Business Wire Presents: Everything PR and IR Pros Need to Know for 2014

January 2, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social & Emerging Platforms

Let’s face it; there is nothing better than working the last two weeks of the year.  Oh you may think it is better to be with friends and family or battling mall crowds or lines at the airport, but in reality, those of us working this week are enjoying shorter commuting times, phones not ringing and a few spare minutes to catch up on the latest industry news and trends.

As we in the Business Wire marketing team catch up on our reading, we compiled this list of posts to catch you up on the best of 2013 and prepare you for a productive and successful 2014.

Top Gaffes for 2013 (after all, you don’t want to end up on this list next year!)

2013 Industry Changes + Best Practices

Looking ahead: Top Tips and Predictions to Prepare You for 2014

And just for fun, a hat tip to Buzzfeed for this scarily accurate look at Isaac Asimov and his 1964 predictions for 2014.


Investor Communications vs. Social Disclosure on Social Media

October 22, 2013
Image
By Thomas Becktold, Senior Vice President, Marketing
The Wall Street Journal’s Ben DiPietro (@BenDiPietro1) recently filed a story, “The Dos and Don’ts of Social Media Disclosure.” Not surprisingly, we have something to add.
Ben interviewed E. Terrell Gilbert Jr., an attorney at Arnall Golden Gregory LLP, who provides some solid advice to IROs, like this, “Where I think companies are prone to slip up is if focus solely on the new ways to communicate with investors but forget the basics of disclosure.”
Where the article falls short is that it doesn’t distinguish between investor communications and disclosure on social media. It doesn’t address ownership issues of executives’ personal social media accounts that are used for investor communications. It also lumps investors into a single homogenous group, where IROs know that buy-side and sell-side investors have significant differences in their preferred communications platforms and content.
While Gilbert rightly suggests that a CEO should send out a tweet that includes a link to a press release to provide more detail about the company, he mixes up disclosure and investor communications.Here’s why: the press release is the disclosure, not the CEO’s tweet.
The press release would be filed as an 8-K, issued on the wire and posted to the company’s website to ensure full and simultaneous distribution and access to all market participants. The CEO tweet is an additive part of investor communications, providing an opportunity for the CEO to more directly engage audiences, not unlike an open earnings conference call.
Gilbert notes that if companies want social media to be the first place they make market-moving information public, they should “take the right steps to let investors know the CEO’s Twitter account or Facebook page is the recognized channel of distribution…” I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t dispute the accuracy of what he says, but from a communications perspective, there are a lot of problems here.
First, if you’re going to establish an executive’s personal social media account as a disclosure channel, you better lock down some written ground rules to protect the company. If the executive leaves, does he take his channel and the followers with him? Is it ok for the executive to mix in personal posts (“look at my kid’s new puppy!”), photos and comments that may be of no interest to investors?
The National Investor Relations Institute’s Southern California chapters recently had a panel discussion on “The Future of Investor Communications.” I was fortunate enough to be on that panel with Ben Claremon, a research analyst at Cove Street Capital. That discussion provided a microcosm of the varying needs of investor constituents. Claremon was clear that he did not want companies using Twitter, Facebook or other social channels to disseminate material news. As he put it, investing and investor communications is serious business, and using the latest social channel “trivializes what we are doing.” He wants relevant information via trusted channels in a timely manner.
As we’ve discussed before, social media was not designed for disclosure, does not provide simultaneous delivery to all market participants and is often loaded with non-relevant content. Your followers or readers don’t see every post from their followers.
Facebook uses hundreds of factors to determine which posts a user would be most interested in seeing, all beyond the control of the disclosing company. Twitter offers promoted tweets, allowing an advertiser to jump ahead of organic tweets. In all social media platforms, the likelihood that your users actually see the content you share is a function of how frequently they visit their channel, how many people they follow, how much those folks post and the type of content they engage with, among other factors.
Gilbert points out that “the FD in regulation FD stands for fair disclosure” and we most certainly agree. Social media should be used as an additive to investor communications, but in no way does it provide a level playing field for all market participants.

