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Feb 13, 2012

ARM Holdings’ IR team explains why it blogs

Business analyst for IR Jonathan Lawton discusses the thinking behind ARM’s IR blog that launched last May

Few UK companies have corporate blogs, as noted by a new report on the FTSE 100 and social media released last week. And even fewer maintain IR specific blogs. One UK blue chip bucking the trend, however, is ARM Holdings, a world leader in microprocessor technology.

Below, Jonathan Lawton, business analyst for IR at the tech company, discusses ARM’s IR blog, which features articles such as employee interviews and answers to commonly asked roadshow questions.

Why do you blog?

It’s a great way to get your message out there and engage with your key audiences. Blogs offer us the ability to informally communicate with our key audiences, which is a good way to interact with them.

ARM blog homepage
ARM's IR blog homepage

It’s also quite useful for directing people if they have further questions. If you meet people at a conference, and you don’t have time to talk to them, you can direct them to the website and talk to them about the blog. It’s another useful resource for us.

How important is blogging to you as a tech company?

In the tech industry, there is a big culture for social media, for blogging, for getting the message out there, and a lot of that comes round to why and how ARM fits into the wider technology ecosystem.

ARM sits in the middle of the semiconductor industry – 18 of the top 20 semiconductor companies choose to use ARM – which means we have an important role to play within that ecosystem. By blogging, you engage with that wide partner audience and get the ARM message out when it makes sense.

There’s already a bit of a buzz on the net around ARM products and we’re buying into that, using it for the advantage of reinforcing the message of ARM out there in the ecosystem.

While we are flattered by the interest, we’re less worried about whether the wider public or consumer knows about ARM, but the ARM brand within the semiconductor industry is important and blogging is a way of reinforcing that brand.  

What topics do you blog on?

The ones I have personally done for ARM have been about ARM’s key markets, how we expect them to grow over time, why they are important to ARM and why we think they are key to ARM’s growth in the future.

What do you not blog on?

Sometimes there are subjects that we wouldn’t necessarily want to blog on – for example, our competitors – because there would be sensitivities around that.

How much feedback have you had?

Very little. I haven’t had any comments, but I do know people are reading it. Who’s going to leave a comment? It’s unlikely you’ll get investors or analysts commenting on a blog that’s so prominent because they’d be worried they’d be judged by their peers, I think. So feedback in terms of comments, low, but in terms of readership, high.

Do you set yourself any targets in terms of number of posts?

The idea was to have it at least once a month, although we are still finding our way as there are other work pressures that sometimes have to be prioritized. We are aware that consistency is important, and the idea is to get at least one out a month and usually around key events.

ARM blog post
A post by ARM's head of IR Ian Thornton on roadshow questions

We’ve got Mobile World Congress coming up at the end of February, so we’ll probably think about trying to get a blog out on that. That will probably be taking news out of Mobile World Congress around ARM products and turning that into an investor story.

Do you enjoy blogging?

Not really. You’re talking to the analyst, rather than the marketing guy, and writing isn’t my first choice of communication. I’m not a great writer so I find it quite hard.

Who signs off the blogs?

From a compliance standpoint, it gets signed off by the CFO.

What’s the future of IR blogging?

It’ll be interesting to see whether it becomes more prevalent. To me, it seems a sensible way to communicate your message, particularly if you have a large retail shareholder base and set messages that you want to communicate

One of the problems with investor relations is that there are lots of rules and regulations and compliance issues when publishing information. This can make the process of getting a new blog published slow, which may be causing a drag on more companies creating IR blogs.

It’s still a bit of an experiment; we’re excited to see how it goes and what the response is from our core IT audiences.