Some companies think that their stock exchange or external online news agencies are a replacement for having their own communications departments. They are wrong.
The Role of News Agencies in Corporate Communication
Online news agencies should not be the primary source of information about a company’s financial performance and plans.
News agencies are often limited in what they can do, and companies may need more control over how their information is presented. Companies should be in complete control of managing their reputation online, particularly in crises.
Shortcomings of External Online News Agencies
Here are some of the things that external online news agencies cannot do:
- Two-way communication representing a company completely: News agencies cannot directly engage with investors and stakeholders to answer questions or provide additional information.
- Free access: Investors and stakeholders may have to pay a fee or log in to access company information on news agency websites.
- Wide range of channels: News agencies may not have access to the broadest range of digital media to maximize visibility among stakeholders. These channels belong to them, not the company. Obvious disconnect there…
- Complete disclosures: News agencies may not publish complete or transparent disclosures. They are required to be independent and may disclose content companies do not want (as happens often).
- On-demand distribution: News agencies may be unable to distribute communications to stakeholders on-demand or target specific stakeholders. They can target, but not the right people from the company’s perspective.
- Guaranteed alignment: News agencies cannot guarantee that published content will align with and protect a company’s best interests.
- Third-party advertising: News agency websites may contain third-party advertising or promotional material. Always, actually.
- Performance analysis: News agencies may not be able to provide companies with insights into the performance of their published content. Some do at a fee.
- ESG reporting: News agency content may not qualify as direct stakeholder engagement for sustainability/ESG reporting frameworks. Media does count, but not as a direct channel. Companies have to tick boxes in this ESG area.
- Corporate website links: News agency content may not provide direct links to a company’s corporate website and supporting media.
The Superiority of a Company-Managed Communication Strategy
By contrast, a company-managed function enables complete control over the published content and its presentation.
A news agency directly engages with investors and stakeholders, builds relationships, and manages its reputation, but this is secondary and complementary (most of the time) to the core company function.
How AfricanFinancials Can Help
Considering the gaps in using external news agencies alone, it’s essential for companies to establish robust in-house investor relations management. AfricanFinancials’ Strategy and Consulting services can guide companies in this journey, ensuring that their investor relations efforts meet the highest standards and truly serve their stakeholders.