XBRL Update: New Functionality for Interactive Data

June 27, 2012
by Nicholas Messing, XBRL Accountant, Business Wire New York
Nicholas Messing

Nicholas Messing

The upcoming filing season looks to be one of the busiest yet for XBRL preparers, with all US public companies submitting financial statements to the SEC required to include detail-tagged XBRL as of June 15, 2012. As the XBRL mandate reaches full implementation for SEC filings, the functionality of XBRL continues to expand through various initiatives including the DATA Act, corporate actions, and Business Wire’s Retail Report.

XBRL has increased its presence in the US Congress with the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, which the House of Representatives unanimously passed on April 25, 2012. Known as the DATA act, this bill provides for a broader implementation of data reporting standards to track federal spending data. Following its strong bipartisan success in the House, the DATA Act has been referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Similar to the Child and Family Services Innovation and Improvement Act, which was signed into law in October 2011, the DATA Act includes a significant reference to XBRL: “In designating reporting standards… the Commission shall, to the extent practicable, incorporate existing nonproprietary standards, such as the eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL).”

XBRL US released the 2012 Corporate Actions Taxonomy for public comment on May 17, 2012. This is the second version of the Corporate Actions Taxonomy, designed to tag over 50 types of corporate actions announcements, including mergers and acquisitions, dividends, redemptions, tender offers, and stock splits. Approximately 200,000 corporate actions are released each year in the US, and these textual announcements require time-consuming manual steps to process as financial data. XBRL tagging of corporate actions releases would enhance the efficiency of downstream processing across the financial community. XBRL US has teamed with The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) and The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) to promote the use of XBRL tagging for corporate actions in accordance with the existing ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standards.

On May 3, 2012, Business Wire became the first commercial newswire to map, tag and disseminate its own content in XBRL format. XBRL exhibits utilizing the US GAAP taxonomy now accompany Business Wire’s Retail Report, which is released monthly to Business Wire’s full national circuit. Published on the day that retailers announce sales figures for the previous month, the report tracks specialty apparel and general merchandise retailers’ monthly and year-to-date total sales with percentage comparisons across periods, alongside comparative stores’ sales growth data. To date, the April and May 2012 Retail Reports have been published with supplemental XBRL files, which may be freely downloaded and rendered through the SEC’s XBRL previewer, to facilitate analysis of retail sales data. Two members of Business Wire’s XBRL team, Senior XBRL Financial Reporting Specialist Belayneh Alemayehu and Junior XBRL Accountant Khondakar Moin, have provided their expertise to translate the Retail Report into XBRL. While Business Wire’s XBRL team has been proactively preparing for the final wave of the SEC’s XBRL mandate, we have also implemented a new innovation in interactive data.


Congratulations to IR Magazine US Awards Winners!

March 30, 2012

Last week, Business Wire was proud to sponsor the 2012 IR Magazine US Awards in New York City. Our team attended the ceremony and BW President Gregg Castano presented the Best Overall Mid-Cap Award. We’re pleased to sponsor the event photos for the Awards.

>>View the event photos here

Here are some pictures of our team at the ceremony:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Congratulations to all the winners!


NASDAQ as SRO: An Oxymoron

October 10, 2011
by Neil Hershberg, Senior Vice President Global Media
 
Neil Hershberg
Neil Hershberg, SVP – Global Media

As a “Self-Regulatory Organization,” NASDAQ is proving to be a poor role model in terms of policing its own policies.

NASDAQ has twice promised the SEC that it would refrain from the unfair and controversial practice of “bundling” its IR Services, e.g. wire distribution and IR web sites, with its listing fees. Yet despite these repeated assurances — concessions made to extract approval of several hefty listing fee hikes — NASDAQ has continued to engage in its anti-competitive practices, blatantly ignoring its compliance commitments.
 
