earnings reportsWith earnings season right around the corner, many companies are putting final thoughts into their third quarter earnings materials and investors are taking out their 2020 checklists.  Earnings provides a perfect opportunity to highlight your recent accomplishments and to set up the fourth quarter and end of year expectations.  Companies that have been able to execute and move forward should highlight it to investors; and companies who have had setbacks should explain what is going on – but make it quick. Realize there may be 20 to 25 other companies reporting on the same day, and investors will have a mountain of earnings calls to sort through.

Be quick, clear, and concise.

Here are a few thoughts on making your earnings report most effective:

For your press release, keep the summaries concise and provide context in your quote.  Showcase your accomplishments, but keep it quick, since these are just summaries of news that has already been announced.  You can take time in your quote or prepared remarks to provide context of the news.  Tell investors why a particular accomplishment is important. Help them understand what it means to your strategy.  Put some thought into how you can reinforce your company strategy and convey your enthusiasm for upcoming events.

For your earnings call, keep your talking points quick and clear. Earnings is a good time for an update – not a deep dive.  If you have news, take time to explain it; but if there are no meaningful changes (quiet quarters do happen!), keep things short.  It’s ok.  Really.

Be clear if you are reiterating or changing your expectations.  Third quarter earnings will be investors’ last formal earnings check-in before year end; they will be looking to see if everything is still “on track” or if there is a change in expectations. Make sure you either reiterate guidance and 2020 milestones or provide a clear understanding of why something has shifted. Either way, providing clarity on what to expect in the coming weeks will help you gain credibility.

In summary, use earnings as a way to update investors on your accomplishments, provide context for your news, and to provide an update on expected milestones.