The Ultimate Guide to Investor Relations 2024

The Ultimate Guide to Investor Relations 2024
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Discover how to create a successful investor relations strategy to help you engage with current and prospective investors, analysts, and your internal team. 

Whether you’re just starting to devise an IR strategy, or you’re refreshing your existing one, it never hurts to reassess your processes and come up with new ways to engage investors. In this guide, we’ll cover the key functions of investor relations, and building out your investor relations strategy.

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What is investor relations?

Defined by CIRI (Canadian Investor Relations Institute), “​​Investor relations is the strategic management responsibility that integrates the disciplines of finance, communications, marketing, securities law compliance, and sustainability to achieve an effective flow of information between a company, the investment community, and other stakeholders, in order to support an informed valuation of the company’s securities and enable fair and efficient capital markets.”

Investor relations basic terms

  • Institutional investors: Are companies or organizations that invests money on behalf of clients or members. These entities include hedge funds, pensions funds, mutual funds, money managers, insurance companies.
  • Retail investors: Also known as an individual investor, is a non-professional investor who buys and sells securities or funds that contain a basket of securities such as mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs). Retail investors execute their trades through traditional or online brokerage firms or other type of investment accounts. 
  • Private company: Companies that are held privately means that, in most cases, the company is owned by its founders, management, or a group of private investors. A private company can’t rely on selling stocks or bonds on the public market in order to raise cash to fund its growth. 
  • Public Company: Is a company that has sold all or a portion of itself to the public via an initial public offering (IPO), meaning shareholders have a claim to part of the company’s assets and profits. The main advantage public companies have is their ability to tap the financial markets by selling stock (equity) or bonds (debt) to raise capital (i.e. cash) for expansion and other projects. 
  • Market Capitalization: Market Capitalization refers to the total dollar market value of a company’s outstanding shares of stock. Commonly referred to as “market cap”, it’s calculated by multiplying the total number of a company’s outstanding shares by the current market price of one share. Companies are typically divided according to market capitalization: large-cap, mid-cap, and small-cap. 

The evolving role of investor relations

With so many shifts in equity markets (activist investing, ESG, the proliferation of index funds), the nature of investor relations and the function of an Investor Relations Officer have fundamentally changed. Today’s IRO needs to be a proactive, strategic, relationship builder who is capable of supporting and communicating the company strategy while building the credibility of the company management team.

According to HBR, the IRO role is changing in four major ways:

  1. Modern IROs are responsible for articulating company strategy to investors. Gone are the days of simply explaining corporate strategy and practices, they’re now focused on why that strategy is best-positioned to unlock shareholder value to attract and keep long-term investors. 
  2. Less keeping track, more intelligence gathering. The modern IRO must become an intelligence agent of sorts, getting ahead of and identifying issues that investors care about. 
  3. Finding the right investors -- with so many companies working hard to raise investor capital, IROs need to understand their peers in-depth and get ahead of trends among buy-side analysts. Further, the best IROs will know how to find the right investors for the company and ensure that they’ve bought into the company strategy.
  4. Being the canary in the coal mine. The modern IRO isn’t just financially savvy, but they have the ability to truly understand how investors operate. Modern IROs need to stay on top of capital and talent allocation and how they fit into the company’s long-term strategy. The role should function as an early warning system.
“The current market for IROs has been elevated tremendously to new levels of respect and importance, frankly, to both management teams and boards”

Why modern investor relations is important to the success of a company

With these fundamental shifts, investor relations is becoming more and more important to a company’s success. A modern, proactive approach to IR provides many benefits including::

  1. The ability to articulate company strategy effectively, maximizing long-term shareholder value. 
  2. Strategic feedback and competitive insights that help senior management to refine the company strategy.
  3. Stabilize your share price via regular communication with investors that avoids panic buying & selling.
  4. Giving accurate and relevant information to analysts and investors helps to reduce the cost of capital by giving them a deeper understanding of your company and the ability to project the company’s performance more accurately.
  5. The ability to grow and diversify your investor base and expand analyst coverage resulting in better trade liquidity and lower cost of capital. 

Read the blog: Management's Influence on Investor Decision Making

Key functions of investor relations

  1. Building confidence in the company in the investment community.
  2. Communicate the company story and differentiators consistently, comprehensively, and accurately with existing and prospective investors. 
  3. Manage and align expectations via clear, consistent dialogue with the markets around earnings, net debt levels, shareholder remuneration, corporate strategy, and market conditions. 
  4. Maintain relationships and communications with analysts.
  5. Establish, build, and maintain relationships with shareholders to reinforce management and company credibility.
  6. Find new, good-fit investors for the company to diversify the shareholder base. 
  7. Build internal awareness of the investor relations function and its benefits. 
  8. Understand and keep management aware of market perception and possible issues.
  9. Develop and maintain the investor relations strategy and program. 
  10. Ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
  11. Develop and maintain corporate disclosure policy.

