Annual reports are a crucial document for both commercial companies and not-for-profit organisations. They are a public statement of key achievements over the past year, and are used to show clients and stakeholders how the business is performing. For this reason it’s vital that annual reports are professional, compelling and memorable. Read on for our five top tips on creating professional annual reports for maximum impact:
1: Professional binding
Having your annual reports professionally bound will instantly make the finish much more impressive. Your clients and stakeholders will be far more likely to share the annual report if it looks professional. You can either invest in a new or second-hand binding machine such as these, or find an external company to bind your reports for you. Considering all the work that goes into writing an annual report, it’s vital to get the finish right, and having reports bound makes a tremendous difference.
2: Attention to detail
It goes without saying that your annual report needs to be thoroughly checked for any spelling or grammatical errors; the document should also be checked to ensure that all statistics and details are correct and up to date. There is nothing more unprofessional than poor grammar or spelling mistakes. If you have limited internal resource then it’s well worth having your annual report externally proof read.
3: Create a strong visual impact
Annual reports can often be so full of statistical information and facts that they appear very dry and dull. Break your facts and figures up with images, quotes and graphs to keep the reader interested. The front cover of your annual report is particularly important, and there are plenty of design companies who can help to ensure that your report makes a strong visual impact. If you are outsourcing any of the design work, it’s important that you make your brand guidelines very clear so that the annual report reflects the look and values of your organisation.
4: Compelling copy
An annual report tells a story; it is a summary of your organisation’s key achievements, challenges and plans for the future. When writing your annual report, make sure that every section includes a personal quote or story to keep the reader involved and engaged. Avoid jargon and technical detail, and keep statistics to a minimum.
5: Invest in professional photography
Finally, hiring a business photographer will make a world of difference when creating a professional look for your annual report. Images are far more powerful than words and statistics, and professional photographs are instantly impressive. Consider the content of your report and include photographs which reflect the values, personality and aspirations of your company. By using a professional photographer you can brief them about exactly what you expect from your images. Including professional photographs in your report is a perfect way to break up the more formal aspects of accounting, statistics and graphs, and will emphasise the personal and inspirational side of your business.
Your annual report is an important marketing and engagement tool, and so it’s well worth investing time and money into getting it right. With professional photos, compelling copy and binding you can be sure that your annual report will stand out from the crowd.