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EFFECTIVE MEDIA STRATEGIES

FOR COMMUNICATING
QUARTERLY EARNINGS

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THE GAME HAS CHANGED
Financial media are one channel through which companies communicate their
earnings messaging and corporate strategy to financial audiences.
With shrinking budgets and staff, many media outlets are decreasing their coverage
of earnings or treating earnings dates as non-events.
To complicate matters, many editorial outlets are automating earnings coverage,
instead utilizing a formulaic approach that does not include messages or contextual
and qualitative information.
However, there are strategies that a company can employ to encourage thoughtful
earnings media coverage.
This brochure provides an overview of earnings media trends, specific tendencies
of key publications and initial recommendations for generating more favorable
coverage.

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EARNINGS COVERAGE PATTERNS
Based on research of a broad selection of companies’ earnings coverage, we found
several key takeaways about how media handle earnings reports:
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Articles are more likely to be written when the stock price reacts significantly.
If a company is in the news cycle for another reason (product news, executive
moves, investor challenges), quarterly earnings are more likely to be covered.
Larger companies are likely to attract more stories with higher word count.
Reporters do quote comments from earnings calls, but they quote the press
release more frequently.
Almost all stories compare reported results to the last year’s earnings from the
same period.
Most stories refer to consensus and whether or not companies beat estimates.
Some companies receive dedicated coverage (standalone articles), whereas
others are grouped in industry round-ups.
A company’s performance is often compared to peers, so date of earnings
announcement dates matters within a specific sector.
Outlets compete to be first with news, so key metrics are often plugged into
standard story templates that may be updated with more context later.

Coverage Volume Correlates to Market Cap

Typical Coverage Elements

Almost half of
earnings stories
include quotations
from press release

Most earnings media
stories include
estimates miss/beat

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EARNINGS MEDIA LANDSCAPE
Each news outlet is evolving its approach to covering quarterly earnings. Below
are updates to serve as a guide to working with reporters across wire, business
print, local print, broadcast and digital outlets.

Outlet Detail:
WIRES
Best practice is to
ensure the beat
reporters have a full
background on the
company.
Reporters are
looking to write
about a marketmoving aspect of
results or about how
results are relevant
to topical market
trends.
CEO access will help
gain interest.

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Often outsourced to Bangalore, India.
Stories post within five minutes after earnings.
Headlines must focus on revenue, EPS or sales.

OUTSOURCED EARNINGS:  The majority of Reuters earnings coverage is
outsourced to the company’s Bangalore bureau.  U.S.–based writers are unlikely
to cover earnings unless the company is a mainstay in the U.S. newscycle
(i.e. Facebook or Apple).
REPORTER ASSIGNMENTS:  Reporters in Bangalore are dedicated to sectors
(i.e. technology or industrial) so coverage of a company's earnings is dependent
on the level of interest in a particular industry.  They are required to listen to the
earnings call for stories they write.
TIMING:  Reuters editors require reporters post their first earnings story within
five minutes of the earnings release going live.

Well-known
companies take
priority.

Covers when there is high activity on terminals for news about the company.
Well-known companies of interest will consistently get earnings coverage.
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Lesser-known companies may not be covered, unless:
–– There is a market-moving aspect of the earnings announcement;
–– Bloomberg terminal users are monitoring news about the company; or
–– The company and earnings are relevant to a topical trend in the market.
•• Automated stories are managed by a 10-person team.
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Uses Automatic Insights to generate stories
Editors have control
No byline common
Rarely interested in executive interviews

AUTOMATED EARNINGS PROCESS:  AP now uses a proprietary process called
Automatic Insights to automate the writing of earnings stories for a variety of US public
companies.
IN-DEPTH REPORTING RARE, BUT POSSIBLE IF YOU ARE POPULAR: AP editors
choose companies for in-depth earnings interviews – that they will write
themselves – based on “popularity and timing.”  Editors will assign in-depth earnings
stories for companies with large retail followings who have “had a substantial
presence in the news cycle recently” or companies who have announced new
product launches, management changes, major stock moves, etc. recently.
NO BYLINES:  Many earnings “in depth” stories will not have bylines and therefore
appear automated when in fact they are written by one of AP’s beat reporters.

Outlet Detail:
BUSINESS
PRINT
Prefer embargoed
press release.
CEO interview will
draw beat reporter.
Include product news,
but event(s) can take
center stage over
earnings.
Great chance of
pickup if release
issued in the morning.

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Real-time news desk is staffed with reporters to write based on the release.
Beat reporters are putting less emphasis on ordinary real-time news.
Editors push for perspective from analysts, investors, customers or
former employees.
Visuals are created on a case by case basis.
Special attention is often paid to those companies that raise or lower their
profit/sales forecasts (reporters are trained to look out for this).
Reporter will always mention analysts estimates (consensus).
A CEO interview can determine whether or not a beat reporter gets involved
in the story.
Morning stocks roundup typically includes companies that reported that
morning or are scheduled to report that day.

