Earnings Call Planning: Webcast Tools & Messaging for Success

September 11, 2019 10:12 am Published by
With Q3 well underway, it’s time to start planning your upcoming earnings event. Any investor relations officer or earnings event planner will tell you that the earlier you start, the better, especially when it comes to the technology around the all-important earnings call. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step One: Pre-call Planning

Every good earnings call planning process starts by creating a timeline with a clear deadline. This ensures that your team is on the same page about what needs to be accomplished and when. Because most companies turn to an external webcasting provider to manage their webcast, it’s important to start early with researching potential companies, scheduling demos and securing a provider. This way, you can focus on three key points for your earnings call: messaging, business objectives and audience needs.

There’s little time during the heat of earnings season for your corporate communications team to worry about managing the technical parts of the call or webcast. When you secure reliable webcasting technology well in advance, your team is free to focus on the earnings call’s messaging, which is what stakeholders really care about. Nail down who’s going to plan, write and distribute the company’s quarterly earnings release, as this will also be an important part of the promotion strategy for the earnings call.

Next, ensure that the CEO’s message communicates the vision behind the company’s current business objectives. This will help investors and shareholders gain perspective on where the company is headed the rest of the fiscal year and beyond.

Finally, since a large portion of earnings events are one-way communication (usually the CEO and CFO giving a presentation and sharing company performance), it’s important that you plan how your webcasting tools will meet stakeholder needs. Many earnings call webcast providers offer tools with multiple engagement touch points, such as access to press releases, real-time stock quotes and social platform sharing.

Step Two: Pre-call Outreach

It’s almost time for your earnings cal. But who’s going to listen in if you haven’t taken the initial steps of reaching out and building an audience?

The first step in this stage is to use an earnings release to announce the who, what, when, where and why of your webcast to the financial community.

If you’ve planned ahead, distributing your release should be as easy. Make sure, however, that you’ve considered your distribution options to narrow down your audience.

This is also the stage when you should confirm that your webcasting tools are in place to get stakeholders all the information they need in-call. Also, be sure to update your investor relations website with relevant financial and company information from that quarter, as this offers another point opportunity for stakeholders to register for the earnings call and ensures that potential investors researching your company have everything they need leading up to the call or webcast.

Step Three: Execution

Expect the best, prepare for the worst. If you’ve considered every detail and chosen a reliable webcast provider, everything should go as planned. But always make sure you have support staff at the ready during your event, just in case.

Many investors and shareholders will take to social media during and after the call to report on the content and financial results. Designate team members to keep track of stakeholder sentiment during and after the call.

Step Four: Post-call Outreach

Companies tend to approach post-call outreach in different ways. At the very least, most companies distribute a press release highlighting the key messaging of the earnings call. This release, the archived webcast and call transcript are usually uploaded to the company’s IR website for future access by stakeholders when making investment decisions.

Here are a few other outreach strategies:

  • Upload the earnings call presentation or investor slide deck that was presented in the call, so investors can easily walk through highlights
  • Add a past-events section to the IR website, so stakeholders can easily access previous calls and webcasts
  • Share earnings call messaging on social media, so your company controls the message instead of investors and shareholders shaping it on their own
  • Send a follow up email to registrants that informs them where they can access the archived webcast and transcript

Finally, when your outreach is completed, review the analytics reports for both the webcast and the multichannel post-call communication efforts to determine what details can be adjusted to improve next quarter’s earnings event.

Final Thoughts

Without a detailed plan in place, your team may be overwhelmed when they should be thinking about the upcoming quarter. When you secure a webcasting provider well in advance, coordinate an effective earnings message, provide easy access to company information and conduct post-call outreach, you secure better control and greater success.