#NewsReleases411: How IR is evolving to meet changing consumer behaviour
This is post 3 of our 5-part blog series, “#NewsReleases411: The Who, What, and Why of Using News Releases.” Stay tuned for posts 4 and 5, which will look further into the impact news releases can have on a variety of business goals.
While most public companies still follow traditional practices for disclosing material news, forward-thinking investor relations officers are gaining a competitive edge by using more multimedia, leveraging traditional and social distribution channels, and making their news more mobile-friendly. These trends are driven in large part by the need for greater corporate transparency coupled with the way people consume information in today’s participatory, cluttered online world.
Telling the corporate story with video
Adding video to support what’s behind the numbers gives investors and analysts greater insight into the companies they follow. For example, adding a link in a news release to a CEO delivering his or her company’s quarterly earnings can make the difference between a buy or sell decision, as it allows individual investors to hear the CEO talk and come away with a similar experience to what institutional investors gain from one-on-one meetings. Video is also a personal way of conveying a strategic vision, because a video can very effectively tell a story about a company’s long-term plans.
Following are some statistics that point to the effectiveness of using video to get across complex or text-heavy information:
- James McQuivey of Forrester Research says that the value of one minute of video is 1.8 million words.
- Forbes Insight discloses that:
- 59% of senior executives would rather watch a video than read text
- 65% who view a video click through to visit the vendor website
- 50% who viewed a video made a business purchase
- RivelResearch found that 79% of buy-side analysts trust corporate websites over external sources.
Infographics, while not used as frequently as photos and video in enhancing material news, are gaining in popularity among a few leading public companies.
According to Graphs.net, in just over two years, search volume for infographics increased to over 800%. The growing popularity is due to their ability to present complex information quickly and clearly. They’re a great way of making key financial data easily and quickly digestible.
That’s readily apparent when looking at GE’s 4Q 2014 earnings announcement, The company used an infographic supported by more in-depth information to provide complete earnings details.
Reaching target audiences where they ‘live’
Here’s where mobile and video converge. According Mike McGuire, Marketwired’s Vice President of Sales, Eastern Canada, “Where people are connected through their mobile devices – whether they buy clothes or stock – visuals make the difference going forward.” In fact, 2014 was the first year that internet use on mobile devices surpassed that of desktop computers and it is a trend that continues to grow.
Along with ramping up their use of multimedia, IROs know that both the buy and sell side depend on their mobile devices as they conduct business, so they are making their investor rooms mobile friendly. That includes ensuring their main newsroom’s landing page and each press release page work on a mobile device (you can check to see if yours does here).
Distributing news through multiple channels
Although social platforms are still not embraced as a primary disclosure channels by most companies (despite SEC’s green light, with stipulations, in 2013), some public companies are posting material information on social platforms such as Facebook and StockTwits and using news releases to invite investors to follow their companies on their social channels. And savvy companies like Nestle and Bayer have embraced Pinterest.
Creating mobile-compatible, multimedia-filled newsroom
There’s no question that the text-only earnings release still prevails for disclosing material news. But when that release hits the corporate newsroom, we find that IROs are taking advantage of the way they present their content. A quick search yields a lot of multimedia-heavy sites featuring photos of products, services and company activities as well as videos of corporate executives delivering earnings results and conducting business interviews. Visitors can also go on video tours of company facilities and learn about inspiring corporate social responsibility initiatives.
Following are some great examples of how public companies use multimedia to bring their news to life.
GE highlight each of its news releases with an image rather than simply providing a text link.
Cisco uses photos to attract people to read about its latest events and news.
Myron Stadnyk, ARC Resources’ President and CEO, sits down each quarter to discuss his company’s performance, upcoming plans and factors affecting his industry. Dubbed “Myron’s Minute,” this is a great example of how video can personalize a company’s brand story.
Do you know of any other creative tactics IROs are using to get their company’s messages out? What did we miss? Let us know in the comments.
Stay tuned for the fourth post in our fall news releases series. Read the previous two posts here.