Six Storytelling Ways to Improve an Earnings Release

August 6, 2019 8:57 am Published by
Many public relations professionals still think of corporate earnings releases as a one-size-fits-all effort. But with so many different industry segments, companies have very different needs for their press releases.
 
For example, a biotechnology company might need multiple images in each earnings release to showcase multiple new product developments that have generated revenue that quarter. It is critical that each release allows your company to shape its unique story.
 

First Impressions on the Fly

If investors only spent a few minutes reading your earnings release, what opinion would they form? As the markets become oversaturated with companies’ daily press releases, capturing the attention of shareholders and investors is paramount.
 
A 2017 Pew Research Center report revealed that 85 percent of adults look for news on the go; the same applies to investors. With all the attention-grabbing headlines crossing the wire daily, it’s essential that companies craft a message that is compelling enough to hook the reader right away.
 
Stand out from the Crowd
Here are the six storytelling ways to improve an earnings release:
 

  • Use conflict to control your company story: While conflict doesn’t sound like something you would want during your earnings season, it can be a useful tool to frame your corporate storytelling positively.
     

    For example, if your company previously struggled last quarter (whether due to profits in the red or a company crisis harming the company’s reputation), your earnings release can build the story around weathering last quarter’s storms to move the company forward in a new strategic direction.

     

    Investors and shareholders are looking to your earnings release for an initial taste of how your company has fared since they checked in last quarter, and they want no detail left out. Take the time to create a story arc that shows how your company has adapted to the questions raised last quarter. Use tables and charts as valuable exposition that compares financial performance with previous quarters.

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  • Exposition is key: An earnings release is nothing without the cold, hard facts. Details such as financial results, tables and charts not only make your release more authoritative and trustworthy, but also generate interest in your company’s approaching earnings call and give shareholders an idea of what to expect.
     

    While there are plenty of specifics from your 10-Q report to choose from, the more visuals you can provide, the better (graphs, tables and charts).

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  • Communicate authority: To give your story authority, include a quote from your company’s CEO or CFO that foreshadows the earnings event to come. While no one wants to read a press release that’s bogged down with quotes, a statement from a relevant, authoritative source can earn the trust of an investor who is researching your company.
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  • Write a compelling headline: Headlines are the first thing potential investors see about your company’s press release. It’s important to leave a good first impression. While earnings releases are a unique challenge because there seems to be less room for creativity than a normal press release, you can make that impression count by writing a headline that clearly and concisely summarizes your company’s story that quarter.
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  • Keep messaging consistent: Remember that the earnings release is just one piece of the earnings season puzzle. Care should be taken to align the story of your quarterly earnings release with the key points your CEO and CFO plan to share in your earnings call.
     

    Investors and shareholders expect consistency. No shareholder wants to dial into an earnings call thinking he or she knows what to expect based on the earnings release and then be surprised by the results the company reports. Consistency is key.

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  • Set the tone: The tone of your message is absolutely essential to writing your earnings release.
     

    Imagine your company spent millions on an acquisition that quarter. Your earnings release sets an optimistic tone and hints at how that addition will transform the company in the quarters to come.

     

    Whether your company is in a time of growth or struggle, be transparent about the direction your company is going in. If that quarter will have negative financial results, the CEO can always emphasize future strategic plans to improve those results during the earnings call

Epilogue: Convert, Distribute and Analyze

Once your company’s earnings release is ready, it’s time to begin the conversion process. Traditionally, this final step has taken hours because of the massive size of the financial tables and charts incorporated into the release. Issuer Direct’s recent ACCESSWIRE software update reduces the process to an impressive five minutes or less.
 
Once your release is converted, ACCESSWIRE can distribute your release across the proper channels and ensure you have the tools you need to measure the effectiveness of your release.

Enhance & Polish
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