Behind every stock trade is someone’s interest in the company. To gain interest, one must first attract attention. In our current world filled with content overload, attention-grabbing takes skill. As you and your team prepare for year-end reporting, take into consideration how your messages will be distributed to the investment community. The goal is to be everywhere in every form – so, what better way to get there than by leveraging technology?
1. Consolidate Everything to a Central Web Location
Having your annual results and figures centralized in one web location saves you time rather than you repeating information numerous times to different stakeholders. It also allows quicker sharing of information, especially via smartphone. Depending on your preferred look and feel, information can be presented in different formats to best engage your audience.
- The Quick Summary format: If this is your first time creating a digital version of your annual report, you may decide to only highlight your key information in a one-page scrolling format to provide a quick summary. Then, you may choose to add additional links to your full report, presentation, and press releases.
- The Fully Digital format: For more experienced companies, a fully digital report format (i.e. translating an entire 200+page annual report into multiple web subpages) is preferable, as this ensures no information is missed. Financials can be provided with a simple export function directly to Excel to save analysts’ time.
- A mixture of the two: If you would like to provide the most detailed level of disclosure but may not have the resources to translate all pages of your report into a digital format, a third option is to have a key summary webpage with additional sections linked to content in PDF format. This mix provides a more budget-friendly reporting option.
Regardless of which format you choose to execute, the key is to have one core hyperlink in use to attract the attention of investors and potential shareholders.
2. Turn Numbers into Graphics
The length of attention spans is also dependent on how interesting content is. A table containing 20 line items across multiple columns may be significantly less engaging than dynamic graphs and trend lines. There is significant value in providing dynamic tools to portray financial figures in a customizable manner, particularly when allowing the ability to switch between absolute figures and relative figures. The value created by letting your viewers avoid tedious manual Excel input of data points, plotting them, and then analyzing them, time could be tenfold!
3. Show and Tell – Virtually
Even after making information more attractive and aggregating it in a centralized location, you still may need to assist investors in inferring the right conclusions. This is where roadshows and investor meetings come into play - let your management go through your report and discuss company strategies to tell your story.
However, with multiple companies announcing results in a similar window of time, this “show and tell” is best executed in a virtual manner to best address a wider audience, and to be available for replay for easy content access in the future. With the help of a webcasting tool, “show and tells” can either be executed directly from your office or hosted in a public location of your choice. The presence of an interactive Q&A function allows management to prioritize popular questions and respond to the investor community more efficiently.
Audio webcasting is recommended for first-timers in this process, where scripts can be read out directly to participants. Video webcasting is a great option for a more seasoned team and allows investors to see a company’s management in action.
4. Media Push – Keep It Brief and Use Links
It is self-evident that garnering more media exposure will increase the chance of grabbing the attention of investors and potential shareholders. In addition to actively reaching out to financial report and journalists, a quick way to spread the word on your reporting is to push press releases out via a newswire service. Newswire technology shortens the time it takes for information to reach the media. We recommend keeping your release content brief while simultaneously leveraging your digital report and webcast replay links to tell a more complete story.
With many language and geographic distribution options, information can reach beyond your home presence to attract foreign capital.
As you return to annual report preparation, go beyond fulfilling basic regulatory requirements and use this opportunity to get a bigger spotlight from within the investment community. This period is a unique annual scramble for attention – ask yourself, is your IR game at a competitive level?
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