The PR game changes when working a public company. As a PR professional, you not only need to consider the complex structure of the publicly-traded organization (and how your media outreach efforts impact stakeholders beyond the company itself); but you’re also tasked with driving coverage around investor-related news. Enter, quarterly earnings announcements.
Pitching earnings is much different from your day-to-day media outreach activities and can certainly be a bit mysterious — especially since you’re not going to have access to the company’s financial results until they drop a press release minutes before the investor call. Therefore, the planning process in the weeks leading up to the news is key.
Here are some tips to developing a strong media strategy ahead of earnings and setting your client’s announcement up for success.
Know the landscape and stories competitors are telling
The best place to start the planning process for earnings is by understanding the wider market, including competitors’ earnings results and coverage. Looking back at the past year will help gauge how they’ve fared in terms of media results around their financial performance — giving you an early indication of how much media interest you could potentially secure.
Then, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty of competitor coverage. Look to answer these questions in your research process:
- Are competitors’ getting positive, negative or neutral coverage around their earnings?
- What spokespeople are they offering to speak about their financial results?
- What stories are they telling and are there bigger trends or themes to which they’re attributing their success (or failures)?
Find the right targets who care about your client’s industry
Identifying the best media targets for a particular pitch or announcement is something PR pros should be able to do in their sleep. But earnings is a different beast and the research / vetting process is very time intensive. This is because you’re not just looking for reporters who care about what your client does or the wider industries they impact, you’re also looking to find those individuals who also care about the market from a financial perspective.
Luckily, you’ve already started on your competitor research, which serves as a solid launchpad to find initial media targets. Beyond this, you need to think outside of the box. Look for reporters who focus on the health of the industry (be it enterprise technology, health care products or consumer brands) and investments in the market. Try to look at the bigger picture to find reporters who care about the wider ecosystem your client operates in.
Pre-pitch for post-earnings briefings and coverage
Once you’ve developed a strategy for outreach, the fun part begins. PR professionals know that pitching is an art, and when it comes to earnings, there’s a whole new layer to build into your pitch. Since you have to pitch reporters for briefings before the actual earnings are released, you’re essentially trying to secure interest without concrete results to share.
If you took the time to truly understand your target reporters and drill into their coverage focus, you should be able to pinpoint ways to really “sell” your client. This isn’t an easy, one-size-fits-all media outreach approach. It’s important to tailor every pitch for each individual reporter – outlining your client, why their story matters to them, how their insights are relevant to their readership and what angles their upcoming earnings report could potentially yield.
Take the story beyond simply financial performance
Earnings coverage shouldn’t stop at the pure financial results. In the next post, we’ll dig deeper into how PR professionals can turn earnings into bigger media stories, offering perspectives on the the wider competitive landscape and what it all means for a particular industry or trend. Business press, I’m looking at you!