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Business Wire Releases New White Paper: Is Your IR Site a Security Liability?

The modern IRO has many areas of responsibilities. At the top of that list should be the creation and maintenance of an investor relations site, a beneficial communications tool that makes it easy for analysts, shareholders and the media to find essential financial documents and material news.

A platform offering important financial news, requiring stringent security measures, might seem like cause for stress, but the good news for IR professionals is that Business Wire just released a new white paper outlining the best practices for internal workflow, technical compatibility, and security awareness and diligence. Is Your IR Site a Security Liability?, written by Ibrey Woodall, Business Wire’s senior vice president of web communications services,  offers guidance and tactical tips for ensuring that your branded IR site is safeguarded against situations that may compromise your efforts, such as the premature disclosure of earnings data.

Download Is Your IR Site a Security Liability? now and find out how to better protect yourself against unwanted investor relations disruptions.   

One of the most important elements of an IR site is the internal workflow that makes it function, identifying how an investor relations team can efficiently prepare, publish, and protect required content.

Workflow topics covered within the white paper include:

  • Assignment of site administrators
  • Password management
  • Recommended content for publication
  • How to best streamline workflow process

With this white paper, Ibrey aims to educate the reader and bring about a stronger understanding of the technical compatibility between all of the systems used to both announce and host your company’s financial information.

Finally, learn how to protect yourself against the very real threat of cyber security incidents. Ibrey points out what questions to ask your IR site vendor and how to look for a strong information security program supported by industry standard certifications.


About the author

As SVP Web Communications Services, Ibrey is responsible for Business Wire’s InvestorHQ IR site and NewsHQ online newsroom solutions. She holds a B.A. in Mass Communications and a Webmaster certification. Ibrey has been involved in strategy and launch of websites for 3M, Bank of America, Gannett, Office Depot, Procter & Gamble, ServiceMaster, Williams-Sonoma and many other publicly traded and private companies.

Business Wire’s Top Ten Tips from the 2016 Media Blueprint Survey

Business Wire’s 2016 Media Blueprint Survey puts a magnifying glass to the work habits and preferences of today’s leading journalists and reporters. Knowing how to best reach and engage the media is a vital tool in a communicator’s arsenal, and Business Wire’s media survey offers the data needed to amplify branded news.

The following are the top ten tips found within the Media Blueprint Survey and if you’re looking for editorial coverage, there’s no better place to look.  

  1. 79% of surveyed media expect a PR practitioner to know their beat. 

No journalist wants to be just another contact on a long media list. The first step to better media outreach is to only contact journalists and reporters whose beat matches the news being forwarded.

  1. 53% of surveyed media use newswire services daily; 39% use it weekly or monthly.

Reporters rely on newswires because the news is vetted before distribution. Wire services are also a great resource for reporters as it provides usable content, copy can be pulled straight from the release.

  1. 91% of surveyed media prefer to receive news via an email alert linked to the press release.  65% of reporters look for supporting facts in a press release.

Include hyperlinks to all related information in a news release and one-click access to content features.

  1. 63% of surveyed media state that early in the week (Monday or Tuesday) is the best day to receive pitches.

Issuing news when the media is most likely to engage with it is a best practice for achieving editorial coverage.

  1. 61% of surveyed media prefer to receive pitches in the morning.

Like most consumers, reporters prefer to have as much news at their fingertips first thing in the morning.

  1. 33% of surveyed media rank photographs as most important supplement to a press release.

Photographs were the #1 release supplement and it tells us that multimedia is no longer an optional asset, it’s expected.

  1. 75% of surveyed media use an organization’s online newsroom for research.

The online newsroom, along with Google and an organization’s main website, are the top 3 destinations for research by media. It is vital that content within the online newsroom is updated frequently. Not only does this provide fresh material for reporters, but also helps with search engine optimization.

  1. 81% of surveyed media expect to access press releases in an organization’s online newsroom.

Press releases continue to be the most desired content type within an online newsroom year over year. Verified news is more important than ever to today’s media, with HTML being the preferred format over PDF for press releases.