Read the blog: How to Start an In-house Investor Relations Function

Signs you have a strong investor relations strategy

  1. Distinctive presence in the investment community.
  2. Understanding of the company value story and how that differentiates the company from competitors and competing investment opportunities by the market. 
  3. Demonstrate the strengths of your company management.
  4. Building sell-side analyst coverage. 
  5. Expansion of shareholder base.
  6. Consistent and fair valuations.
  7. Easier and cheaper access to capital. 
  8. Strong and consistent IR materials.

Read how Sierra Metals used Irwin to increase liquidity, broaden their network, and achieve an 8x increase in share price

Best practices for successful investor relations teams

There are a few best practices that will ensure that you have a best-in-class IR practice within your company.

Understand your shareholders & anticipate changes

  • The Investor Relations team should act as the “voice of the investors”, you should have a deep understanding of your investors and their expectations. Having regular meetings with investors to understand who they are and their view on the company is an essential part of gaining this deep understanding and building strong relationships. 
  • You must understand what is happening in the market as it relates to your company. Keep track of peers, your industry (sector and sub-sector), and region. This allows you to contextualize your company’s performance. 

Read the blog post: How to determine your peers and conduct an in-depth industry analysis

  • Know who your investors are. Using a combination of public filings and non-reported data allows you to efficiently communicate, and adapt accordingly.
  • Understand how you are perceived in the market -- review research and estimates from analysts. Maintain an understanding of this perception, and keep a record of your meetings with analysts.

Read our blog post: Why You Should Track Your NOBO Shareholders

Be an active communicator

  • Have easy-to-access IR information available on your IR website
  • Use communication tools (regulatory filings, quarterly earnings, roadshows, conferences, annual reports) to effectively tell your company story and build the credibility of your management team.

Learn more about Irwin IQ, unparalleled insights from your IR website.

What you don't measure, you can't manage

  • Create a scorecard of performance indicators that are a blend of financial and non-financial metrics.
  • Track meeting history and investment activity to understand the impact of your IR strategy.
  • Monitor market data

Read our blog post: Why You Need a Dedicated Investor CRM

Management buy-in

It’s imperative in IR that your management team is committed to investor relations and understands its contribution and the support required.

Set investor relations objectives, goals, measurement, and strategy

Key to any strong strategy is the alignment of your objectives, goals, measurement, and strategy. Below is an outline of the definitions of each of those:

  • Objectives - These are broad statements of direction that create a bridge from your vision to the annual plan or goals. Objectives will change infrequently.
  • Goals - these should reflect what you hope to achieve in the next 6-12 months and adapt based on environmental, budget, or resource conditions. These should change more frequently. 
  • Strategy - how are you going to achieve those goals?
  • Measurement - How will you know if you’ve achieved success, or are on the right track?

Measuring the value of investor relations

Investor relations can require significant investments in terms of financial resources and management commitment. Your company’s board and management will want to see a measurable return on investment, however, measuring investor relations effectiveness are often cited as a major concern for investor relations professionals. 

It’s often (incorrectly) assumed that share price performance is the key performance indicator, but this is a false indicator given the share price can be tied to many other forces outside of the IR teams control, and it’s better to have a scorecard approach to measurement that is a mixture of soft and hard targets, where your management team doesn’t look at any one metric in isolation. Some scorecard-combination metrics can include:

Financial metrics:

  • Share price relative to your peer group and sector
  • Valuation ratios relative to your peer group and sector
  • The variance of earnings forecasts
  • Share price volatility

Non-financial metrics:

  • Analyst and investor perception survey results
  • Number of investor meetings
  • Effectiveness of those meetings (how many of those meetings turned into new investors?)
  • Investor turnover
  • Levels and quality of sell-side coverage

Using frameworks for each of your objectives is a good way to derive which goals and measurement metrics support your department’s objective. 

Read the blog post: Measuring Performance: how to prove IR's value to management

Example framework for a single objective:

Measurement framework for a single objective

Download: The Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing IR Software

Read the case study: How Snap One Holdings leverages Irwin to better track and manage investor interactions

Investor relations objectives

The first step in building an effective IR strategy is understanding your objectives. Some examples are below:

Educate and build confidence in company story and strategy

Build confidence in the company with investors and analysts to create value, educate constituents on management’s long-term strategy and vision to create confidence in delivering shareholder value. Build confidence in the organization, grow the base of long-term investors, and reduce the cost of capital.

