In a recent blog, we covered strategies to prepare for earnings announcements, from surveying the competitor landscape, to creating killer media vetting processes, to drilling down to targeted coverage areas and more. The next step involves rolling out your post-earnings pitch strategy.
For PR professionals, pitching anything “after the fact” might seem foreign, counterproductive or even downright wrong. But the truth is that there is value in keeping that post-earnings glow alive. What’s more, publicly-traded organizations expect their PR teams to drive hard earnings-related coverage for reasons that extend far beyond media metrics, like strengthening shareholder relations, securing larger investments, raising their stock value or winning new partnerships.
Of course, media interest is a whole lot easier to secure if quarterly earnings exceeded all expectations and blew analyst estimates out of the water. But the fact is that there are numerous avenues to explore even with the most lukewarm of earnings reports. Here are three items to consider to fuel post-earnings momentum for the entire quarter.
Compare the competition
Regardless of how well your client performed on profit projections, ask yourself: how did they rank against their competition?
Competitor earnings are an important area to examine even if your client didn’t meet analyst estimates this quarter. Beating the competition is not only a status symbol for the company, but also offers various angles to explore and pitch. For instance, say your client is a bit newer to the game than competitors, and perhaps their results fell short of expectations. Are they outpacing their competitor’s growth margins? Are they completing funding at a faster rate than competitors were at the same point in their company history? Are your client’s product costs lower, making their offerings more accessible to the masses?
Weighing competitor results against your client’s earnings is a bit like making a pro and con list, but it’s important to remember that there is outreach potential in every financial benchmark and an opportunity to discuss new leadership and change management strategies for improvement over the next quarter.
Revisit key company announcements
Earnings are the perfect opportunity to give fresh legs to topics previously pitched – even if they’ve already been covered by media and especially if they’ve contributed to your client’s latest earnings results. Two key items worth revisiting include product launches and strategic partnerships.
If your client secured a strategic partner within the past year or so, take a deep dive into their new earnings report to find out if that partner (or any affiliated service) is mentioned. If so, you have the perfect opening to re-engage with business press who covered the relationship when it was first announced, and offer up a conversation with your client to discuss how earnings were influenced as a result.
Pairing earnings results with the latest data from a new product is an even easier sell, especially if the product or service was well-received at launch. At this point, most of the pre-earnings hype will have likely died down, giving you the opportunity to reach out to your client and request even more detailed sales data than what was included in the earnings report (if any). If the product was a new app, for example, additional data could include user engagement rate, session length, responses to new or upgraded features (i.e. faster load times) and more. Package up this data along with earnings results and your pitch will practically write itself.
Measure the impact of new blood
If your client added a new face to their C-Suite within the past year, earnings are the perfect opportunity to understand what new and unique expertise they’ve brought to the table and how it’s contributed to the company’s profitability. You can prepare for this (well ahead of earnings) by holding an input call with the new executive to discuss their goals for their new role, expectations for their department and the impact they hope to make within the company overall. Once earnings have been released, you can weigh this information against revenue results to demonstrate how their efforts have positively impacted the company’s bottom line – even if their original goals fell short of personal expectations.
For instance, say your client’s newly appointed HR Director set an internal goal of growing the company’s employment by 50 percent within the next 18 months. That’s a lofty goal, and say he’s off-track by about 25 percent at the one-year mark. Earnings are a great opportunity to measure the impact of what the company has achieved in terms of employment growth – like opening new offices in three key markets – and offers a window to discuss how the focus on hiring has pivoted in order to make time and budget for addressing skills gaps among the company’s current workforce.
The key to success in maintaining post-earnings momentum is less about thinking “outside the box” and more about using the information in front of you to make sure that every last drop of outreach potential is worth the squeeze. Whether or not your client surpassed analyst expectations doesn’t mean you can’t crush earnings coverage, especially if you leverage previous successes or upcoming changes to your advantage.
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