Hence, today’s problematic paradox: in its pedestal role, NASDAQ seeks to portray itself as a bastion of free enterprise, and patron of fair and open competition. When it comes to its own commercial dealings, however, NASDAQ clearly doesn’t practice what it preaches. NASDAQ’s self-serving actions confirm that it is anything but the paragon of capitalism that it purports to be.
 
And, in an act of unquestionable hubris, NASDAQ is now asking the SEC to approve its predatory practices:
 
http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro/nasdaq/2011/34-65324.pdf
 
NASDAQ is apparently seeking to parley the SEC’s recent approval of a change in the NYSE’s Listed Company Manual to rationalize its own proposed rule change. In reality, NASDAQ’s filing is its latest gambit to distort the dynamics of the marketplace, and to leverage its subsidiary holdings to gain an unfair competitive advantage.
 
The key difference between the SEC’s newly approved Section 907.00 in the Big Board rule book and NASDAQ’s rule change request is that the NYSE is recommending independent vendors to its listed companies. Conversely, NASDAQ’s proposal is entirely predicated on its sibling subsidiary’s wholly-owned service offerings, which collectively operate under the “Corporate Solutions” banner. Once the complimentary period expires, all future profits will go straight to NASDAQ’s parent company’s bottom line.
 
This systemic vertical integration provides NASDAQ with the pricing flexibility to artificially manipulate the pricing structure of its offering to the detriment of the entire IR services industry. It makes a mockery of the principle of fair competition, which is especially troubling given NASDAQ’s perceived Olympian stature in the free enterprise system. 
 
Does the SEC really want to be seen as sanctioning NASDAQ’s “stacked deck?”  We certainly hope not, as Americans’ confidence in the nation’s financial system is already seriously challenged.
 
NASDAQ’s opportunistic overture strains credibility on several levels.
 
NASDAQ trumpets that issuers are not obligated to take advantage of its complimentary services; the clear implication is that competition won’t be compromised.
 
Yet, NASDAQ itself says it is compelled to offer NYSE-listed companies complimentary services because the Big Board offers comparable services.
 
This is a tacit acknowledgment that companies are reluctant to forfeit these free services; instead, these “no-cost” services are a powerful incentive for issuers to remain with their current providers.
 
In other words, NASDAQ’s claim of open competition exists in name only.  Budget-conscious issuers are extremely unlikely to pay for services that are freely available. And that means that rival IR service providers are unfairly elbowed out of the process. NASDAQ’s strategy seeks to divert the IPO pipeline to its sister service providers, effectively stanching the future lifeblood — and growth potential — of the IR service industry at large.
 
Furthermore, NASDAQ attempts to rationalize its rule change request by saying that a comparatively small number of issuers will be eligible to participate in the program. This is a vacuous argument that is indicative of NASDAQ’s cynicism in raising the bundling issue in yet another guise.
 
NASDAQ’S rule change request is its latest ploy to “tie” its corporate services to listings.  The SEC has repeatedly rebuffed NASDAQ’s past efforts at bundling its services. NASDAQ’s recycled proposal seeks to provide a cloak of legitimacy to an anti-competitive practice that has failed to survive previous SEC scrutiny.
 
The SEC’s decision should not be influenced by NASDAQ’s understanding of the number of affected companies; rather, its decision should be solely based on the merits of NASDAQ’s proposal. And if market fairness is the one of the ultimate criteria, then the evidence clearly dictates that NASDAQ’s rule change should be rejected.
 
