AT THE National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) annual conference Tuesday there was a session on investor relations blogging attended by about 80 people.
Ryan Lejbak, CEO of new media firm zu.com, caught up with panelist Robert Williams, Director of Investor Relations at Dell Inc., for a video interview that I’ve embedded below. Lejbak also reported the conference session on his company’s blog.
Dell’s IR department launched their IR blog — DellShares — about 9 months ago and have been using it primarily as a way to educate investors about the company’s business.
During the session, which was reported live via the Twitter short-messaging service by Lejbak and Business Wire’s Serena Ehrlich, panelists provided background and tips for IROs who are considering starting their own blogs.
- Start with an internal blog first to gain experience and internal buy-in;
- Make sure you have clear objectives for your blog and understand the time and energy required;
- Have a formal blogging policy in place and educate employees about company expectations around blogs;
- With good policies and monitoring of blogging by employees, there should be no need to have lawyers involved;
- Blog at least twice per week to maintain interest from users;
- Come up with topics to discuss during quiet periods, such as products, interviews, and industry trends.
Also speaking was thecorporatecounsel.net editor Broc Romanek, who joked that IROs had better start blogging if they want to keep their jobs in five years.
His comments were in reference to the fact that social media technologies intersect with a number of forces that are changing the face of investor relations and corporate governance, including growing activism and social awareness of key issues.
Conceivably, individual investors could be connected through technology and a vote trading platform to transfer their voting rights to specific special interest groups. A not-for-profit organization called the Investor Suffrage Movement is currently conducting proxy vote transfer trials to prove the concept and test the legal framework.
Romanek also made the point in a YouTube video recorded with Lejbak after the session that companies should be investing more in their IR websites to ensure that they are building strong online relationships with their shareholders and have the capability to respond to the growing use of the web by activists.