LPP PR Recipes Series: Communicating Financial News
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Whether it be earnings announcements, mergers & acquisitions or funding news -- communicating financial news certainly has its similarities to other news a PR team would be asked to promote.
The primary difference between the two is that certain individuals could find themselves locked up in a state penitentiary for not properly disclosing or communicating financial information in the eyes of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or other governing bodies. Thus, when communicating around material information, it’s more important than ever to have your recipe in place.
- Communication with Investor Relations
- An Outreach Strategy
- An understanding of the Law
Where Public Relations Meets Investor Relations
When handling financial news, it will be important to understand the world of investor relations to (1) be able to properly communicate with any IR personnel, and (2) to understand how the translating you’re doing as a PR professional can impact investment decisions, especially when handling financial news. Take Twitter's recent IPO, as an example. The S1 filing added a level of complexity that became a story of its own. Tight integration with the investor relations side of the business will be crucial, as it may be the job of IR representatives to put investors at ease, but those individuals will not feel confident dumping their money into your client's business if the PR team cannot read from the same page as the IR officers in order to communicate financial news in a positive and strategic manner.
Develop an Outreach Strategy
In many cases, communicating financial news will involve working with media you have not typically dealt with, be it financial publications or more finance- and investor-focused reporters at business publications. You may even end up pitching and IPO story to a contributor who focuses on how psychology impacts economics. For this reason, it will be more important than ever to avoid a cookie-cutter approach to media outreach and be surgical in outlining the individuals you will approach, when you will approach them and the specific message you will deliver. Things to consider before approaching a financial reporter will be the type of markets they cover (technology mergers? Bank acquisitions?) and the size of the markets they cover (early-stage startups? Large corporations?) among other intricacies of financial reporting that may be more set in stone when communicating financial news versus more malleable announcements and pitching.
Understand Requirements and Restrictions
Most important – and what you’ll really be thankful for if you can learn to know them like the back of your hand – is the set of laws, deadlines, requirements and restriction that apply uniquely to financial disclosure and communication. These things are going to vary based on the type of company you represent and the type of announcement you’re making: Series A venture-funded startups announcing funding will even have different disclosure requirements and deadlines than a growing company announcing a liquidity event. Given the consequences, if financial information is not disclosed properly, what’s most important here is that the client company, the PR team and the IR team are communicating enough that there are no gaps in information or announcement strategy that could lead to one party or another – be it investors, reporters, company management, etc. – saying or reporting the wrong thing. And when proper communication could mean the difference between positively swaying a potential investor and ending up in court over disclosure violations, you’ll want to make sure you have a well thought out recipe in place.