How to turn this objective into goals + KPIs:

Example Goal: 

  1. The number of meetings with investors booked. This allows you to educate and build confidence with them.
  2. Increase the number of sell-side analysts covering our company.

Example Key Performance Indicators:

  1. # of meetings that turned into shareholders
  1. Conversion % of meetings to new shareholders
  1. # of new analysts

Listen to the podcast episode: Building a Strong Foundation: Creating an In-House Investor Relations Department from the Ground Up with Brooks Rennie

Communication pathways to achieve the best possible valuation

Create communication pathways between the company, the investment community, and other constituents (such as analysts and media) that allow financial information, strategic plans, competitive positioning, and other communications to be effectively communicated in order to optimize for the best possible valuation.

“One of the biggest misconceptions about the sell-side is that it’s an adversaial relationship between the company and the sell side. And certainly there may be occasions where it is, but it’s not really designed to be. There’s a lot of room to work together with the analysts to get your story across.”

Understand and monitor shareholder shifts

Monitoring your shareholder base can give you significant insight into who’s buying and selling, which can give you the head-start in understanding why changes are happening, and who you need to arrange meetings with. It’s also insightful to do this same monitoring for your sector and your peers.

Target new investors + analysts

Your IR team should be consistently reaching out to new investors and analysts whose strategies and profiles are a good fit with the company’s strategy and growth to diversify your shareholder base, reduce volatility in your stock, and secure more long-term investors.

Download the checklist: How to Target Better Investors for Your Company

Build, maintain, upgrade, and distribute IR collateral

The key to building confidence is professional and useful preparation for investor meetings and collateral requests. Understand your business identity, key messages, supporting data, and distribute it through effective IR presentations, newsletters, your annual report, emails, and your investor relations website.

Download the checklist: How to Better Prepare for Investor Meetings

Monitor market sentiment & analyst forecasts

This will help you to ensure that they are giving a realistic representation of your company’s current performance. This is especially important to reduce discrepancies between your owned investor communications and sudden shifts in sentiment due to the publishing of research and estimates.

Learn more about Irwin's Partnership With Factset

Implement an investor relationship management system

To build an efficient and effective IR program you will require information and insight on your shareholders (whether reported or unreported) for discussions with your management team, analysts, and prospective investors. It’s also imperative to keep a record of your IR activity so that you can provide context to your management team before roadshows and investor meetings, and ultimately prove the impact of your program.

Read our blog post: Why you need a dedicated investor CRM

Develop your company pitch

The foundation of your IR strategy is the strength of your company pitch. Your company should have an investment proposition that tells investors why your company is a good choice for investors and should include:

  • What differentiates your business
  • Your company story
  • Where you’re positioned in relation to your competitors/peers
  • Your management’s quality, experience, and credibility
  • Shareholder value metrics: projected returns, cash flows, projected growth, cost of capital
  • Your growth story and strategy, your track record of growth and profitability
  • Forward-looking industry growth
  • Any relevant analyst reports or press clippings
  • Demonstrable catalysts

These elements in combination tell a strong, credible investment story and create strong positioning for your company that can help it stand out from your peers.

Read our blog: How to Prepare an Investor Pitch

Download the ebook: The IRO's Guide to Building a Strong Investor Brand

Key IR communication materials

There are a few ways to communicate with your constituents, and below are the most common communication materials:

1. The annual report, part of due diligence for most analysts before deciding to follow a stock.

  • Most credible
  • Most durable

2. Your investor relations website, the first place analysts go to get information on your company

  • Most cost-effective
  • Widest reach
  • First point of contact
  • Vehicle for other important communications

3. Presentations, help to build management credible which can influence investment decisions

  • Interactive
  • Allow you to get instant feedback
  • The best source of information for your company story and other non-financial information.

4. IR newsletters

5. Press

Download the Guide to Writing a Successful Investor Email


ESG stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance factors. ESG is a system by which companies can measure and report on factors that affect their business, and allows them to identify risk and opportunity so that all stakeholders can understand what the future of the business looks like. High ESG scores for your company are considered a proxy for overall good corporate management, and allow you to set goals and communicate with your constituents your findings and progress. 

Read our blog post: ESG 101: How to Get Started With ESG

According to a recent analysis by Bloomberg Intelligence, ESG assets are set to cross the $50tn mark by 2025, which is over one-third of projected Global Assets Under Management. In the simplest of terms, your company is more likely to succeed and deliver strong returns if your value as a company is evident to all your stakeholders (customers, employees, suppliers) and a wider society including the environment, and not just the company owners or beneficiaries. 

