09 Jul 2014by Georgie Cousens

9 tips to make your Annual Report an engagement tool that’s part of your marketing strategy

Stand out from the crowd with your annual report

We all know it’s annual report time again…so save us from the boring, page after page of text and numbers! Who’s going to remember any of it anyway? Well it doesn’t have to be that way. Annual reports can be something far more than just plain text, a few graphs and numbers. If it’s well designed and you’ve approached it smartly you can use your annual report as a promotion and advertisement tool, a part of your marketing strategy

You’re probably wondering, how to make all the required information in an annual report interesting.

Here are a few points you should consider:

  1. You need to keep your audience in mind. Just the same as with all your other marketing materials you need to know who you’re talking to. Know how to reach them and what appeals to them. For example, if it is appropriate for your audience, it might be a good option (and cost-effective for you) to publish your annual report in a digital format rather than only in print. (If you need some help with that – give us a holler  More often than not, with a digital version you’ll be able to reach more people faster, cheaper and more effectively. Digital also gives you the option to add some more features such as videos or interactive animations etc. (Check out our blog post discussing Paper vs Digital On the same note, if you’re delivering your report digitally you could have a big digital “Launch-party”, therefore really using your report as a big marketing tool.
  2. Establish the things you want to get across before you start creating. Of course your annual report has to include certain information, but it can consist of so much more. Include things that maybe not everyone might think of. Mention those things first and then include the “must-haves” towards the end of the report.
  3. The Executive Summary is one of the most important sections of your annual report. Probably the majority of your readers will only read this section and skim over the rest. Make sure you include as much convincing, positive outcomes of the past year as you can.
  4. Highlight your most significant achievements and impacts of the year.
  5. State your objectives. Why are you in Business?
  6. What makes you different from the rest? Use your values, your mission and vision to enhance your unique selling points
  7. Include case studies or testimonials in your report to really emphasise some areas where you have gone above and beyond expectations and standards.
  8. Adding a section of your long-term strategies and goals for the new year to come is a good idea. This will create accountability, which will also enhance your audience’s engagement over the next year and for the next annual report.
  9. Using design, colours and images consistent with your brand and other marketing material. Consistency is key. It is essential that your annual report reflects your company’s colours and look, so that your readers can easily identify your report with your company. Don’t think that your report has to be rigid and plain. It can be as colourful and vibrant as you’d like. You could highlight and pull out some interesting facts out of it, include pictures (everyone looooves pictures) make use of nice quotes. Make it motivating and engaging! If you’re delivering it digitally, you can include calls-to-actions such as liking, sharing, pinning etc. Make it a pleasure for your audience to look it – they will thank you for it.

The main point of your annual report, is the content, there’s no doubt about that. You need to meet your legal requirements after all. However, as with many things today, in order to stand apart, you need to reflect your brand by being creative and making your annual report engaging and easy to read.

If you’re having trouble with the ‘standing out’ part, we can help you with that. That’s what we do. We can take your wordy legalese document, and turn it into a digital and/or a printed masterpiece that will really get the party started. Just call us and we can take it from there. Promise! 

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