April 22, 2015
Last week I attended a PRSA Chicago event led by Matthew Ragas and Ron Culp to talk about their book, “Business Essentials for Strategic Communicators.” The topic was basically a business 101 for PR professionals. As they reviewed their top 10 tips, I was proud that my teams already are doing a lot to keep up with our clients’ business. I know many of us are regulars on public earnings calls and we even help write annual reports for clients. However, there is always room to learn more and these tips may help:
- Know the lingo. It should be expected of PR professionals to know the financial terminology that is used in the c-suite and with a company’s stakeholders. It’s especially important to know the vocabulary when reading and interpreting financial statements.
- Understand the business of the business. Ron and Matt made a good point – do you know how much of a dollar a company (yours or your client’s) keeps after all expenses? That figure gives you perspective into the volume it takes to run the company and make a profit.
- Brush up on the basics. Luckily for PR pros there are ample resources available to help us learn more. A few ideas mentioned during the event were:
- Take internal training options (if the company offers them)
- Peruse investor news (Investopedia and Business Insider were both mentioned)
- Watch economics-focused TV shows (e.g. “The Profit” and “Shark Tank”)
- Invest on educational platforms (e.g. Tasty Trade) to better understand the markets
- Read MBA-focused books (“Show Me the Money,” “Portable MBA,” “Financial Writers Stylebook” and “Economix” were all mentioned)
- Apply your knowledge. Once you have a handle on the basics, try testing yourself. The authors suggest following company financials, checking Seeking Alpha for the transcripts and interpreting the results for yourself. After you’ve done that, read news/investor stories about the financials to check if you got the story right.
Thanks to the authors for sharing these ideas!