  1. 54% of surveyed media expect a minimum of 1-5 years of historical press releases in an organization’s online newsroom.

Although the average amount of press releases that surveyed media expect to see is 1-5 years of releases, more than 30% of surveyed media still want to be able to access the entire historical archive of press releases. Make sure that all “milestone” releases are available within the online newsroom. Milestone releases recorded major happenings within the company or organization such as mergers, acquisitions, a new CEO, a new product, and more.

  1. 60% of surveyed media expect to search news by type and/or date in an organization’s online newsroom.  

Reporters are on deadline. They need to search, filter and access desired information quickly. Make it possible for reporters to get as detailed as possible in their search queries.

Bonus tip!

58% of reporters create more than 6 articles a week. This tells us that reporters are busy! Give them complete news releases – ones with facts, multimedia, and one-click access – so they can cover your story fast and accurately.  

Download the survey!

[Webinar] 10 Tips for Sharing News and Social Content in an Online Newsroom

Ibrey Woodall, Business Wire’s VP of web communications services, recently held a webinar disclosing her top 10 Tips for Sharing News and Social Content in an Online Newsroom. An online newsroom serves as an owned-media resource, giving reporters and journalists access to information they need in order to tell a company’s story. Maximizing the impact of an online newsroom should be a must for any brand looking for accurate coverage.

This webinar follows the successful release of a Business Wire guide by the same name, outlining ten key opportunities that will help expand an online newsroom’s presence on digital platforms and social media. The guide also offers points on how to better reach interested parties such as reporters and journalists by using features already available within the newsroom.   

Some key points include:

  • Post icons/links to social networks
  • Incorporating feeds from social networks
  • Supplying RSS feeds
  • Offering automatic email alerts

During the webinar, Woodall offered a detailed explanation of the content found within her guide, using visual examples from actual online newsrooms making it clear how to maximize their impact. Emphasis is placed on knowing what to share and how to present the content. It’s important to simplify the process required for locating specific news. This is achieved by categorizing news releases by subject matter. Woodall specifically mentions having content in HTML text format as the primary source, and offering complementary PDF versions so people have the option of printing without the risk of tables or other formatting breaking in the process.

Other tips include:

  • Keeping fact sheets updated
  • Having press kits available for each product
  • Including executive bios
  • Providing company history and a timeline of company milestones
  • Including an events calendar with associated links

”The online newsroom is a company’s centralized communications center,” stated Ibrey Woodall in advance of the webinar.  “That makes it a fundamental tool for any plan or strategy that includes preparing, integrating and sharing content.”

View Ten Tips for Sharing News and Social Content in an Online Newsroom or download the guide now

Six Simple Steps to Switch Your IR Site

By Ibrey Woodall, VP, Web Communications Services, Business Wire

Many companies are rapidly performing due diligence to find an IR site hosting partner. If you’re one of these companies and you worry about your IR site – don’t. Review the six simple steps we’ve laid out below, and let Business Wire, and the InvestorHQ platform, guide you through the entire process. 

  1. Schedule Launch
  2. Transfer Content
  3. Choose Categories
  4. Select Navigation
  5. Match design
  6. Go Mobile

These steps will help you understand what is involved so that your IR site can be converted quickly and cleanly.

1.       Schedule Launch

Anytime you begin a new project, you should visualize the desired end result first, and lay out a structured plan to achieve that outcome. Once we have established your required launch date, Business Wire will provide that plan, including a timeline featuring milestone dates that help us meet the deadline. If your corporate site is in the process of being redesigned, the redesign stage will also be incorporated into the timeline.

During this time, you will be trained on the easy-to-use content management system, and advised on best practices for important areas that span a variety of levels. Consultation will encompass the time zone of your IR site so dates and times post accurately, how your site will display in each of the latest web browsers, the importing of your contact database for email distribution, and the security of your content with access levels for individual site administrators.

