on reports tracking mobile monetization and marketing automation.

VentureBeat

VentureBeat

How did VentureBeat get started?
The company began in 2006 as a personal project. I was working at the San Jose Mercury News and blogging in my free time. This blog was the seed of what became VentureBeat.

Who is VentureBeat’s target audience?
VentureBeat is what I call a “B2B2C” play.

We target people who are already in the technology industry, along with those who aspire to be in it. As our conference participants show, our audience is comprised of C-level executives at leading technology startups, senior technologists at blue chip technology companies, investors, analysts and leading academics. Other notable participants include young people early in their technology careers, many of them starting their own companies, as well as regular folks interested in what’s happening at the forefront of innovation.

What kind of traffic volume do you receive – daily, weekly, monthly?
Our most recent numbers are 7.5 million uniques per month. Volume varies, of course, depending on the news or if we’re hosting a conference.

Is there a particular industry or sector that you gravitate towards (or perhaps is trending now)?

The general “beat” at VentureBeat is innovation. But lately, we’ve started focusing on the new technologies and strategies companies are using to achieve impressive growth, given the explosion of the smartphone and other channels.

Whether it is in the area of social, mobile or marketing automation, there are thousands of promising companies. As it has been with other market segments, our job has been to filter through those technologies, and report which ones are really working. We’re doing that through our news, but also our events, and increasingly our research initiative, called VB Insight.

What do you look for when you are going to write a story?
It goes back to innovation. If a company is disrupting an entrenched business, that’s a story. If a company aspires to change the world through online education or a health care device, that’s also a story. The bottom line is that we want to bring our readers the news from the front lines of this industry.Business Wire VB Logo

Does multimedia play an important role in VB’s reporting process?
We’re open to anything that gets the story across in a compelling way.

Is there a funding round or minimum amount of funding required for a story to be written?
We don’t play those games at VentureBeat. If a startup has an innovative value proposition, we will write about them. We don’t care if the company is two guys in a garage.

How does VentureBeat differentiate itself from other online news portals?
We distinguish ourselves in two ways: The first is that we bring old-fashioned shoe-leather journalism to a world moving at Internet speed.  We don’t rely on gossip or un-sourced pieces. We get the story fast, but we also get it in full.

The second difference is breadth of coverage.  We don’t just chase the next funding announcement. We do science pieces, stories that explore the human impact of technology, pieces that are often critical of the received values of the industry itself.

How is VentureBeat perceived versus competing websites, like TechCrunch or Wired?
TechCrunch is great, fast, and snarky. It’s also pretty loud, and sometimes had a hard time buckling down and covering the most innovative trends with serious analysis. That’s where we think VentureBeat adds greater value. You’ll see us go a lot deeper in areas of marketing technology, for example, where we bring in the expertise we’ve generated from our VB Insight research initiative. We bring a depth of insight that is unparalleled, because of our data set draws from tens of thousands of technology users. The same goes for Wired, to some extent. Wired covers a lot of cool, wonky stuff, which we also try to do. But they’re less focused on the business leader — that practitioner who really needs to get things done and needs to make critical decisions on the tech they’re using.

What is the most important benefit VentureBeat offers its readers? 
Our goal is to inform–and inspire.

What were some of the reasons that helped VentureBeat decide on moving forward with the Business Wire partnership?Press Releases on Venture Beat
There were two reasons: The first was your brand. The second was the community of sophisticated business users that support that brand.

What are some of the advantages for Business Wire clients posting their news releases to VentureBeat?
The chief advantage is direct access to one of the most sophisticated and influential technology/business audiences in the industry today: 35% of VB readers are C-level; 58% director-level and above; 70% have final purchasing power at their jobs.

How can VentureBeat contribute to driving brand awareness for our clients’ websites?
Again, it goes back to our audience. Their influence, combined with their engagement and regular sharing of content across their social channels, leads to that increased brand awareness.

To learn more about how your company’s news releases can benefit from Business Wire’s exclusive partnership with VentureBeat, click here.


Canadian Investor Relations Teams Shine During IR Magazine’s 2015 Awards

February 7, 2015

IRMaglogoEarlier this week, Business Wire’s Canadian team had the pleasure of sponsoring the IR Magazine Awards – Canada 2015. This event celebrates the best investor relations work being done by large, mid-cap and small companies. And this year’s work was exceptional.

Click here to read more about this awards dinner and to see all of the IR Magazine – Canada award winners: http://bizwire.pr/CanadaIRAwards


Time It Right: The Importance of Financial Calendars

September 25, 2014

By Hannah Kelly, Business Wire Paris

What is a financial calendar?

A financial calendar (also referred to as an economic calendar) is used by traders, shareholders and the media alike, in order to track the important events of the economy. The majority of the time, this is to check for market-moving events, such as monthly jobless claims, factory orders and debt auctions which are all found in the economic calendar. Several high-profile sites such as Bloomberg and Forex publish release dates for forthcoming economic reports each week.

Bloomberg Editorial Calendar

Each audience segment utilizes this information in a different fashion. A trader for instance, may implement a specific strategy based on the proposed outcome of a report, while a newsroom will adjust their coverage and focus, based on that same report.

Why is the calendar important for public companies?

Companies use the economic calendar in order to avoid scheduling conflicts with their conference calls, investor days, and other important events. The calendar is vital in anticipating workload, keeping to a schedule and keeping everyone up-to-date and informed.

However, in addition to following the economic calendar, companies should also be aware of the dates and times of companies within their respective industry – you wouldn’t want a top analyst to have to choose between your company and your top competitor. Best practice is to try and schedule the event close enough but not so close that an analyst or reporter cannot cover both.

How should the calendar be used as a tool when a company is setting up their next event?

