Annual reports are something that not many people look forward to reading. This means that the task of creating one tends to be seen as a burdensome nuisance, rather than an opportunity for good PR and marketing.
However, by following these simple steps you can turn your annual report into something that will capture the attention of your employees, clients, and potential customers.
Keep it relevant
The first thing to remember is that your annual report isn’t meant to be an all-encompassing overview of every aspect of your business throughout the year. It should contain information that is relevant and interesting for your employees, clients, and stakeholders, so pick out the most important highlights from what you’ve been up to and include just those tidbits.
The rest can stay on your company website for those who want more information, rather than your customers.
Inform and entertain
Make sure the content is engaging by mixing in some news about upcoming products or services, along with anecdotes about what’s going on behind the scenes at your business. This humanizes the company and leaves readers feeling like they know you better, rather than treating your reports as a list of dry facts and figures.
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Keep it simple
Don’t be tempted to create something that looks stunning but is ultimately difficult for people to navigate or understand. If it takes more than five minutes to get through an annual report and understand what it’s all about, you’ve probably failed. Keep things simple and let the content do the talking – not superfluous information that clutters up your pages.
Make sure it looks good
Annual reports are often sent out as hard copies as well as being made available digitally, so keeping them aesthetically pleasing on all fronts is important. Ensure that your text looks good on the page using a font that is easy to read, while images are not too big or distracting.
Make it interactive.
Interactivity has become more important in recent years, with some companies even creating apps that go along with their annual reports. This allows customers to access additional information at their own convenience and in a way that suits them while you’re doing your annual reporting.
Make your audience interested
Your stakeholders, employees and customers will all have different interests and concerns, so make sure your report caters to each of these audiences by including the right content for each group. For example, customers might be more interested in your product or service information, while employees will probably want to know what sort of training or benefits they can expect.
Include an executive summary
This isn’t always necessary, but having a brief summary on the first page or two of your annual report template is useful for people who don’t have time to read the entire document. Make sure this is interesting and engaging as it is what will make the reader want to read on, or not.
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Make it accessible
Allow your report to be accessed by everyone who needs it, including people with disabilities. For example, using a large font size can help those with sight problems, while using fewer images avoids the need to zoom in on pages.
Maintain your brand
At the end of the day, even if you follow all of these tips on perfecting annual report designs, it’s still an annual report. This means it will still look like other similar reports from your company, so make sure to maintain the design and branding. If you’re not confident in your own design skills, you can always hire a designer who has experience in creating annual reports.
Another option is to use Venngage. It’s a platform that has everything you need to make an effective report. You can even use it to make your next business proposal or letterhead!
Get PR involved
The best way to ensure that your annual report doesn’t end up in the bin is to send it out with a PR campaign. Make sure you’ve got journalists on standby to write about the report and you’ll get some free publicity, plus an interested audience.
Promote it online
Don’t forget to promote your online version of the annual report on social media and your website. Use eye-catching images and ensure that it’s in a format that will be easily shared.
Get employees involved
Don’t forget your internal audience when creating the report, as they will want to know what’s going on as well. Whether you’re presenting paid or free annual reports, include some company news and fresh information for them to keep morale high and encourage readership of the report within your business.
Make it unique
Finally, remember that this is your chance to stand out from the crowd and show how seriously you take your annual reports. If you’re not going to create a genuinely interesting and engaging report, why bother? Show your customers that you care about all aspects.
Following these simple tips can ensure your annual report is something that you are proud of, rather than a frustrating chore. On top of this, it’s likely to get more attention from all of your stakeholders, which means that they’ll get more business benefits from their investment in you.
Now, what are you waiting for? Check out Venngage today and see its wide collection of annual report samples and templates!
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