More and more investors are showing interest in long-term investment opportunities and ESG integration. They’re increasingly using ESG information to make investment decisions and sometimes will engage dedicated ESG professionals to assess your company’s sustainability performance. 

If you’re looking to attract long-term investors, but don’t integrate ESG into your value story, there is a high probability you may be overlooked. 

“It all comes down to messaging. When you make the conscious decision to not disclose something, or to not submit something for a certain framework, I think that’s okay. It’s just a matter of having a reason why. And that’s where the priorities and the roadmap comes into play.”

The core of a strong ESG strategy and story is a collaboration between your IR and Sustainability teams because it’s mutually beneficial for IR and Sustainability teams to provide investors with a fair and transparent account of the company’s opportunities and exposures. IR ultimately owns the relationships with investors and can view the strategy through a financial lens, while sustainability teams have a deep knowledge of how the company is addressing ESG issues in both the short and long term.

Your role as an IRO is imperative as the storyteller of your company’s sustainable practices and is often trusted with the task of leading the ESG conversation with investors and analysts. 

Shareholder monitoring can be an effective way to understand who your top investors are, and what their approach to ESG is. If these are long-term investors, they care about long-term value creation and sustainability, and will likely have clear expectations when it comes to ESG.

Listen to the Winning IR Podcast Episode: The Most Frequently Asked Questions About ESG with Victoria Sivrais


Messaging should be reviewed periodically with feedback from investors and analysts to ensure that the points remain relevant and are kept up-to-date.

Shareholder monitoring

One of your key objectives as an IR team is to understand your shareholder base, along with a wider investor audience. Consistently monitoring your shareholder base will enable you to track changes to ownership, deliver insight, and reveal trends. Consistent shareholder monitoring can also identify potential activist investors, changes in your retail holders, and give you insight into investors such as their location, size of their holdings, and their investment style. 

Successful IR teams should have shareholder monitoring plans -- understand what it is you need to monitor, what you will do with that information, and how it will work its way into your communication plan for outreach, board reports, earnings calls, etc. 

Your shareholder monitoring plan should also allow you to better track your return on investment as it relates to investor targeting, roadshows, and conferences.

Read how Constellation Software is using Irwin to quickly access shareholder histories, monitoring holders, and saving time on reporting.

Different types of shareholder data

Depending on the stage of your company and the complexity of your shareholder base, there are different types of data you will need to effectively monitor your shareholders. Issuers rely on this information to identify and connect with their existing shareholders. There are, however, different types of data available, and depending on your company’s maturity, complexity, and size, these data sources have different levels of priority.

Reported shareholders

In the US, for example, institutional investment managers with at least $100 million in assets under management are required by the Securities and Exchange Commission to file a 13F. This quarterly filing discloses their equity holdings. 

The challenge with relying only on publicly reported information is that information is not timely and up-to-date. The 13F, for example, requires fund managers to file 45 days after the end of each quarter. For IROs, this can mean that by the time you see the data, it’s already out of date.

Unreported shareholders

Public companies in North America are able to request a list of their registered and Non-Objecting Beneficial Owners (NOBO) shareholders, providing a view into those shareholders who do not publicly report positions. 

According to Irwin’s Co-founder and CEO, David Whyte (originally published in IR Magazine) “The NOBO list is an increasingly important dataset that allows companies to access frequent insight into their non-reported shareholder base, which includes retail investors, family offices and some hedge funds. This can represent a significant portion ranging from 20 percent to 80 percent of a total shareholder base, depending on the size of the company.”

He continues “In other regions, such as the UK and Australia, issuers and their advisers have the right to request information from investors as to whether or not they own their shares. In the UK, this law is called Section 793. The analysis and aggregation of this data are known as shareholder registry analysis and can be 80 percent to 95 percent accurate in determining a company’s shareholder base.”

Including unreported shareholders alongside your publicly reported data gives you a more comprehensive view of your shareholders.

Download the ebook: How to understand and engage with the modern retail investor

Stock surveillance

Stock surveillance is an ongoing consultative service that focuses on understanding institutional shareholder movements, and the factors that contribute to these movements. Stock Surveillance providers deliver insight to issuers via a combination of publicly available data, broker reports, settlement data, market contacts, and their own research, which is the most real-time view you can have of your current shareholders.

Read: The Ultimate Guide to Shareholder Activism and Proxy Contests

Do all issuers need all data sources?

Short answer, no. The below image illustrates (in a general sense) when issuers need which data, based on shareholder complexity and company size:

What type of shareholder data do you need?

