A few months after going public through an IPO (or RTO), investor relations teams 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 venture.
Your 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 establishing and maintaining an ongoing relationship with the broader investor community. You'll need to build on the goodwill you worked so hard on during your IPO. Don’t let it sit and deteriorate for months after the transaction, and then wonder where they all went.
Don’t just focus on your existing investors 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 generate and sustain interest, but mainly among their clients. The rest of the world is still up to you to tap into.
You'll need a kit bag of online tools to manage an ongoing relationship with investors, no longer focused on an IPO transaction. An investor communications strategy that fully supports your business is now a must, not just a "nice to have" component.
How about these 8 suggestions for investor communications as your newly listed company grows? These workable insights are tried and tested concepts for public companies.
1. Establish your online investor presence
More than just having a great website, have a great online investor presence that attracts new investors. Be 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, Facebook, as well as third party websites and news services.
Build your online presence to attract investors.
2. 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 distributes it to people who happen to be watching at that instant. But it’s not enough.
While you can control some online touchpoints 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 your news out yourself.
3. Embrace people who show interest
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 your website with an offer to subscribe to your news.
Upload your boss’s business cards, and the share registry email addresses. Then do it again later. Connect, like and follow subscribers, and have your key executives do the same. Then communicate directly with them. Regularly. Forever. (Or until they unsubscribe!)
4. Elaborate on your 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 your 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).
Elaborate on your news and extend its reach.
5. Extend the reach of your news
Use your website to showcase important news, enhance your brand and communicate your whole story. Use links everywhere to pull people back to your site and 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 previous announcement on your website.
Your blog posts should link to earlier posts, to the website page concerned, or to the announcement. Use Twitter hashtags to reach more people, and apply links to bring them back to your website. People might use one click to learn more, but they probably won’t use five or six to go searching.
6. Feed Google search
Investors 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 or collaborated with links. So do investors who want to find information.
7. Drive your keywords
Understand what keywords 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 place on Google search results.
8. Use images and videos
Not everyone gets concepts with words and numbers. Visuals can convey impressions and key messages much more effectively than the written word. Use infographics, images and videos on your website and elsewhere online. Link back to them from other online media.
Images and videos will convey your news more effectively.
In a nutshell
Great results from your business needs good communication to investors. But if you don’t distribute these news yourself, others won’t do it for you for free. You’re mostly on your own, and your company’s relationship with current and future investors depends on it.
You'll need to establish your online investor presence and be responsible for getting your news out. As you embrace people who show interest in your company, elaborate on your news and extend its reach.
Remember to use keywords to rank in Google search, so investors will easily find you online. Also, use images and videos to covey messages more effectively.
Over to you
Welcome to being public, not just going public. Take a look at our Success Factors for more ideas on how to succeed with online investor communications.
In case you need help sending news to investors, check out our IRM Newsroom delivery app. Contact us here to discuss how we can assist you.
Of course, if you're an IRM client, you’re no longer on your own. We've got you covered.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in September 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.