Press releases:  Many traded companies choose to note key dates in certain press releases, which works excellently. Those who read your first quarter results will likely be reading the next quarter, so why not quickly mention their publication date?

Investor HQ:  Here at Business Wire, we offer InvestorHQ, a web-based content management system that allows clients to manage a search-engine optimized online newsroom. Since InvestorHQ  is a CMS (content management system), events can be posted simply by entering the date, time and location. Audio and visuals can be also be added to the calendar, and email invitations can be sent with a link to the Event page, through which investors can register and receive reminders for that particular event.

No more excuses – no matter how big or small your company is, the financial calendar should play an essential role in scheduling your next event!


Business Wire Comments on Wall Street Journal story on Speed Traders

February 11, 2014

by Tom Becktold, Senior Vice President, Marketing

In case you missed Friday’s (February 7, 2014) Wall Street Journal story, Speed Traders Get an Edge, Scott Patterson reported about a high-frequency trader that licenses Business Wire content. In the piece, the reporter details how, with equal access to our file as news organizations, the firm was able to execute trades very quickly. Not exactly ground-breaking reporting, but in the Nanex research cited, you do see how rapidly events unfold once we issue news.

To answer the question, Business Wire provides one feed of news, so all subscribers – news media, consumer-facing sites, researchers, investment firms – have equal, simultaneous access to our file. There are no tiers of access (paid or unpaid) and no one gets a jump from us. The fact is that Business Wire, via its NX delivery technology, delivers its news feed to every recipient, at the same time.

This WSJ article is about how high speed traders might be ‘gaming the system'; that is, using technology to create a millisecond advantage on accessing news. And, that millisecond, which is one thousandth of a second , is apparently all it takes to make this a story.

Bloomberg’s Matt Levine provided excellent perspective on Friday with his story High Speed Traders Trade Faster Than Low Speed Traders.

Drawing upon the Journal article and the Nanex research, here’s a timeline that provides insight into how efficient our patented NX platform is – what you see is the trading firm, Bloomberg and Dow Jones acting on the Business Wire story within 300 milliseconds – a measurement that most of us, as humans, might have a hard time wrapping our head around:

  • · 16:00:00.000 – Market scheduled to close
  • · 16:00:00.175 – Business Wire issues Ulta press release
  • · 16:00:00.225 – Stock trades within 50 milliseconds of release
  • · 16:00:00.242 – Bloomberg News runs Ulta story
  • · 16:00:00.464 – Dow Jones runs Ulta story
  • · 16:00:00.688 – Nasdaq closing price set

As you can see, the release goes out, then recipients act on it; there is no jump in the delivery, only in how it is utilized.

A curious item from the Journal story also caught our attention: “Business Wire’s competitor, PR Newswire, says it doesn’t provide trading firms access to its “Disclosure Feed” despite frequent requests. The company says it provides the news feed to clients with the understanding that information provided won’t be used for trading purposes.”

As we noted, Business Wire does not have a separate “Disclosure Feed” precisely because markets move so fast. And, the last time we checked, PRN had a healthy licensing and reseller business that serves the investment community. As many investment firms now have high-speed trading desks, the statement appears disingenuous at best.

So, what does this all mean to our clients and network recipients? Business Wire remains committed to full, fair and broad-based disclosure, providing equal access to all market participants. With news organizations and investment firms increasingly relying on algorithms to trigger rapid coverage and trades, Business Wire ensures a simultaneous, level playing field to our content.

Business Wire was the first newswire to eliminate the 15 minute delay to the investment community back in 2000, in lock step with the letter and intent of Reg FD.

We have built our business around full and fair disclosure for all market participants. By doing so, we have earned the trust of our corporate clients each and every day for more than 52 years. We stand by our patented technology, our gold standard business model, and our commitment to the highest standards of security, performance and reliability.


Best Practices Guide to Successfully Navigating Social Media for Publicly-Held Companies

January 16, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social + Evolving Media

We are excited to share our latest guide for investor relations and corporate communication professionals outlining the steps they should take (and avoid) to both engage and manage their reputation across social channels.

Business Wire Benefits of SM for IROs

This report details the opportunities and risks of using social media as both a research and communication tool in today’s investor relations programs.  Included are 12 ways investor relations professionals can leverage social media tools for a stronger, more effective engagement program, as well as 12 reasons why social media platforms are not compliant communication tools.

Embracing social media as a news sharing and engagement tool

Business Wire continues to advocate utilizing social media channels to amplify the visibility of company news.  These channels, designed to enhance the communication between organizations and their members, are perfect for brand advocacy.

Business Wire’s guidance for running a successful and legally compliant socially oriented investor communication program include:

  • How to spot an emerging crisis or reputation attack using social media monitoring
  • The importance and impact of multimedia to analysts and other key constituents
  • Real time communications, or why live tweeting earnings works so well
  • Ways to initiate and expand third party sharing of pertinent company information increasing the visibility and authority of your news

Avoiding social channels as a sole means of sharing financial or disclosure oriented news

For the last 4 months, we have taken a long hard look at the concept of utilizing social media distribution channels for financial disclosure.  While we are obviously big fans of utilizing social media as a tool to share news and information, the technology simply is not there yet for these channels to replace traditional disclosure platforms.

Business Wire’s guidance on why social media platforms are not appropriate as the sole method of disclosure includes:

  • Potential coverage limitation
  • Lack of visibility of social updates
  • The impact and risk of message modification
  • Social network demographics and usage rates

To download this free guide in its entirety, visit http://go.businesswire.com/social-media-for-financial-disclosure
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Want to schedule a time to speak with a Business Wire sales representative about social media, news distribution and disclosure compliance?  Let us know!


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