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QIC Inside Investor Relation Series (14): What is financial PR? Some general guidelines for financial PR

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The line between PR (Public Relations) and IR (Investor Relations) is getting ever blurrier with the increasing exposure of different media outlets, be it online websites, social media, TV (or online TV), or even radio or podcasts. Nowadays, IR cannot just direct all efforts to institutional investors only. IR generally will need to work with PR (or vice versa) to make sure the i's dotted and t's crossed. So there has been a hybrid of both functions such as financial PR.

One of financial PR's target audiences is investors (like IR), and the media part of the job is directed at increasing the company's market capital (like PR but with a targeted effort in market cap). Communicating with investors can be done both directly (disclosing information on the website, holding meetings, etc.) and/or through the media, by inseminating information about key events of the company that you want to be covered or noticed.

The concept of financial PR is very relevant in Taiwan. In fact, from our experience, many IRs for small/mid-cap companies in Taiwan tend to have to perform both jobs in IR and PR. Below are some general guidelines while performing financial PR duties.

Know what is newsworthy or IR worthy

There is no single way to define what is newsworthy. Each company is different, each industry is different and each media outlet and reporter is different. Good financial PR personnel is constantly paying attention to what is being covered in their respective sector (including peers or up/downstream companies) so that they can provide sound judgment when their company needs to conduct a news announcement or an investor event.

Be aware of your time of communication

Generally, the best time to issue a press release or a monthly revenue letter (specific to Taiwan) would be Monday morning before the market opens, or Monday afternoon at 1:30 pm, right after the market closes, that way we can ensure at least that day or the next day coverage, if not a whole week of coverage. Conversely, issuing a press release or any IR materials on a late Friday afternoon is probably the worst timing, as it will most likely result in limited coverage. In fact, this is common practice for news that does not wish to be overly exposed, as by this time, reporters, investors and the public either have gotten off work, or are more focused on their own plans over the weekend. Of course, at QIC, we recommend transparency and timeliness to all our clients.

Try to be original

While there is no such thing as an original idea these days, reporters generally don't like to write the same story twice. If you are to announce a PR campaign, events, or initiatives that are similar to others, the likelihood of getting coverage without a new angle is relatively low, especially if you are a smaller company. Furthermore, to help raise more awareness and to add more credentials to what you are trying to promote, consider support from an academic institution or a well-known industry expert, etc. Showing media that you have backing from reputable third-party can help encourage them to cover the news.

Look out for the order of media outlets

Generally, media wants to be the first to report everything. Their primary objective is to increase readership, and covering original content ensures that aspect of the business. Given that not every news/PR event is equal, you need to be strategic and be aware in terms of which media outlet could potentially have the biggest coverage for this particular news. Some news you need to give it to the biggest media outlet, while others you may need to give it to a smaller one. You need to know who you should send your news to first, if that doesn't work, then you work your way down to the second or third option, and then the last option (or eventually) is to blast the news to all the channels.

Editor's note:

To give our readers a more in-depth and comprehensive knowledge about investor relations from the investor's perspective, DIGITIMES has invited QIC as a contributing partner to share their insights. The article is the 14th part of the QIC Inside Investor Relations Series, which was originally published on QIC website.)

QIC

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