To practice investor relations, a communicator needs thorough knowledge of the global investment community. These should include important intermediaries between individual or institutional investors and companies such as financial analysts, stockbrokers or registered representatives, and reporters and editors from influential financial publications.
At the same time, the communicator needs to know the messages a company must deliver to those critical audiences to inform and persuade. The messages should be design with the organization's strategic direction in mind. Therefore, investor relations practitioners tend to become involved with discussions relating to where the company is heading and how it plans to get there. Only then can the practitioner have the information to respond accurately to questions and, more importantly, develop communications plans to address the reasons why investors would want to own stock or bonds of the company.
Fundamentally, what the investor wants is an understanding of the strategic direction of the firm and what competitive advantages will allow it to improve returns for the shareholder. The investor relations professional knows intimately the issues and concerns of the investor.
Once you have developed an approved plan with specific goals, you will need to use multiple tactics: annual reports, quarterly reports, presentations before financial audiences, fact books or fact sheets, press releases and reprints of news articles, letters or bulletins, and a variety of telecommunication devices, from the Internet to the old-fashioned telephone.
Meeting the Needs of the Future
You must be computer literate and willing to keep up with the information trends of the investment community. In addition, they must understand marketing and finance. Those without a strong grounding in numbers must become conversant in what they mean and help to translate the meaning to others. Of course, excellent written and oral communications skills are necessary along with a strategic planning orientation. The ability of the investor relations professional to communicate effectively is essential.