How companies speak to investors and the media directly impacts if their annual results reach their targeted audience. Communicating annual results is a requirement for every listed company, but it is for every individual company to decide which communication channels should be incorporated.
The Necessary Information an IR Website Should Contain
A company’s IR website is one of the most important sources of information available to investors; allowing them to understand your investment story, vision, and strategy as well as access key financials.
It is vital to ensure that the section is continuously updated so that its content is up-to-date and always reflects the evolving nature of the business.
Outdated information can be misleading and will undermine the credibility of the information offered on the website. On a positive note, the investor relations section can be an efficient way to ensure compliance with the regulatory and legal framework by offering an abundance of resources, thus creating transparency.
Annual reports summarise and provide a record of yearly business activities. Listed companies are required to produce these every year for shareholders and other stakeholders.
Annual reports not only disseminate important information but also help to create a positive impression of the company to stakeholders and opinion leaders. That is why it needs to be engaging and accessible.
The digital annual report is considered best practice in the field of annual reporting. Online interactive reporting is investor-friendly, with a great communication mix, ease of navigation, greater and quicker access to information. Potential investors find it easier to know about your corporate story, your value, and investment potential through the new trend for microsites.
A well-designed online annual report allows management access to key analytics to measure the effectiveness and level of interest of the company over the longer term. This ability to analyze shareholder engagements quickly and accurately is becoming a necessary part of communications planning for investor relations.
As a best practice, your investment thesis should be outlined on the opening page of the IR website. This will highlight your company’s strategic vision, current initiatives, and any key performance indicators that demonstrate its strong track record. Interactive graphs are a great way to communicate your financial performance. Other important elements include current and archived annual reports, press releases, regulatory filings, webcasts, corporate governance, and contact information.
Best Practices to Make Your Annual Report Digital
- Start with an initial summary of the most important key facts for each section.
- Offer simple and clear navigation and the easy finding of content via an intelligent search function.
- Include interactive elements, such as interactive charts, diagrams, and video sliders to capture reader interest and assist their comprehension of the information.
- Provide data for download, for example, the option to download the complete report as a PDF or export data in an Excel table.
The Benefits of Digital Reporting
- Navigation. A digital annual report is available in the same manner as a financial website. However, it is loaded with attractive UX features and texts which perfectly fit the theme, while the relevant topics and menus are on display in various styles and fonts.
- Customizations. An annual report is read by readers of all types, not just stakeholders alone. Potential investors, financial analysts, and other readers look for content that is tailor-made for them specifically. Since the goals and objectives of the readers vary, so should the annual report content.
- Format. Having an annual report microsite does not necessarily mean that the traditional print version pdf is not necessary. If budgets allow it is best to use it to complement the online report and be a part of the overall communications mix.
Elevated user experience. Digital annual reports are more user-friendly and attractive to the readers in comparison to the classic printed ones. Their graphics, narrative style and personalization, make them stand out.
Social provides an additional channel for distributing your content and message. These platforms can help increase the impact of your IR efforts and reach more investors. Providing another channel for potential investors to see and engage with your company also increases the likelihood of finding the right investors, but it’s important to approach this channel strategically.
Social media’s ability to help IROs expand the reach of their efforts, open an additional channel for investors to connect with the company, and gain insight on competitors is undeniable. With 98% of investors reporting using digital sources to conduct research, building a strong presence across all digital channels is critical to reaching investors.
No matter the form of IR communication, it’s important to set the appropriate expectations for investors and financial analysts. This means not just presenting opportunities, but also being outspoken about any challenges your company may face. When paired with thorough and easily accessible information, this will help build credibility for your company, ultimately earning you the trust and confidence of the investment community.
At Sager IR we examine best-practices solutions to ensure your annual results reach the widest and most relevant target audience. Communicating annual results is a requirement for every listed company, but it is for every individual investor relations department to decide which communication channels make the most sense for their company. Our recommendation is to communicate annual results in an easy, efficient way, and to achieve the highest reach through integrated digital reporting.
If you’re looking to achieve more with your annual reporting this year, our experienced team is here to help. We know how essential it is to ensure consistency between all channels and to not think of them as separate information outlets that are used by different target groups.