Benefits of effective shareholder monitoring

Shareholder monitoring is a fundamental role of the modern IR team, but it has distinct benefits:

  • Gauging risks and opportunities - the ability to assess ownership risks and opportunities. According to our data, it’s 9x more likely that current shareholders will acquire more shares than it is for net new investors to become shareholders. 
  • Cheaper and more efficient financings - when you have a strong grasp on your shareholder base, you can execute financings more efficiently by engaging private placements without an investment bank, and the ability to negotiate with investment banks in their fee structure based on your knowledge of your shareholder base. 
  • A stabilized share price.
  • General relationship management with your shareholder base (which makes it harder for your investors to sell out).

Investor targeting + roadshow strategy

Investor targeting

Read the Ultimate Guide to Investor Targeting

Acquiring new investors is one of the most critical strategic endeavours for investor relations departments. Your management, with the support from the IR team, should spend time understanding what kind of investors your company wants to have - defining a target investor profile that can guide you in your targeting efforts. You could compare your shareholder base with that of your peers to understand gaps or under-represented areas, as well as identifying individual institutions (and the right contacts within those institutions) that hold the shares of your peers to help to build out that profile.

One mistake companies often make is taking a “spray and pray” approach to investor relations, casting an extremely wide net and meeting with investors of every shape and size. While having lots of meetings can feel productive, it can also be a massive waste of time. Defining an “Ideal Investor Profile” can help to focus your targeting and marketing efforts to ensure the highest chances of converting investor meetings into a shareholder. 

Read the blog: How to determine your ideal investor type

Consider the following questions when developing your targeting and roadshow strategy:

  • Who are our existing shareholders?
  • How do we build a balanced shareholder base in terms of concentration, geographies, investment style, retail/institutional split, etc?
  • Should we prioritize our existing shareholders in terms of communication and outreach? And/or target key underweights/non-shareholders?
  • What are our criteria for targeting? (peer targeting, fund weighting, fund investment styles, average turnover, etc)
  • Do we want to include debt investors in our outreach? 
  • Have we already engaged with any of the investors? What was the result of those meetings?
  • Do we want to focus on a new member of the management team or IR team to introduce to the market?
  • How will we track our activity and progress?

Read how Spark Networks is using Irwin to enhance their outreach potential

Targeting different types of investors

Let’s review the different types of investors:

Institutional investor

An institutional investor is a company or organization that invests money on behalf of other people. Institutional investors often buy and sell substantial blocks of stocks, bonds, and other securities. 

  • Mutual funds, pensions, insurance companies, hedge funds and endowments are all examples of institutional investors. 
  • The buying and selling of large positions by institutional investors can create supply and demand imbalances that result in sudden price moves in stocks, bonds, or other assets. 


An investment analyst is a financial professional with expertise in evaluating financial and investment information, typically for the purpose of making buy, sell, and hold recommendations for securities. 

  • Brokerage firms, investment advisors, and mutual fund companies hire investment analysts to prepare investment research for multiple purposes. 
  • An investment analyst is a financial professional with expertise in evaluating financial and investment information. 
  • There are both buy-side and sell-side analysts. Buy-side analysts work for fund managers at mutual fund brokers and financial advisory firms and identify investment opportunities for their firm. Sell-side equity analysts often work for the big investment banks and issue buy, sell, and hold recommendations as well as company-specific research. 

Venture Capitalist

A venture capitalist (VC) is a private equity investor that provides capital to companies with high growth potential in exchange for an equity stake.This could be funding startup ventures or supporting small companies that wish to expand but do not have access to equities market. 

Listen to the Episode: Alex Jorgensen From Prosek Partners on Ensuring You Have the Right Team to Go Public


Roadshows are a critical part of your communications arsenal when it comes to attracting investors. Many investors won’t invest in a company without having the opportunity to meet with senior management, and roadshows provide that face-to-face opportunity. Companies should have regular roadshows to meet with current and prospective investors to increase investor support and secure the company’s ability to access the equity and debt markets.

Successful Corporate Access and an IRO

Deal & non-deal roadshows

There are usually two classifications of roadshows, a ‘deal roadshow’ and a ‘non-deal roadshow’. A deal roadshow will usually be an IPO roadshow or a roadshow for capital increases. Non-deal roadshows are conducted without the intention of selling or offering anything. Oftentimes, companies will undertake roadshows for their current investors, but also while looking to attract new investors in the process.

When to plan for roadshows?

It’s normal to arrange for non-deal roadshows after earnings results, blocking out full days for your executive team. Deal roadshows are often for capital raises or when a company is about to IPO.