Following is the text of Business Wire’s comment letter to the SEC on NASDAQ’s rule-change proposal:
 
http://www.sec.gov/comments/sr-nasdaq-2011-122/nasdaq2011122-1.pdf
 

Upcoming Business Wire Events – Sept. 14 Edition

September 13, 2010

Upcoming Business Wire Events

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:

PR with a Punch – Maximizing Your Press Release

Hosted by Business Wire Houston

Join Business Wire Houston team for this practical session on maximizing your press releases’ chances of being found, seen and shared online and get on the fast track to becoming a PRO (Press Release Optimizer). We will take a look at the relationship between your company’s overall SEO and Press Release Optimization strategies. As we walk you through the steps of building an optimized press release you will have the opportunity to pick up a few tips and tools as well as learn the long term benefits of being a PRO. This event is free for all attendees.

Wednesday, September 15 at 8:30am CT
Houston City Club
One City Club Drive, Houston, TX 77046

To register: RSVP to Jessica Anderson at 713-871-1900 or email Jessica.Anderson@businesswire.com

Social Media ROI: Being Seen is Not Enough

Hosted by Business Wire Cleveland [Columbus Event]

Your organization has started blogging, tweeting and updating your Facebook status, but is it working? If you’re like many communications professionals today, you may not be sure how to quantify the success of your social media efforts. Join our expert panel in Columbus for a discussion on setting goals for your social media campaign and arming you with the tools you will need to generate both quantitative and qualitative results. Bill Balderaz, Founder, Webbed Marketing will moderate the panel, which also includes: Dave Culbertson, Owner, LightBulb Interactive; Lora Deeds, Senior Public & Analyst Relations Specialist, Quest Software; Amanda Murphy, Assignment Editor, WCMH-TV; and Nate Riggs, Principal & Lead Social Web Strategist, Social Business Strategies. This event is free for all attendees.

Wednesday, September 15 at 8am ET
Fawcett Conference and Event Center – Alumni Room
The Ohio State University, 2400 Olentangy River Road, Columbus, OH 43210

To register: RSVP to Melissa Chambers at 800-769-0220 or email Melissa.Chambers@businesswire.com

“Does your Tweet Count?” Journalists and a PR Professional Talk

Hosted by Business Wire Phoenix

Join Business Wire Phoenix for a free luncheon and meet the media event about how reporting has evolved amid the popularity of social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook. Chad Graham with the Arizona Republic and Tim Vetcher from ABC 15 News will be discussing how social media has affected traditional news reporting while Cindy Kim of JDA Software will be providing her own unique insight on pitching stories from a public relations perspective. This event is free for all attendees.

Friday, September 24 at 11:30pm PT
1475 N. Scottsdale Road, Alliance Room #365, Scottsdale, AZ 85257

To register: RSVP to Billy Russell at (480) 990-9942 or email billy.russell@businesswire.com

Meet the Media Breakfast and Panel Discussion with DC-Area Technology Journalists

Hosted by Business Wire DC

Join Business Wire’s DC office for breakfast and a panel discussion featuring technology journalists from some of the area’s top publications. Listen 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: Paul Sherman , Editor-in-Chief, Potomac Tech Wire; Cecilia Kang , Technology Reporter, The Washington Post; Nick Wakeman , Editor-in-Chief, Washington Technology; Gautham Nagesh , Technology Reporter, The Hill; Bill Flook , Staff Reporter/Technology, Biotech, Venture Capital, Washington Business Journal. This event is $10 for all attendees.

Wednesday, September 29 at 8am ET
Marriott Tysons Corner
8028 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, VA 22182

To register: RSVP to Neelima Yelamanchili at neelima.yelamanchili@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 Responds to Client Demand with Launch of Online Newsroom and Investor Relations Website Solutions

July 19, 2010

by Ibrey Woodall, VP of Web Communications Services, Business Wire Florida

Ibrey Woodall

BW VP of Web Communications Ibrey Woodall

In response to multiple client requests, Business Wire announced the upcoming August launch of the NewsHQ online newsroom and InvestorHQ investor center solutions. The new products complement Business Wire’s current suite of services, improving communication and constructing an enhanced workflow for communications strategies and investor outreach.

