Public Relations + Investor Relations Communications = Better Together

investor relations communications blog post image of pen on top of notebook next to a tablet
Photo by fauxels

Share this post


Any publicly traded company must target myriad audiences — current and potential investors, the general public and the media — to succeed in a world with countless touch points, evolving audiences and opportunities to control its message. However, many organizations mistakenly think that simply hiring an investor relations firm adequately covers all their communications needs.

The truth is that IR firms and public relations agencies play distinct roles that require different areas of expertise to move the needle for your company.

IR agencies play an important role — ensuring compliance with disclosure and financial reporting regs and targeted communications with financial analysts and members of the media. Obviously, that’s critical, but in many cases, IR professionals and firms don’t have more general public relations skills.

Don’t get us wrong, having a legally focused investor relations partner is important for publicly traded companies and companies undergoing fundraising efforts. We wouldn’t want any run-ins with the SEC or disgruntled investors claiming a lack of transparency, but is such a narrow communications focus helping you achieve your branding, thought leadership and overall business goals?

If you want to drive business impact beyond the markets with your corporate communications — the kind that builds brand reputation, shifts public perception and influences the behaviors of consumers and industry stakeholders — we recommend partnering with a communications agency that understands what public relations should be.

Investor Relations Firms: The Compliance Checkers

What is investor relations? The primary function of an IR firm is to ensure a publicly traded company meets all regulatory disclosure requirements and communicates directly with its shareholders, analysts, potential investors and the broader investment community. Their work often centers around quarterly earnings, SEC filings and compliance with securities laws and regulations. 

Legal First, Reputation Second

While investor relations communications aim to ensure that your relationship with investors is as smooth as possible, the advice often comes from a place of legality rather than reputation management. The intense focus on legal compliance usually means these firms lack the finesse needed for broader reputation management. 

Press Release Factories

When something happens — good or bad — IR firms are your go-to for press releases. But remember, PR does not stand for press release. An IR-first approach can result in a reactive stance, focusing on “something happened, here’s our statement” rather than proactively telling your story. 

Reactive, Not Newsworthy

Speaking of reactive, the requirements of IR communication and disclosure often miss the mark on what’s truly newsworthy. Issuing a cookie-cutter press release about a material topic that requires disclosure is necessary, but an exclusive stream of executive appointments and financial results — and nothing else — can result in nonfinancial reporters tuning out your message. A savvy public relations agency, on the other hand, will help you enlist other tactics and target those to the right media professionals, ensuring your announcements are impactful and don’t unnecessarily dilute your news cycle. 

Even though IR’s reactive, compliance-driven approach is essential (for publicly traded organizations in particular), companies can typically benefit greatly by adding more to their communications efforts.

PR-Focused Communications

While our IR friends are ensuring the legally vetted disclosures and scripted investor statements are in line — which is critical — the public relations pros are able to focus on proactively telling brand stories. With our fingers on the pulse of what’s newsworthy for each client, communications agencies with PR specialization can help insert your brand voice into the cultural conversations that move your brand forward meaningfully.

PR-driven communications agencies live and breathe reputation, understanding that brands are so much more than just numbers on a balance sheet. Their communications strategies are designed to build, maintain and enhance your company’s public reputation, ensuring you’re seen as a thought leader in your space.

  • Proactive Storytelling: Unlike our IR counterparts, communications and PR agencies often know how to find and tell the stories that matter, directing our clients away from relying exclusively on press releases and toward integrated campaigns that pack a punch.
  • Audience Savvy: PR communicators get what’s trending, what journalists are looking for, how to pitch your story to secure coverage and the different touch points where various audiences (including investors) engage online (e.g., social media). Successful communications campaigns aren’t about just getting your name in the news but telling your story to the right audience in the right way.

Even though some deliverables — like news releases and media relations — overlap, the strategic approach of PR proactively helps shape brand reputations and insert companies into relevant conversations already happening.

Maximizing Communications Impact with PR and IR Communications

Should you ditch your IR firm and go all in on PR? Not quite. The key is recognizing that both IR and PR have their place, especially for publicly traded companies. 

IR firms ensure you’re legally sound and that your financial communications are accurate and compliant. PR agencies take that information and other financial data to weave compelling narratives that enhance your brand’s reputation and resonate with your audience. With the coverage the PR team secures, IR can share published links to articles about the company to increase awareness about what it does and the strategies it utilizes. As more potential investors discover your company, your shareholder base and valuation will increase, boosting value for stakeholders. 

When IR and PR work together, they provide a balanced approach that can elevate your organization and put you at the forefront of buzzworthy topics. 

Think of it this way: IR firms ensure you don’t get investigated or sued and often play a significant role in supporting stock prices, but PR agencies help your company and products  be memorable. That can support the stock price as well.

Here’s an example: let’s say your IR has developed a release on your company’s latest quarterly report showing the fourth straight quarter of double-digit growth. Great news and a required release. But don’t stop there. A PR firm can color in the lines by pitching interviews to those reaching the very businesses or consumers who (clearly) love your company and are driving this growth. A PR firm can secure contributed article opportunities for your CEO to provide an analysis of the market segment and why your company’s solution is well received. A PR firm can find a place on a panel at a key trade show. The list goes on. 

In this case, one plus one really can add up to three or more. 

At the end of the day, relying on an IR agency alone can be a massive missed opportunity. If you want to break through the noise, you will need the superior strategic firepower that an integrated communications partner like Comprise can provide alongside your IR professionals.

Ready to add market influence to your compliance communications? Discover The Comprise Way® to shaping narratives and building brands.

Recent Posts