2.       Transfer Content

Depending upon how long your company has been in business, you may or may not have a lot of content residing within your current IR site. All you need to do is let your assigned Business Wire InvestorHQ Product Specialist know which content you want to keep and where you want it located within the new site. Your InvestorHQ Product Specialist will physically move the content for you, expediting the launch of your IR site. If you are creating new content for new features and sections within Business Wire InvestorHQ, just send the content to your InvestorHQ Product Specialist for set up.

Not only will all future press releases distributed over Business Wire post automatically into the IR site, but more importantly, the releases will post directly. The distribution of Business Wire press releases and the Business Wire InvestorHQ Investor Center remain within the Business Wire framework, eliminating the need for a third-party wire release aggregator and decreasing the potential of a lost or delayed press release. There are cost-savings, workflow efficiencies and security inherent to using one partner for both services.

3.       Choose Categories

Content should be categorized so that it is readily accessible for site visitors. Not only should press releases be available by date, but also by topic or subject matter.  For example, note that CKE Restaurants (http://investor.ckr.com) created categories entitled “Financial Releases,” “CKE,” “Carl’s Jr.,” and “Hardees,” so that their press releases are organized by parent company and brand, yet still allow investors and analysts to locate and access financial releases quickly.

Events and presentations should also be categorized even as commonly as “Past Events” and “Future Events,” as displayed on the Jernigan Capital investor center (http://investors.jernigancapital.com/events-calendar) when future dates are available. If your company has multiple events, you may consider fine-tuning with classifications like “Webcasts,” “Board Meeting,” “Analyst Day,” or “Press Conference.”

4.       Select Navigation

There are certain types of content, including Analyst Coverage, Stock Charts, SEC Filings, Executive Biographies and additional Corporate Governance documents that should be available within every investor center. Your navigation structure should reflect those content types, and your InvestorHQ Product Specialist will present each of these content types to you and order the navigation in a pattern that best suits your company’s needs.

5.       Match Design

Site visitors need to be able to visually trust that the IR site contains official company data. This is done by following the same fonts, colors, spacing and other design elements that reflect the identity of the corporation. It can also be done by using the company’s domain name within the uniform resource locator (URL) similar to http://investors.servicemaster.com/ or http://investor.jalexandersholdings.com/, as well as linking to the IR site from an “Investor Relations” navigation button located on the corporate site. We recommend that the investor center follow the same design as the corporate site, positioning all branding available, even down to the “From” identifier on email alerts and broadcasts.

6.       Go Mobile

As mobile usage increases dramatically, it is imperative that sites are easily accessible by a mobile audience. Business Wire offers adaptive-responsive IR websites that are legible when accessed by smartphones and tablets of varying screen sizes.

When it comes to news distribution, hosting and consumption, it is worth noting that Business Wire has been around for more than 53 years and provides a multitude of financial disclosure services. Partner with Business Wire and stop worrying about your IR site.

For more great tips and tools visit Tempo, Business Wire’s new platform for white papers, trend reports, videos, and articles.

About the Author: As VP Web Communications Services, Ibrey Woodall is responsible for Business Wire’s web communications services including corporate websites, the NewsHQ Online Newsroom, and the InvestorHQ Investor Center. Ibrey is a published writer and active industry speaker. She holds a B.A. in Mass Communications and a Webmaster certification. She has been involved in launching online newsrooms and investor centers for multiple Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at Ibrey.Woodall@BusinessWire.com, http://www.linkedin.com/in/IbreyWoodall or via Twitter @IbreyWoodall. 

IR Sites and Social Media: Integrated and Automated Equal Effective and Efficient

 

by Ibrey Woodall, VP Web Communications Services

 

Any communications professional worth their salt knows that communications tools are tactics, and that tactics are much more productive when exercised in unison. The fitting strategy is to coordinate these tools to work together automatically so that they are not only effective, but also efficient and timely.

