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Do I Need To Include a Stock Symbol in My Press Release?

Welcome to BAM

The rules around when to include or not include stock symbols in a press release can be confusing.

We’ve heard this question many times from our own BAM clients, so here’s a high level overview about using stock tickers in press releases, including the what, why, and how you need to know.

What is a stock symbol?

A stock symbol — or ticker symbol — is an abbreviation used to uniquely identify publicly traded shares of a particular stock on a particular stock market. A stock symbol consists of three to five characters.

  • Starbucks Corporation = SBUX
  • Amazon Inc. = AMZN
  • Apple, Inc. = AAPL

Why would a stock symbol be in a press release?

When distributed via a news agency, stock tickers increase SEO for the press release, which supports not only the publicly traded company — such as SBUX —  but also your brand's SEO. There are occasions when an investor or person involved in the released news may be a former executive or founder from a public company, so you can attempt to include the stock symbol.

An example of this would be, "Former Humana (NYSE: HUM) CEO Mike McCallister is now an Account Manager at BAM." In this fake example, you're not working with Humana, so emailing them is not appropriate. You can attempt to include the stock symbol in the release for extra SEO pickup. You’ll have about a 50/50 chance the Newswire rep will catch it and ask you to remove it.

How to get authorization to use a stock symbol in a press release

In certain cases, such as with network marketing companies or with major corporate announcements related to (but not limited to) mergers and acquisitions, PR Newswires may require written authorization from a company executive to use a stock symbol before a press release is approved for distribution. Independent representatives of network marketing companies, multi-level-marketing (MLM), or party plan companies must always obtain the express consent of the company’s executive. Here’s an example email requesting approval to include a stock symbol in a press release:

Hi XXX, 

[Preferred newswire provider] is requiring that you share written approval for Hooli to use Humana's NYSE ticker in the funding announcement tomorrow. If you would like the release to include the ticker please email helpdesk@newswire.com by 9:00 am MT tomorrow.

We've included a draft note below. Can you please cc hooli@bamtheagency.com when you send?

Thank you!

XXX

What this means for client communications

Because there is so much SEO value in including a stock symbol, we advise PR pros to distribute press releases with the appropriate ticker symbols included. You should always request written permissions from respective companies for the inclusion of their stock symbol from the beginning. If you get permission, provide it to the newswire directly. If the public company doesn’t respond, you can still submit the press release. Typically, there’s a 50/50 chance they'll catch it and ask for the written permission — or it'll slide by. Make sure that you communicate to your client that if permission is not granted before submitting the press release, the stock symbol may be removed during the editorial process, based on the industry guidelines.

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