NewsHQ and InvestorHQ are often referred to as microsites. Microsites are auxiliary websites that cater to specific needs and interests. NewsHQ and InvestorHQ were developed specifically to help corporate communicators and investor relations officers house and maintain information for a myriad of audiences, including journalists, bloggers, investors, consumers, analysts, key influencers and others.NewsHQ-InvestorHQ

There are many benefits to employing these content management solutions. One of the main reasons the online newsroom came into existence was because public relations representatives were having a hard time getting cooperation from their technical, or IT department, when they needed a press release posted quickly. Investor relations officers also needed a means by which they could get the most recent financial news and data to their company’s investors and analysts.

So, control was an initiating factor for this technological evolution. Communicators needed to be able to post and organize content in a timely manner. They needed to be able to get their message on their website, and delivered directly to those who were interested in their organization.

NewsHQ and InvestorHQ are tools that enable communications professionals to edit and manage the overall functionality of the website, without having to acquire complex technology skills. Posting content to the site is as easy as using word processing functions such as bold, italic, underline or upload image.

The NewsHQ and InvestorHQ solutions also make it much easier for those interested to research the status, history, and news of an organization. All of your company’s press releases, photographs, executive biographies, SEC filings, quarterly and annual reports, relevant stock and background information, along with other components can be accessed and downloaded from one central location – a headquarters – no matter where the site visitor resides. Journalists, investors and analysts expect this convenience 24 hours a day. They do not want to wait for the communicator to “get back to them.”

Search engine optimization is important in every communications campaign. The goal is to optimize your content to gain a higher ranking within search results. The ability to create links and URLs, and add keywords and tags are available within both the NewsHQ online newsroom and InvestorHQ investor center. These features will help strengthen your SEO efforts.

Business Wire’s clients will truly see a return on investment with the NewsHQ and InvestorHQ solutions. Simultaneous posting of formatted Business Wire press releases into your online newsroom and investor center, along with streamlined email and SMS alert distribution, and automatic placement of press releases onto your company’s social networking sites, reduces the amount of steps you have to take to post and distribute content. ROI is also realized with the simple equation of placing a dollar figure on the amount of time you spend answering the same questions over, and over, and over again.

If you are interested in learning more about the NewsHQ online newsroom and InvestorHQ investor center, please email HQ@businesswire.com.


XBRL Update: July 2010

July 12, 2010

On July 8th, the SEC deployed updates to its official XBRL rendering engine (“Viewer” and “Previewer”) to address rendering issues for footnotes tagged at a detailed level. Below, learn more about this development.

Q2 2010 is the first quarter many Large Accelerated filers will begin filing footnotes tagged at a detailed level along with their face financial statements.  Unfortunately, preliminary rendering results with the old Viewer were not very promising. For example, our testing showed the following rendering errors for information tagged at the detailed level (to name a few):

  • Certain segment reporting information and dimension members did not render
  • Notes tagged at a detailed level with the words “Cash” or “Equity” in the group title did not render
  • Unrelated monetary elements, abstracts, data and time periods rendered repeatedly in multiple different notes, which lead to misleading information and made reviewing virtually impossible
  • Decimals and currencies did not render appropriately

To facilitate the first wave of XBRL filings with detailed level information, the SEC enhanced its rendering engine to eliminate certain rendering errors and issues.

What does this mean to my company?
The SEC’s enhanced Viewer fixes many “bugs” and minor rendering issues for both year one and year two requirements. Significant fixes primarily relate to:

  • Improved handling of mixed data types (units and decimals) within the same report.  The Viewer can now display different units of measure in each group
  • Updates to level iv detail tagged rendering to ensure complete display of all tagged data and improved rendering of column headings
  • Allows for the display of currency symbols to ensure currency symbols are not displayed in the rendering for non-monetary amounts
  • Improvements made to display non U.S. Dollar and other symbols
  • Enhancements to Statement of Stockholders’ Equity rendering and detailed reports to eliminate duplicated ending balances

However, one issue that is not fixed relates to the 2009 Commitments and Contingencies element.  Accordingly, we will continue to use the SEC prescribed workaround for this line item, where applicable.  Business Wire is already updating the source code on our rendering tool and we expect to have it running with the enhancements shortly.