Superior practices performed by multiple investor relations officers (IROs) begin with a safeguarded earnings release broadly distributed and tweeted by an established, trusted wire service. The next step is to make sure that the earnings press release posts directly and simultaneously from the wire service onto the company’s investor center, and into the correct category. If a third-party aggregator is used, there may be a delay in that press release being accessible and organized correctly on the IR site. If the IR site is solely used as a means of disclosure, there is the potential security concern that the information may be found before it is officially made available to all parties. Sadly, this has been experienced by some companies.

The IR communications professional is also responsible for determining that the IR site accepts registration for select email alert and text message or Short Message Service (SMS) delivery. Investors, analysts, financial media, executives, and others who have expressed a desire to be notified when an earnings release is posted must immediately receive either the chosen email alert or mobile alert delivery method, or both. It is imperative that the message be identified as being delivered from the company’s official investor center, and should always contain a link to the full text version of the press release located on the IR site.

There are ways to successfully implement social media tools into the IR communications mix – in a useful and harmless manner. This can be done by integrating authorized social networks and a sharing module. Once a material news release is automatically posted onto the IR site, the IRO should then, if desired, be able to distribute an official tweet, as well as post onto Facebook or LinkedIn from the IR site administration dashboard. This creates a much more efficient workflow than logging into individual company social networks and preparing messages to tweet or post.

At the minimum, social media badges should be visible on the Home Page of the IR site, but if there is a company Twitter stream, it should also be integrated and displayed. Site visitors can then quickly see the most recent tweets made by the company, including the earnings release announcement, the scheduled webcast event, and the video interview of the Chief Executive Officer or Chief Financial Officer discussing the latest earnings release. The Twitter stream should contain only tweets made by the company, and not include tweets by followers.

The addition of a sharing module within an IR site expands the distribution potential of vital content. Once the earning press release is officially public and available on the IR site, site visitors can share their interest in that news by electing to tweet or post the content onto their social networks or send it by email.

There are many helpful ways to utilize social media in IR communications; however, when it comes to full and fair disclosure, these communications tools should be used as part of an overall strategy in conjunction with tried and true, secure communications techniques.

Learn more about Business Wire's web services tools and how they can help amplify your news. 

When Posting Financial News to an IR Site, Risks Are Not Acceptable

By Ibrey Woodall, VP, Web Communications Services

 

Security of an investor relations (IR) website and news distribution is paramount to any public company. Ask the investor relations officer (IRO) who has suffered due to earnings information being released to the public prematurely. If a company’s earnings news release is accessible too soon, it can move markets, and quickly. When this happens, expect heads to roll in many ways.

Although most IR site vendors state that earnings releases post automatically to the IR site service they manage, only a few can actually confirm that the posting of the news release happens directly from the distributor to the IR site. Some vendors utilize a third-party aggregator to obtain newswire-distributed news releases and then post the release onto the IR site service. Anytime an additional step like this is added to a workflow process, more time is needed, and the opportunity for something to go wrong is greater. Most experienced communicators are familiar with the concept of Murphy’s Law – anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

At Business Wire, an earnings release is never staged onto an IR site before publication – hidden or not. When the earnings release is distributed to the desired outlets, it gets posted directly to the IR site at that time, not any sooner. This leaves no opportunity for Murphy to cause trouble. Once the news release distribution is ordered, the option to post the release to the InvestorHQSM IR site is selected, as is the option to place the release in one or more subject matter categories. Sweet, simple, streamlined and secure.

Earnings news releases that are distributed via Business Wire post directly and simultaneously to the Business Wire InvestorHQSM IR site service.

As important as the technical dangers mentioned above, so are the internal workflow risks.  All internal procedures at Business Wire have gone through a rigorous audit. Departmental shields against unauthorized access to data can be attested to by the Service Organization Control [SOC] 2 Type II attestation engagement report that Business Wire originally received back in 2014. This means that your news release (in text or PDF format) will not be posted to your InvestorHQSM site by a Business Wire product specialist to save time or effort.

So, when selecting an IR site vendor, do assess and compare the basic features and functionality of the service. Don’t forget, however, to pay close attention to the details of the IR site service when it comes to security of your financial data.

 

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