Blogging - a new addition to the investor relations syllabus

Much discussion has happened in the blogosphere (see IR Cafe's SEC clarifies guidelines for IR on the Web or IR Web Report's SEC OKs websites and blogs for Reg. FD) as well as in other media recently regarding SEC's new guidance on using corporate Web sites. In short, disclosure nowadays does not necessarily have to equate with a press release. Investor relations professionals now join public relations practitioners, fundraisers, and political campaigners, who have utilized Web sites, as well as blogs, discussion forums, bulletin boards, RSS feeds, and even Facebook, for quite some time already.

Investor relations is just making a small step so far, but today's students who enter the industry four years from today should prepare for how this step will change the industry 5, 10 or 25 years into the future. No doubt, investor relations sections of the corporate Web sites will be used more heavily. More corporate blogs might also appear (perhaps similar to Dell's investor relations blog).

All in all, I would do a disservice to my students if I do not add a certain component to the course covering writing for the Web sites, evaluating Web sites' usage, managing blogs, and monitoring and particapiting in discussion forums or conference boards.

2 comments:

Mike said...

Alexander,
Yes, companies are starting to utilize "Web 2.0" technologies to engage in online dialogue with shareholders. Electronic shareholder forums are beginning to be implemented by forward thinking companies who are embracing these new technologies, and are looking for new ways to communicate with shareholders (not as a replacement, but as an additional communications medium). My company launched eShareholderForum (http://www.eshareholderforum.com),a turnkey solution to help any company with establishing an e-forum on their IR website. We already have companies signing up. I predict that the companies who lead in this area will 1) drive more traffic to their IR sites (shareholders will go there for the e-forum because they know the company is participating), and 2) be seen as more transparent by willingly engaging in a dialogue with shareholders. "IR 2.0" is here to stay, and companies need to get on board because shareholders expect it!

Mike said...

Alexander,
Yes, companies are starting to utilize "Web 2.0" technologies to engage in online dialogue with shareholders. Electronic shareholder forums are beginning to be implemented by forward thinking companies who are embracing these new technologies, and are looking for new ways to communicate with shareholders (not as a replacement, but as an additional communications medium). My company launched eShareholderForum (http://www.eshareholderforum.com),a turnkey solution to help any company with establishing an e-forum on their IR website (one of the features is a blog component). We already have companies signing up. I predict that the companies who lead in this area will 1) drive more traffic to their IR sites (shareholders will go there for the e-forum because they know the company is participating), and 2) be seen as more transparent by willingly engaging in a dialogue with shareholders. "IR 2.0" is here to stay, and companies need to get on board because shareholders expect it!