In one way or another we’ve all been exposed to Buzzfeed. They’re masters of producing viral content that spreads quickly around the web (think: pictures of cute cats).
More important, they’re also behind what’s arguably the most effective marketing tool to hit the Internet in years: sponsored content.
“Sponsored content” is content that marketers create to pitch their products, services, and stories to readers of high-trafficked websites. It’s increasingly considered more effective than banner ads.
Sponsored content is designed to enhance the online reader experience. It’s positioned to be largely indistinguishable from other content on a given website (i.e. sports content on a site like ESPN.com).
Sponsored Content & Investor Relations
For marketers pitching stories online, sponsored content opens up vast new opportunities.
I can think of no group better positioned to capitalize on the “sponsored content” phenomenon than investor relations departments looking to pitch their investment stories to new investors online.
IR pros have vast amounts of unique, actionable financial content on their IR websites and until now they’ve had few opportunities to deploy that content to reach investors online.
There’s no better example of unique, actionable, financial content than what Brad Miller has assembled on the corporate IR website of small-cap Gigamedia (Ticker: GIGM).
Brad’s unique investor pitch has three components:
- 4 Reasons to Invest
- Our Group, Online Games, and Cloud Computing Strategies
- Our 2012 Scorecard – Objectives, Status, and Results
If I were to visit an IR website to research a company I’m unfamiliar with, this is exactly the type of content I would want to find. It tells me the story of the company quickly, efficiently, and effectively.
The problem is I don’t typically visit IR websites. Instead I, like many investors, typically visit investment analysis sites like TheStreet.com (& StockTwits…) to research new companies.
As for IR director Brad Miller, he’s not the only IR pro with great content and limited opportunities to deploy it.
Over the years, I’ve seen many great examples of valuable, actionable financial content sitting largely undiscovered on IR websites including:
- Transcripts of earnings calls;
- Transcripts of investor conference presentations & the subsequent Q&As;
- PowerPoint presentations from investor conference appearances or roadshows;
- Transcripts of Q&A sessions at recent annual meetings;
- ...and the list goes on.
All of this great content would be better served on platforms like investment analysis site TheStreet.com where investors can be found researching stocks.
With its millions of unique monthly visitors, TheStreet.com has the ability to expose IR content to new investors. On TheStreet, small-cap companies have a chance of being discovered.
Since reaching new investors is one of the biggest challenges small and mid-cap public companies face, leveraging sponsored content opportunities presents a compelling solution to a difficult problem.
Off the top of my head I can imagine IR pros creating other useful, valuable, actionable content to function as sponsored content including:
- “10 Important Takeaways from Today’s Earnings Call”
- “10 Important Takeaways from Today’s Annual Meeting”
- “10 Important Takeaways from Today’s Presentation at the Goldman Sachs Conference”
Thanks to Buzzfeed, sponsored content is now a mainstream marketing solution.
In theory, it’s also the perfect solution for IR pros looking to pitch new investors online at scale using platforms other than their own IR websites. After all, most investors don’t visit IR websites.
As for third-party investment analysis sites like TheStreet.com, competition is fierce. They’re desperate for high-quality content to feed their voracious readers and generate more revenue as ad rates decline.
It’s only a matter of time before these two get together and forge a mutually beneficial relationship. Everyone involved has something to gain.
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