Going public, then being public

Posted in IR Thoughts

A few months after going public through an IPO or RTO, people responsible for investor relations learn how much effort is involved in being public. It’s probably harder to be public than it was to go public.

No longer are you surrounded by experts – brokers, advisers, accountants, lawyers – who were there at all times of the day and night to get you public. They have moved on to the next transaction. And the CEO is back running the business instead of doing the transaction. Not to mention the much lower budgets now available for investor matters.

Feeling lonely? Not only lonely, but it’s all new?

Being public means building and maintaining an ongoing relationship with the broader investor community. Build on the goodwill you worked so hard on during the IPO. Don’t let it sit and deteriorate for months after the IPO, and then wonder where they all went.

Don’t just focus on the current shareholders and the top few current shareholders. Those people are important of course, but sooner or later, if there’s to be a decent ongoing market in the shares, there needs to be a continuous stream of new buyers. Most of those you haven’t even heard of yet, and most of them haven’t even heard of you.

If you have ongoing broker analyst coverage that will help maintain and generate interest, but mainly among their clients. The rest of the world is still your problem.

IRM is in the business of providing a kit bag of online tools that helps companies maintain an ongoing relationship focus, not just a transaction focus.

Here’s our top eight suggestions:

  1. The Online Investor Presence

 Have a great online investor presence – more than just a great website – that attracts new investors by being there at the touchpoints they choose to use, particularly when you have news. Favourite online touchpoints are your website, an email alerts list, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, and third party websites and news services.

  1. Be responsible for getting your news out. Immediately.

Assume that your ASX Announcement is lost in the clutter of the other 400 announcements done each day. Sure, ASX distribute it to people who happen to be watching at that instant. But it’s not enough. Some other online touchpoints you can control directly, others you can only hope to influence. But all online activity will usually be triggered by your announcements, so be there first with the facts wherever you can. If you publish your news long after the investor has seen it elsewhere, you just look bad. You have minutes, not hours or days, to get the news out yourself.

  1. When people show interest, embrace them.

Build your tribe of followers, initially and continuously. Wherever you can, capture the person’s contact details. email address, or a social media like / follow / connection. Capture interest on the website with a subscribe. Upload the boss’s business cards, and the share registry email addresses. Then do it again later. Connect, like and follow them, and have your key executives do the same. Then communicate directly with them. Regularly. Forever (or until they unsubscribe!)

  1. Elaborate on the news

It might be in the ASX Announcement, but did your targets see it? And read it. Some did. Most probably didn’t. Have a second or third attempt by elaborating on the news items. Perhaps there’s media coverage or trade news that’s not just an ASX Announcement. Provide more information in a blog post on your company blog and/or media coverage and latest news on the website (and share/email/tweet it).

  1. Extend the reach of your news

Use your website to showcase the important news, enhance your brand and communicate the whole story. Use links everywhere to drag people back to it to re-use the content. When you write something new, provide links to the related older material. Make it really easy for people to click. Even in the body of ASX Announcements, refer to what you said in earlier ones with a link to the earlier announcement on your website. Your blog posts should link to earlier posts, to the website page concerned, or to the announcement. Use twitter handles to reach more people, and links to drag them back to the website. People might use one click to learn more, but they probably won’t use five or six to go searching.

  1. Feed Google search

People who don’t know you have to find you. With lots of interlinked material in blog posts and emails, on the website, in ASX Announcements on other websites, and in social media, your ranking on Google search will improve. Search loves data to be confirmed / collaborated with links. So do real people who want to find information.

  1. Drive your keywords

Understand what key words and phrases you want to be found by. Use them – exactly – on the website, in ASX Announcements, blog posts, social media, emails. The more you use them the more people will recognise them as yours, and the higher you will be on Google search.

  1. Use pictures and videos

Not everyone gets concepts with words and numbers. Pictures can convey impressions and key messages much more effectively than the written word. Use infographics, pictures and videos on the website and elsewhere online. Link back to them from other online media.

Yes, there needs to be great results from the business, and good communication of the messages. But it you don’t distribute the news yourself, others won’t do it for you for free. You’re mostly on your own, and the company’s relationship with current and future investors depends on it.

Welcome to being public, not just going public. Take a look at our Online Success Factors for more ideas on how to succeed with online investor communications.

Of course, as an IRM client, you’re no longer on your own. Contact us to discuss how we can help.