There are many reasons why a public company should have a corporate / investor relations blog. Yet, many companies simply don’t have one – for various reasons. One of the most frequent reasons given, is that management is worried that they won’t have enough content for keeping their blog up to date, relevant, and blog worthy. That raises the question of how often should you post new content to your blog? While the short answer is there are no hard and fast blog post rules, the answer really comes down to as often as you can create quality content. In this post, we wanted to share just one great way that you can increase the frequency of adding great new content to your blog.
Like most public companies, you most likely receive inquiries from investors asking either about various elements of your business or for clarification on something you have previously disclosed. Why not use your blog to share answers to these questions posed by investors and other stakeholders? In other words, make use of investor inquiries to fuel your blog postings. Keeping in mind that the person asking the question may not want their identity and/or contact information shared, simply don’t include it. Also, you may want to wordsmith the question (and the response) to tie it back into your core messaging. Our client, Critical Outcome Technologies, uses its blog to provide answers to questions from investors on its ‘Ask Dr. Danter’ page (see below).
If you post answers to questions regularly, you will not only have more frequent blog content, but you will also have a database of answers – creating a valuable resource for investors and other stakeholders. This can be a great time saver if you find yourself being asked similar questions time and again by phone or email. Simply point these people to the blog where they can find all of the answers and other great content about your company.
You have a day full of investor meetings planned and you just finished several hours updating your PowerPoint presentation and have now sent it for printing. Like in the past, you were planning on uploading the slide deck as a PDF to your website following your meetings to share with other investors; however after all that time and effort, you wonder what else can be done to maximize the return from your investor presentation. How can you expand its reach?
For starters, rather than uploading the presentation to your website as a PDF, upload it instead to SlideShare.net and embed the SlideShare presentation into your website. Then use Twitter and an email blast to your distribution list to let people know that your presentation is available on SlideShare and your website.
SlideShare is the world’s largest online presentation-sharing site with over 55 million visitors and 120 million presentation views per month. Uploading presentations to SlideShare is quick, costs little or nothing, and allows presentations to easily be shared or embedded almost anywhere online. The popular presentation sharing service, is becoming an increasingly important way for investor relations departments to publish their investor presentations, fact sheets, annual and CSR reports, and corporate videos.
Add a synchronized audio recording
Augment your online presentation further by making an MP3 audio recording when you deliver the presentation. Then, upload the MP3 file to SlideShare, link it to your presentation, synchronize the audio with your slides and viola, you have a slidecast!
In today’s environment of increasing scrutiny of publicly traded entities, it can be advantageous to post corporate governance information on your website where it is easily accessible to the investment community.
Transparency is a cornerstone of credibility
For many investors, the strength of a company’s leadership team will be a key investment criterion. While posting management and board biographies is a good way to introduce the people involved, biographies do not provide much insight into how critical decisions are made and/or disclosed. In addition to listing all of the directors and providing their bios, best practice is to include details of key charters and policies (or, preferably, the actual charters and policies in their entirety).
Your website should be a convenient source of information for investors
Rather than asking investors to search for corporate governance materials elsewhere on their own, or making them leave your website by providing a link to SEDAR, these materials should be included directly on your website. Moreover, corporate governance information should be easy to find through the company’s website navigation, and preferably be included in the main navigation. Investors will appreciate the convenience afforded and, as an added benefit, you keep them on your website rather than losing them to a third party site.
A quality investor relations website is a valuable dissemination tool that can inform and influence opinion. Given the size of audience that it is possible to reach, it pays to develop the most content rich site possible. Having rich, up-to-date content is key to building a quality investor relations website. The most oft cited frustration for online audiences is out-of-date information. Posting new content as soon as it is available, periodically reviewing all content for relevance and checking links to ensure that older information is still accessible are all ways to increase user satisfaction.
With increasing competition for investor dollars, a robust, user-friendly IR section can support the generation of new interest in your company while at the same time ensuring that existing shareholders have quick and easy access to the information they require. A quality IR website can also “level the playing field” among issuers as it is relatively easy (and relatively inexpensive) for a smaller issuer to provide the same level of information to investors as a larger one.
The website and all other electronic disclosure media should be considered an extension of your normal disclosure practices and are therefore subject to the same laws, rules and regulations. At least in Canada, the corporate website is not a substitute for regular continuous disclosure through an approved newswire, but rather an adjunct to proper disclosure practices. The IR section should provide a constant flow of valuable supplementary information to all investors on a regular basis, keeping them well informed and allowing them to make quality investment decisions.
Best Practices for Publishing News Releases to IR Websites:
In today’s world of instant, or real-time, information flows and with the corporate website being a go to source for the latest, verified information on any given company, more and more listed issuers are incorporating automated, real-time news release publishing to their sites. Manually uploading news releases to the website results in delays to publishing, or worse yet, omissions. Delays and omissions provide the wrong message to investors and other stakeholders – that your website is not the best place to look for the most up to date information on your company. Leading IR website vendors such as Q4 Web Systems, DisclsourePlus and others make automated, real-time news release publishing a cinch. You can also purchase the feeds for your releases direct from most newswire services.
In addition, we recommend posting all of an issuer’s news releases on the website and that releases be archived for at least a year. Archive releases by year, using specific links, rather than providing one large list that takes a long time to search.
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