Consistent story
elements.

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OUTSOURCED EARNINGS:  Forbes outsources their earnings preview coverage
by having Narrative Science, a research firm, produce the preview articles. For
day-of or post-earnings coverage, the duties will fall to the Forbes staff to decide
if the results were newsworthy and deserving of a dedicated article.
COVERAGE CRITERIA: Forbes looks at company size, reader interest and
uniqueness before deciding to cover the earnings announcement. They are
more likely to write about larger companies, brands/companies that readers will
recognize, and companies that have a unique story angle such as being an outlier
or first-mover in their industry.

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The first take of an earnings story is done by “FastFT,” a team dedicated to
drafting 300 words with basic key information and a link to the company’s
press release.

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FastFT files a second take within an hour to provide additional analysis.

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Beat reporters typically pick up the coverage of the earnings report if the
company is a major multinational.

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Special attention is often paid to those companies that raise or lower their
profit/sales forecasts (reporters trained to look out for this).

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FT uses different metrics for the U.S. and the U.K.

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In the U.S., earnings stories use net income.

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In the U.K., earnings stories use pre-tax profit.

Stories often quote industry and financial analyst comments on the
company and trends.

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Moving away from earnings coverage.

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The largest corporations are more likely to get coverage, but that is not
always guaranteed.

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The business editor does not view earnings coverage as core to the section.

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Reporters may cover a company’s earnings one quarter but not the next.

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Coverage is often at the beat reporter’s discretion.

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Earnings are generally used as a means to tell a larger story about
the company and business trends.

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Articles about earnings allow the reporter to provide a snapshot-in-time of
the company, its opportunities and its challenges.

Outlet Detail:
LOCAL PRINT
Local publications
may cover the large
companies in their
area.
Unlike the wires
and business
print, stories are
more likely to be
customized.

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Outlet Detail:
ONLINE
Retail outlets like
Seeking Alpha
and TheStreet.
com are becoming
more popular and
influential.
These outlets cover
earnings similar to
wire outlets. They
will however often
provide more context
around the numbers.

New “sniff test” excludes traditional numbers.

Low editorial oversight on contributed articles.

“What to Expect” pre-earnings stories are common.
TheStreet.com is home to Jim Cramer’s blog.
•• TheStreet TV is gaining traction, resulting in an uptick in video content.
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Sometimes written
off press releases,
but pieces are
increasingly
including analysis.

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Consistent story elements:

Outlet Detail:
BUSINESS TV

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Beat/missed estimates.

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Year-over-year results comparison.

Covers earnings
of well-known
companies and
companies that see
stock movement
post-announcement.

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Raise or lower their profit/sales forecasts.

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Industry guidance/trends.

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Business broadcast will cover earnings from notable companies on a breaking
news basis.

Best to pitch four
days in advance.

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Sometimes earnings are mentioned on-air, but more often key metrics are
displayed quickly on screen.

Prefer to have CEO
on-air on day of
earnings release,
does not have to
be immediately
following the results.

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Experimenting with audience interaction, like real-time polling about a
company issue as earnings are announced.

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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CULTIVATING
FAVORABLE MEDIA COVERAGE
PREPARATION
…… Set expectations internally.
•• Coverage of a company’s earnings is not guaranteed, regardless of the company’s size or prominence.
•• Almost all stories compare the current period with the same period prior year, consensus, guidance,
stock price and performance against peers.
•• Reporters will seek to explain stock price fluctuations – positive or negative.
•• Industry round-ups are common.
…… Build and sustain relationships with beat reporters and editors to make earnings a higher priority.
•• What is PR relationship?
•• What is relationship between reporter and executives?
…… Be familiar with industry experts who are not staff at news outlets but contribute to sites with high traffic,
like Forbes and Seeking Alpha.
…… Craft a unique pitch angle:
•• Is there other company news aligned with timing of earnings to give media more reason to cover results
announcement?
•• Are executives providing a specific focus about the company’s vision for the future or an update on
corporate strategy?
…… Consider embargo for select highly trusted reporters, especially if there are complicating factors in the
quarterly results that would benefit from explanation.

ON EARNINGS DAY
…… Issue press release before or after market hours in order to get picked up in “market roundup” stories.
…… Reach out to provide release, images and any other material.
…… Consider interviews with company executives to add further perspective and provide unique quotations for
stories:
•• Exclusive one-on-one interviews are most likely to draw interest.
•• Companies with a large media following can alternatively consider hosting a “media call” to which they
can invite a group of reporters at the same time.
…… Monitor coverage in real time and have plan in place for immediate outreach to ensure accuracy;
outlets are more likely to make a correction if contacted in timely fashion.

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CONTACT EDELMAN
http://www.EdelmanFinComms.com

Copyright ©2016 Daniel J. Edelman, Inc. All rights reserved.
All information contained herein is confidential and proprietary to Daniel J. Edelman, Inc. (“Edelman”).

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