March 23, 2016 By FTI Consulting
In the first of this four-part series, we explored the key messages articulated by the CEOs of companies just outside of the Fortune 500. But with executive communications the medium is just as important as the message.
Wire services are a medium that is often hiding in plain sight – relied upon by many communications professionals but rarely viewed as a particularly compelling vehicle to make news. But the value of wire services should not be overlooked. In fact, the majority of CEO mentions and quotes in FTI’s research come directly from wire services. If used correctly, a wire service can be an appropriate and effective platform for a CEO to communicate specific messages to key stakeholders.
For this research, FTI Consulting reviewed approximately 2,000 articles from top daily, business and regional publications. Wire services included Business Wire, Dow Jones Newswires, and Reuters Newswires.
In conducting our research, FTI Consulting found that wire services do much of the heavy lifting for CEO communication. Of those leaders studied, 74 percent of CEO mentions and quotes came from wire services. The CEOs were seldom mentioned in business publications, and even less frequently mentioned in broadcast and online news. While these statistics may suggest an oversaturation of CEOs in wire services, the topics covered consisted mostly of earnings reports and SEC filings. This leaves a great deal of unclaimed territory for a CEO to take ownership of any topic outside of those most commonly covered issue areas, such as industry, market or societal trends.
The breakdown of CEO mentions in wire services by industry:
Takeaway: The value of a wire service
Although CEOs and company communications teams will justifiably aspire to gain mention in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Financial Times, wire services are an important complementary avenue for communicating critical information to investors and other company stakeholders. Combining a push for wire service coverage with a larger scope of topics and an increased cadence in communication can jumpstart a CEO’s efforts to be positioned as a thought leader. In the next of this three-part series, we will discuss when to get the word out so that a CEO message is sure to get optimal coverage.