By Lorraine S. Green
The first quarter of the year is always a busy time within corporate communications. If you are a company with financial reporting obligations, you are probably in the middle of interim reports, sustainability reports, annual reports and more. But don’t forget the rest of the year, and to make use of the work you have done creating your annual report.
Putting together an annual report is often a task that requires a lot of work. Both internally with gathering a large amount of people, numbers and content, and also externally with different kind of agencies for print, web, events etc. A huge amount of time and effort is spent on getting every number in time, writing inspiring CEO messages and creating beautiful images and videos. So, it’s no wonder corporate communicators need a well-deserved break after the report has been published. Don’t move on too fast though – the annual report is a quality assured communication document with a lot of good content about the company. The report, and the investments you have made creating it, deserve to live longer!
Who should I onboard?
Within your company there are probably a lot of different departments and individuals who have not necessarily taken part of creating the annual report, but that could be creative and successful in letting the content live longer. Some of those could be found for example within:
Make sure that the capital market knows your investment story/investor proposition. This is often presented and packaged in a visually appealing way in the annual report so why not reuse it, or parts of it, on your website and social media channels? This proposition is a vital part of the report and is one that companies spend a lot of time and effort in creating annually. The story telling (case study) aspect of this reinforces the overall strategy whilst at the same time gives evidence of what the company has achieved in the last year against its strategy and what it intends to do in the coming year to build on that.
Marketing/Social media team
There is a lot of data in an annual report that could be used and adapted for social media channels to engage and educate an existing and wished for follower base.
Customer support enable companies to gather vital information on the performance against certain KPIs and other indicators on successful customer engagement and satisfaction. Investors and shareholders know that positive customer satisfaction is a sign of a good company.
Employer branding content is something that many organizations are struggling with creating. When asking job seekers what information about future employers that they want, several answers match the content of the annual report. For example, general business information and topics related to culture, ethics, and sustainability.
What kind of content can I create?
Some examples of what the content from an annual report can be used for.
An important first step is to update your website with current numbers, texts and images. Some companies will change 40% of their website content upon release of the Annual Report, updating everything from the financial highlights to case studies on their people, the environment or their impact in the communities in which they work.
Social media posts to feed your channels
There is a perfect opportunity to take some of the annual report and generate content for social media channels. Infographics, fun facts and quote posts, short videos are a good means of feeding channels such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. This doesn’t need to be done in one go either, feeding the channels with a series of infographics with key information on growth, strategy and KPIs helps to build a narrative on the social media channels that can also link through to the website where it can be reinforced with more content.
Case studies, statistics, infographics to reinforce positive customer stories
Content that can be used by customer support and sales to reinforce positive customer stories which are at the core of the business.
Articles and news items throughout the year
Articles can work both ways for the annual report, over a year, articles that are written can be used as content for the report and some companies have done this successfully having only minor rewrites and added visuals to make it more for the report.
Newsletters with stories about innovation, strategy and success stories
Some companies will communicate to an investor and customer base using online e-communications. This may be done at different intervals but essentially provide a platform to send key reporting information to those audiences. Being aware of how it should be written to engage them is essential as some may have already received the annual report when it was published. It should highlight and direct them to more content to be consumed on the website. Innovation, strategy and success stories are all key content that engage these audiences.
Ads to assure cohesiveness across channels
Images, videos and quotes could also be used for creating ads. It will assure a cohesiveness across channels throughout the year.
How do I do it?
- Assign time for the communications team also after the report has been published. If everyone moves on, there will be no one having time to make the report live longer.
- Set up an editorial and publishing plan so that everyone involved are aware of the plan and needed efforts going forward.
- Don't forget to have time set for creatives, there might be a need of additional content or for content adjusted to fit the chosen channels. Websites and printed reports need to be updated together so don't forget a parallel process.
- Measure! Some measurement that can be a good start if you do not already work with measuring your financial reports are survey cards at the back of your printed report, online surveys from the annual report section of the website and of course qualitative surveying at AGMs where you have a captive audience.
If you want to know more about how we can help you prolong the life of your annual report? Get in touch!