Read the case study: How 908 Devices leveraged Irwin throughout their IPO journey to better track & manage investor interactions

Tips to a successful roadshow

  • Undertake an investor targeting exercise ahead of any roadshow. With your brokers, look for investors who are already invested in your peers, sector, and who fit your ideal target investor profile. Remember that not every meeting a third party schedules for you is going to be a good fit, so doing some research ahead of time can ensure you do not waste time meeting investors who are not a fit. 
  • Plan the roadshow schedule with detailed itineraries of your management team’s meetings. Ensure they are well prepared and have enough context on who they’re meeting with, their backgrounds, investment style, current holdings, previous conversations/meetings, and their outcomes. This is true even if meetings are being arranged by a third party. 
  • Your executive team should be supported with several IR materials: Customized presentations for investors, quick access to financial data, IR support to anticipate difficult questions and get back to investors with appropriate answers. 
  • Make sure the materials above are tailored to the investors you are meeting with. This does not mean creating dozens of different presentations, but perhaps having a few versions depending on who you are meeting with. Some investors may want very detailed presentations while others may want high level details on financials - know your audience. 
  • Ensure you have all the data. In the US, 13Fs are useful snapshots of activity, but by the time you bring this data to a meeting, it’s already outdated. Many European pension funds, as another example, don’t file at all. Understanding your non-reporting shareholders via NOBO lists or Share Register Analysis is a way to show up more prepared. 
  • Keep track of your activity. Meeting notes, outcomes, follow-up tasks, and data snapshots of before/after roadshows can help you understand and optimize your future roadshows.

Read our blog post: How to plan a hybrid virtual/in-person roadshow

Analyst/Capital Markets Days

Many companies will choose to organize Analyst or Capital Markets Days, often in the off-season, to provide financial stakeholders (sell-side analysts, buy-side analysts, and fund managers are typical attendees) the opportunity to meet the management of the company, get more information on the company, and this gives the company a chance to show a broader perspective. They’re a good opportunity to present the company’s operations, strategy, and long-term outlook.

Site visits

Capital markets days can be held at your head office or another venue of your choosing, but as the aim of the day is to create a better understanding of the business, it’s a good practice to bring investors and analysts on-site.

Tips to successful Analyst/Capital Markets Days

  • It’s a good option to have a virtual option for attendees to join to reach analysts and investors that can’t attend in person. 
  • Your executive team should present on financial and operational strategy or go in-depth into one part of the business (focus on long-term).
  • It’s common practice to post the slides to the website after the fact. 
  • Your executive team must understand the limits of what they can say when it comes to price-sensitive information.

Read the blog post: 7 tips for a successful investor day

Earnings + financial results announcements

Earnings and financial results announcements are a great opportunity to set the tone for how your company is understood by the market. Because these announcements are regular, it makes them a great occasion for consistent reinforcement of your key messages. They can be used to create an ongoing narrative for your company.

Read: Beyond Attendance: Using Website Analytics to Create Impact Before and After Investor Events

Prepping for results announcements

Earnings + financial results announcements should be key moments in your IR calendar. You want the way you announce to be managed professionally to build credibility in the company. Generally, you know when results will be announced, so it’s good to inform the market about the date of the results in advance.

4 weeks’ notice is generally a good amount of time to allow for enough preparation for the results day. This should be complemented by a collection of analyst estimates, which can help you to monitor market expectations, but also get accurate market consensus. 

Your IR team should review the results announcements of your peers to ensure the key performance indicators it reports allow the market to compare easily with other companies. It will also be helpful to monitor the themes covered by your peers so that the company can position itself with your differentiators leading the discussion. 

You will want to ensure that you prepare your management team, including time for rehearsals.

Listen to the Winning IR Podcast Episode: Best Practices for Earnings Calls with Jason Fooks


Distributing your results across online channels can help you to ensure you get a wide reach. Some distribution channels to consider:

  • Newswires
  • Internal distribution lists
  • Social media channels
  • Your IR website

What your press release should include

You want to ensure you produce an effective press release to share your results announcement in the most impactful way possible. Your press release should accomplish:

  • Regulatory and disclosure requirements are met, giving full and accurate information
  • A narrative that presents the company’s success in realizing its strategy.

The components of your press release should be made up of:

  • A headline that sets the context for understanding the results. It may highlight a specific aspect of the results, like a newsworthy metric or a ‘first’ for the company. 
  • Summary of the results - give the numbers the investors want as early in the release as possible. 
  • Financial and operation highlights
  • Management comment 
  • Divisional review
  • Summary and outlook
  • Contact details and reference to the presentation

Listen to the Episode: Bridging the Gap Between IR & PR to Build Attractive Investor Brands with Fabiane Goldstein, Grayling

Earnings presentationsThe earnings presentation is used on announcement day, and should include the following information:

  • Introduction - use this opportunity to reinforce key strategies of your company. Include financial highlights and key operational developments.
  • Market and competitive review
  • Strategy - use this opportunity to show the company strategic goals, focused on long-term, as well as immediate/short-term goals.
  • Detailed financials
  • Outlook and prospects

The annual report

A major function of any IR team is the annual report, which can be a resource-intensive exercise if the content is prepared in-house. Although many investors use your IR website to get most of their information, your annual report is the primary, most comprehensive source of information as a publicly-traded company. Not only does it fulfill regulatory requirements, but it also needs to complement other sources of information your team distributes. 

