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12 ways to help your IR and PR teams work as one

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IR and PR teams often work in silos. With the help of modern collaboration tools, they can share resources and maximize coverage to everyone’s benefit.

Investor Relations (IR) is a PR function. PR works for Investor Relations. Both is true because both teams work for the same goal. However, the people behind Investor Relations, Public Relations, and other communication functions often sit in different departments.

This may be a challenge. But it’s also an opportunity: there are countless areas where stronger collaboration can deliver results. Areas like Regulation Fair Disclosure, keeping all communication clean. Like collateral creation, sharing visuals and copy that tell your company’s story. Like listening to the market, and acting on what it says.

How can you help PR and IR teams collaborate for the benefit of both the business and their own careers? Here are 12 tips:

1. Create a common core for communications
Finance folk needs their GAAP and EBITDA figures, while marketing talks brand and product. But both audiences share some common content. Work out what that is and make sure it is shared. If necessary, get PR people onto earning calls and analyst webinars. And vice versa, get IR people into brand strategy roundtables. Sharing breeds understanding on both sides.

2. Build a go-to reference
Simple documents like glossaries, vocabulary sheets, and key facts save time and money when they’re available to all. Get the teams together to collaborate on those, and share them as dynamic documents, not write-and-forget pieces. Create a channel on your collaboration platform to become the go-to place for these documents as well as questions about them.

3. Set the legal framework
Ensure both teams understand relevant compliance frameworks to properly protect all information and avoid duplicate effort in the legal department. Proper governance of your cloud communications platform can help secure that only certain documents can be shared externally.

4. Decide on hot buttons and phrases
Having a set of key phrases that activate all audiences saves time for everyone. As a consequence, there’ll be less miscommunication between IR and PR and more consistency in the company image, for less effort. Again, use the common channel on your collaboration platform to store a document with all key phrases, so everyone can access easily when needed.

5. Go big on visuals
Today’s media is picture- and video-driven. Graphs, charts, and diagrams communicate more than ever and can be simple to create and animate.  PR’s creativity can make sense of Investor Relations’ figures. In turn, IR figures and facts can support brand assertions.

6. Share content, information, and figures
Assets aren’t just text like bulletins and releases. Articles, visuals, videos, and meetings can be used again and again. Establish a central store of approved images to keep your brand sharp. Keep a list of white papers that can add value to links, updates, and newsletters.
Record collaborative meetings and webinars to release on-demand or simply for future reference. Store all assets in the common channel on your collaboration platform.

7. Combine media relations
Investor Relations may focus on the Financial Times and WSJ, while PR looks to trade papers and social media. But readers don’t differentiate. Nor should you. Share your lists of friendly (and not so friendly) reporters and keep them up to date in your team channel. Concentrate on selling one story from two angles – not two stories!

8. Cross-promote media coverage
Stories about you are great. Stories shared about you are even greater. Because content shared by a third party has high trust. So, don’t treat promoting your coverage as purely a PR job. Establish best practices for social sharing – and roll them out across both teams.
Make distribution lists available to both Investor Relations and PR in your shared team channel. Then make PR’s media list aware of IR stories, and vice versa.

9. Centralize social
Social media may be a whole lot of different channels. But there are tools to manage them from a single platform. Put them to good use. Adopt one platform across all communications teams. Set up an automated report with key metrics to be sent to your shared team channel to foster understanding. And learn more about all audiences, across departmental silos.

10. Foster thought leaders
Many companies have internal experts whose audience is limited. Sharing their thoughts makes the most of your content and your people. Create a definitive list of in-house influencers to become your go-to people. Share lists of their best quotes, numbers, and findings in your team channel. Ensure your people are top-of-mind among journalists from all sectors.

11. Connect sites, don’t combine them
Many journalists prefer online newsrooms and Investor Relations subsites to be separate. But separate doesn’t have to mean disconnected. Provide a path from one to the other.
Add links to company data from each online press release and links to interesting stories from financial pieces. Give reporters colour and they’ll give you coverage.

12. Standardize your statistics
Measurement and monitoring isn’t just for PR. Listening to the market is useful to everyone in communications. So, make sure everyone can do it. Always give context – don’t just count mentions but show trends. Contrast your coverage against your sector’s and your competitors’. Regularly share findings between teams and refresh everyone’s knowledge.

In the end, it’s all about communication. And that’s something your IR and PR teams will agree on.

Want to know how we else we can help your team? Have a look at our services for virtual earnings calls, annual meetings and roadshows.

About the author

Will is Northern Europe manager for Digital Events at the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd. He has been assisting organizations for over 10 years on how to utilize webinars and webcast technologies to communicate internally and externally to mass audiences and specialist groups in the highest quality possible. As such, Will has already helped a number of large global pharmaceutical organizations to implement global webcasting projects with a managed service wrapper, providing advice on their digital success including user journeys, analytics data flows and how the presentation of that data should be viewed by sales teams.

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