Is Your Investor Communication Platform Dialed In?
Investor communication channels are rapidly evolving. Is your communication platform dialed in to grab your investor’s attention and broaden your investor base?
Disclosure in the old days (three years ago?) meant transmitting a news release over the newswire, filing it with the securities commission, and then uploading it to the corporate website. While these actions still satisfy your regulatory obligations, if you stop there you will fail to fully engage your current investors and reach new ones.
This article explores how your company can increase engagement with the capital markets through a modern investor communication platform.
Digital Content Platform
Queue the buzz words. But seriously, the success of your communications strategy will largely depend on which content management system you select for your website. Whether your platform supports rich content syndication to social and traditional media will determine the reach and effectiveness of your investor communications.
Confessions of a WordPress Hater
It’s true. I, like many others, hated the WordPress content management system. It conjured images of amateur hour websites built by teenage hacks. Furthermore, the words “open source” gave me hives just thinking about all of the potential security exploits. However, WordPress has come a long way from its humble beginnings.
Today, the WordPress content management system provides the most powerful capabilities available in the market to automate the distribution and syndication of your rich content.
With all basic WordPress sites you can:
- Add a news release to your website as a post;
- Include rich media such as video, animation, infographics and photographs;
- Categorize the post as a news release or a marketing post to control where it appears for customer and investor audiences;
WordPress is extremely flexible and most themes are now fully responsive for mobile devices. WordPress powers nearly 27% of all websites on the internet today and holds a 60% share of the content management system market. With Fortune 500 companies like IBM (Yes, IBM), GM, Sony and many more using WordPress, you need to ask yourself one thing: If the biggest and the best are using WordPress to curate their digital content, will choosing a different platform make you look really smart or really stupid?
Once your content is populated into your platform, make sure you syndicate it over the various channels that reach your target audience. These channels include:
- Email news alerts sent as soon as a news release crosses the wire;
- Weekly or monthly newsletters summarizing your marketing posts;
- RSS/XML feeds; and
- Social media posting to sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Stocktwits, etc.
The following WordPress plugins can help you accomplish these tasks:
- Subscribe2 will instantly send an e-mail to subscribers when a new post is added to your site. You can limit which post categories utilize these instant email blasts. This function is best suited for e-mail news alerts for your releases;
- MailChimp RSS feed driven campaigns can provide periodic summaries of posts in a specific category on a weekly/monthly basis. This function is best suited for your marketing and PR posts;
- NextScripts: Social Networks Auto-Poster (SNAP) automates dissemination to multiple social media profiles, groups, and company pages.
Investor Relationship Management Systems
If you want your company to be successful in the capital markets, then you must establish and maintain the right relationships. An investor relations management system (IRMs) is indispensable when it comes to targeting and maintaining the right sell-side and buy-side relationships.
Basic IRMs Functions:
At its most basic it should provide the following:
- A sell-side research analyst database;
- A buy-side portfolio manager database;
- An integrated relationship management system (with email functionality);
- Targeting, tracking and measurement functions;
- Public company ownership information; and
IRMs vary in terms of their user interface and each come with a different set of bells and whistles. However, your most important consideration should be the accuracy and breadth of the basic IRMs database and the quality of the IRMs public company ownership data. In addition, some IRMs have a better setup for investor relation workflows than others. If you would like access to my white paper evaluating various IRMs, then please contact me.
IRMs In Practice:
Ultimately, your IRMs should be the focal point of your IR team’s activities and an integral part of your company’s corporate memory. You will use your IRMs to:
- Target new sell-side and buy-side leads;
- Communicate via e-mail with your buy-side and sell-side contacts;
- Record your interactions for corporate memory;
- Track whether your leads convert to an investor or an analyst;
- Measure the outcomes of your investor relations efforts;
- Assist your broker-dealers in arranging roadshows with institutional investors; and
- Repel activist investors and hostile takeovers through immediate access and communication with your retail and institutional investors.
If you don’t have an IRMs, you’re missing one of the most important tools for targeting and nurturing analyst and investor relationships.
Public companies must ensure their communications reach beyond their current investors to a broader set of potentially new investors. In addition, the investor relations team must selectively target portfolio managers on the buy-side and analysts on the sell-side. To be successful then, the IR team will have to choose the right content management system, the right syndication technology to distribute content to email subscribers and social media, and the right investor relationship management system.
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