The key objectives of the annual report are to:

  • Educate and inform current shareholders and prospective investors
  • Explain your corporate strategy and report on how it is being implemented
  • Report on financial performance during the reporting period
  • Give context to the results by linking them to market factors and developments
  • Elaborate on risks that could influence the performance of the business
  • Provide clarity and direction on corporate governance
  • Fulfill regulatory requirements

Understanding research and consensus

A key element to understanding the market’s expectations, analyst estimates can provide a basis for the correction of mistakes and help to identify poorly understood areas of your business and stress points, which can help your communication strategy. 

Monitoring of research can also help provide updates for your company on the emerging consensus, while allowing you to monitor your internal expectations against the market, and take quick action if the experience is different. By reducing the gap between expectations and results, the equity risk premium will be lowered, which can contribute to a ‘fairer’ valuation.

Read the blog post: Understanding Research & Consensus in Capital Markets

Board Reporting

With every quarterly financial report, there’s a board meeting to go with it. While the primary role of investor relations is to communicate to shareholders, prospective investors, and analysts, communicating information from those groups to your board and senior management is becoming more and more important.

According to EY, 77% of companies of all sizes have an IR representative attending board meetings. 83% of those IR representatives indicated they provided written reports for boards to review. The top subject at these meetings? Market sentiment and investor activity. 

So what should IR teams include in their board reports?

  • Notable buyers and sellers, it’s important to include as much context as possible here beyond just who they are -- have you met with these investors recently? Do they hold shares in your peers? 
  • Your trading summary for the period (volume, share price), your trading performance vs your peers?
  • Your ownership profile - what % of your holders are institutional, insiders, retail? Who are your top 10 holders? Do those top 10 holders also hold your peers?
  • How many exits and entrants do you have? Are there trends quarter over quarter?
  • Shareholder concentration - how diversified is your shareholder base? Is this changing? Should you target new investors to diversify your shareholder base?
  • Shareholder depth - compare how many shares are held by a given range of shareholders vs the average amount of shares held by any shareholder.
  • IR activity -- quantify your IR strategy by showing the amount of activity in your investor outreach. Where are you focusing your efforts, and what are you hoping to achieve? Are you making progress based on the investment of time and resources?

Remember, the numbers are important to share, but the commentary is equally important. Be prepared to include investor quotes, notable trends, and plans of action alongside the data.

Read the Blog Post: Board Reporting Guide for Investor Relations

Crisis management

IR teams must communicate openly and regularly to shareholders during a major crisis, and having a solid crisis management plan can mitigate damage to your reputation and the downside in your shares.

Tips for building a crisis management plan

  • Identify the possible risks within your company
  • Establish regular communication with your shareholders to build a reputation for responsible communication before any crisis happens.
  • Establish your company as an authoritative source of information.
  • Meet with other stakeholders in your company to create the plan, it should not be the sole responsibility of the IR team.

Listen to the Episode: Winning the Battle for the Boardroom - Navigating the Do's and Don'ts of Proxy Fights with Michael Verrechia, Morrow Sodali

Your investor relations website

Your investor relations website is your biggest opportunity to tell your company story and provide investors with the context they need to decide whether or not to invest. 

Below are some best practices for your IR website:

  • Make sure it’s easy to navigate, with a clear structure that makes it easy for your constituents to find information.
  • Ensure the content on your IR website is kept up to date and accurately reflects your company story and investment case. 
  • Use multiple types of content to engage visitors (infographics, videos, links to other parts of the website that encourage exploration).
  • Ensure your IR website is adaptable for mobile devices.

Read our blog post: How to Choose the Right IR Website Provider

Read our blog post: Using Your IR Website Performance to Understand Investor Relations Impact

Buy-side vs. Sell-side


The buy-side refers to firms that purchase securities and includes investment managers, pension funds, and hedge funds. 


The sell-side refers to firms that issue, sell, or trade securities, and includes investment banks, advisory firms, and corporations.

