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IPO Communications Strategy: Identifying and Understanding Your Audiences

Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 11:15
IPO Communications Strategy: Identifying and Understanding Your Audiences

In addition to a company’s founding, making the first sale or becoming profitable, an initial public offering (IPO) is one of the most significant milestones a business can achieve.

Having a strong IPO communications strategy before, during and after the IPO can be a driving factor in that achievement.

It’s commonly believed that the most important day regarding an IPO is “listing day,” but, to have a successful offering, investor relations officers (IROs) and communications teams need to start their preparations far in advance of even filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  

During the filing stage, this will most likely be the first time that a company will be put under a lot of scrutiny. To appeal to the marketplace during this time of uncertainty, IROs need to build a content strategy that will highlight their company’s thought leadership and key innovations to position themselves as a unique and successful company.

Communications teams should also understand how they want to distribute this content, who they want to distribute it to and how their audience is expected to react to the news. After all, the key to any successful campaign is identifying and understanding your target audiences.

  • What kind of investors are you targeting?
  • What analyst communities are important to your industry?
  • Who are the financial media stakeholders that can tell my company’s story?

Investor relations (IR) and communications teams may or may not have an answer to all of these questions, but every IPO has multiple audiences and each of them need to be considered during every step.

To effectively communicate this news with your audiences, consider these steps to better understand each audience.

Segment

Divide each audience into groups. Each segment will have unique ways of talking about your company or industry and prefer different ways of receiving news.

Research

Collect facts. Data could include other stories a financial journalist has written or how investors are talking about your company’s news on forums and other social media platforms.

Researching your audiences will help you build more meaningful messaging and allow you to tell your story in a way that will excite investors and analysts in their evaluations of your company.

Once you have built an audience framework for your IPO communications, these four strategies will help you reach each of these audiences with relevant content.

General Distribution

Also known as “undifferentiated distribution,” this refers to a strategy that will appeal to all segments at once.

Major announcements, filing information and financials should be distributed through as many circuits as possible. Typically in the form of press releases, this content will cast a wide net and reach all of your audiences across all channels.

Differentiated Distribution

This strategy creates similar messages that apply to different audiences. The same message can appeal to separate segments at different times.

This is especially important during the quiet period between filing and listing day. Content created and distributed prior to filing needs tell the same story across multiple audiences throughout the IPO process.

Direct Distribution

Direct distribution involves creating a messaging strategy for a single audience. During your audience research, identify specific topics that appeal to that specific community.

This creates more meaningful content that will achieve higher impact and improve the opportunity for message pick up.

Relationship Management

This is an emerging strategy in digital marketing but has been around for a very long time in the IR and public relations (PR) world.

Relationships made directly with financial journalists or individual analysts will allow you to manage your story and the messaging your contacts share with their readers. Database tools will help you create lists and engage directly with those audiences.

Learn more about our PR newswire service and how this can help shape your IPO communications strategy.

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