Finally, please keep in mind that although the SEC’s Viewer has been updated, differences between the HTML and XBRL filings will continue to exist.  Potential rendering differences expected for Level iv detailed tagging include:

  • Labels in the same group may not exactly match the expected footnote labels
  • Narratives and tables may be combined or split up to improve rendering and review

Business Wire is more than happy to review with you rendering changes and differences that apply specifically to your filing.

Have any XBRL questions or concerns?  Simply contact us at XBRL@BusinessWire.com.


Silicon Valley Experts Discuss Communications in the Conversational Age

February 1, 2010

Over 160 PR and IR professionals joined our Business Wire Silicon Valley media breakfast panel at Advanced Micro Devices’ (AMD) Conference center on Thursday, January 14th, in Sunnyvale, CA for an engaging discourse on best practices in public and media relations. Here is a video from the event:

Moderated by Anthony DeRico, Director of Digital Media at Nielsen and co-founder of Think Communications, the thought leaders and panelists included:

Here are some of the key insights provided by our panelists:

Read the rest of this entry »


Why Business Wire for XBRL?

January 5, 2010

by Ali Paksima, CPA, XBRL Accounting Manager, Business Wire

We believe Business Wire is the obvious choice for converting your financials to XBRL format.  It’s not only because we are more cost-effective than most, it is also because our approach to XBRL sets us apart from all others.

Below are several statements we hear frequently from public company clients.  Our hunch is that many of you are having the same thoughts, therefore we’ve provided our responses to these statements.  We believe you’ll understand precisely why Business Wire is better after learning more about our approach:

Client Statement: We know our financials better than anyone else.

We cannot agree with you more. However, we know the U.S. GAAP Taxonomy and the SEC requirements for reporting in XBRL inside and out.  We also hire only CPA-level staffers who are intimately familiar with public company financial statements. For this reason we take a collaborative approach to XBRL (i.e., your knowledge combined with ours) and work as an extension of your team.

Our first step is always to read your financial statements so that we may understand your company and your financial statements better.  We then hold an introductory call to discuss your financial statements and afterwards immediately begin the task of identifying the appropriate XBRL elements and drawing up a list of points to clarify with your organization.  Next, we send you a report to review the selected elements, the corresponding definitions, and any additional points to discuss.  This process allows us to couple your knowledge of your company’s financials and our knowledge of the U.S. GAAP Taxonomy and the SEC requirements to identify the best elements that present your company’s financial statements in XBRL, fairly.

Client Question: Will we have control over our process and know exactly all of the inputs in our file?

With our collaborative approach to XBRL, you are in complete control throughout the entire process without having to become an expert in XBRL. We will review the element mapping with you and provide you with review and rendering reports. Furthermore, our collaborative approach includes unlimited consulting time. We will spend as much time with you as you want in order to increase your understanding of XBRL.

Client Question: Who at Business Wire works on our XBRL documents?

We have the best and the brightest people working here:  CPA-level accountants and financial statement experts who know the implications of incorrectly tagged data.  Our in-house XBRL taxonomists (to whom you can reach out directly whenever you like, for no additional fee) bring their U.S. GAAP accounting experience to your XBRL filings.

It is important to note that Business Wire’s XBRL team works in the secure, audited confines of our New York operation, adjacent to our fully in-house EDGAR operation.

Business Wire is the clear choice for converting your financial statements to XBRL format.  We hope that these answers will enable you to make well-informed decisions when not only selecting an approach to XBRL, but when selecting a vendor too.  Feel free to contact us at any time (XBRL@BusinessWire.com) with any and all XBRL questions you may have. We look forward to showing you why Business Wire is better.


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