Creating and optimizing relationships on the sell-side

A strong relationship between IR and sell-side analysts is key to ensuring that your company’s story is both heard and properly understood by the market. As your business grows and evolves over time, it is important to make sure you are taking the appropriate steps to both develop and optimize your relationships with sell-side analysts. When done right, the symbiotic nature of these relationships becomes mutually beneficial and can help to further differentiate your company in the eyes of investors. 

Understanding the role of the sell-side

The “sell-side” (which, for the purposes of this ebook, will refer primarily to sell-side equity research analysts) plays an integral role in helping companies raise capital, helping investors better understand specific securities and industries, and aids in both maintaining and feeding overall market efficiency. 

Generally, these analysts cover a specific industry or sector and are expected to be “experts” on the space. The combination of access to capital (via the investment banking arm), sector expertise, and financial/capital markets acumen can make the sell-side an influential partner who can help steer investors to your company while adding credibility to your story and market narrative. 

Finding the right analysts to cover you

As your company grows, building out sell-side analyst coverage becomes a critical component of a successful investor relations strategy. In doing so, it is important to spend time researching the different analysts within your sector(s) to determine the ones best suited to cover you at your current stage. 

There are a number of factors to consider when exploring analyst coverage, and many of them are dependent on characteristics specific to your business and its strategic goals and priorities. Some of these factors include your company’s size (typically measured in market capitalization), degree of reliance on external vs. internal capital, the industry it operates within (or hopes to operate within), shareholder base (institutional vs. retail), geographic area of operations, and the exchange(s) it’s listed on. 

For example, let’s say you are a small cap company looking to attract your first or second analyst. In addition to the type of broker (boutique vs. large bank), another factor you may want to consider is the tenure/experience of the analyst and the breadth of their coverage universe. Sometimes an up-and-coming analyst (with a smaller coverage universe) may be better suited to cover your company at an earlier stage because there is typically a higher likelihood that they will have more time to better understand your business and convey your story vs. a senior analyst who may be stretched more thinly or who’s larger-cap companies take up the majority of their time. Younger analysts are often looking to make a name for themselves by being a specialist or go-to resource on a couple reputable, smaller companies. Knowing who these analysts are can be a differentiator for a company that fits their criteria.

Advantages & disadvantages of attaining sell-side coverage

While the advantages of adding analysts to your roster of sell-side coverage are typically quite clear, there are also some possible drawbacks worth being mindful of as well. See below for a list of potential advantages and disadvantages of increasing your sell-side coverage: 

Potential advantages:

  • Increased visibility with the buy-side
  • Better understanding of the company narrative/story by the investment community
  • Easier access to capital
  • Increased credibility with investors
  • Improved liquidity

Potential disadvantages:

  • Heightened scrutiny on performance 
  • Increased accountability for achieving guidance/targets
  • Increased time commitment for both IR and the C-suite

Maximizing the value of your sell-side relationships

As you progress in building out your sell-side analyst coverage, the focus gradually shifts to maximizing the value and impact of those relationships. Effectively utilizing your relationships on the sell-side can allow for more seamless delivery of your story and key messaging to the broader investment community. 

Being proactive in scheduling calls with analysts following earnings or major corporate events and organizing analyst days or inviting analysts to tour your headquarters/facilities on a semi-regular basis are examples of best practices that IR teams can implement to increase sell-side engagement and improve the quality of published research. Additionally, regularly communicating with analysts (particularly those that are outliers) regarding their estimates improves both the accuracy and reliability of consensus forecasts - which are often critically important for benchmarking performance amongst investors and market participants. 

It’s also important to remember that analysts typically have direct lines of communication with investors on a regular basis, so anything IR teams can do to aid in their understanding of the company (assuming it’s permitted from a regulatory perspective) will have direct implications in influencing investor perception.

Best Investor Relations Resources

Best Investor Relations pros to follow on LinkedIn

Deb Wasser, IRC - VP, Investor Relations and ESG Engagement at Etsy, Inc.

Laura Kiernan - CEO & Founder at High Touch Investor Relations

Conor Dunleavy - Account Executive & Head of Digital at High Touch Investor Relations

Jonathan Paterson - Founder & Managing Partner at Harbor Access LLC

Deborah Belevan, IRC, CPA - VP of Investor Relations at Duolingo

Ian Richman - President and Global Head of Sales at IR Media USA

Agnies Watson - Co-Founder at Stockperks

Steven Rubis - Vice President of Investor Relations at SOC Telemed

Alyssa Barry, CPIR - Principal & Co-founder of irlabs

Caroline Sawamoto - Principal & Co-founder of irlabs

Catherine Buan - Investor Relations at Asana

Ana Raman, MBA - Investor Relations at Shopify

Lana Pisarenko - Manager, Investor Relations & Strategic Communications at Deloitte

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