Creating Engaging Annual Reports
Written by Matt Berringer
June 1, 2022
Creating Engaging Annual Reports
Your organization’s annual report lets customers, stakeholders and anyone interested in your company knows how it performed during the past year and what it plans to do in the future. While years ago, a purely text-based annual report might have been the way to go, there’s more of a focus on creating engaging and interactive reports.
In short, you don’t want your organization’s annual report to be a snooze-fest. By focusing on design, interactivity and your company’s story, you can write a good annual report that gets read. Here’s how:
Use Engaging Visuals
Visuals are one of the key features that make a good annual report. The human brain responds more rapidly to images than it does to
text. People also remember pictures better than text and usually have a greater emotional response to images. There’s a reason people say that a picture is worth a thousand words.
Here are a few ways to incorporate engaging visuals into your company’s annual reports:
- Infographics: Infographics turn stats and figures into attractive images. Depending on your information, an infographic might include bar graphs, pie charts or icons. They’re usually light on text, as the goal is to get the images to tell the story. When done correctly, an infographic grabs users’ attention and helps them remember the details of what they’ve seen.
- Interactivity: Another way to make annual reports engaging is to give users a chance to analyze and discover them on their own terms. Interactive reports do just that. An interactive annual report lets the person looking at it click on images to get more details, watch videos that expand on a particular point or click on links in the report that provide more data analysis.
- A content experience platform: A content experience platform helps you make the best annual reports that people can read on any device. Unlike static PDFs, the reports you produce with a content experience platform, like PageRaft, automatically adjust to fit the size of the user’s screen — they don’t need to zoom in to see your report. A content experience platform also lets you make
interactive reports, so users can click through images to find more details or get the data they need.
Tell a Story With the Data
An engaging annual report shares a “so what?” with the people reading or interacting with it. You can just put some numbers on a page, but if those numbers don’t give your audience any insight into who your organization is or why what it does is important, they’re likely to navigate away from the report quickly.
When figuring out your story, there are a few things to consider. First is your organization’s goal. What do you want to share with the people who look at your report? For example, you might want to show how your company has grown over the years or highlight its services or products’ impact on customers or the world.
Once you know your goal, identify the most relevant data. If your story focuses on how your organization has grown, you might use revenue figures to show that. Alternatively, you might show how your products have infiltrated the market. You might have only sold your products in a limited geographic area when you first started, but now you sell worldwide, for instance.
Also, use your organization’s data to paint a picture of where your company is headed in the future. If revenue is up, what do you plan on doing next? Use your story and the report to get user buy-in.
If your primary audience is investors, use the story to show how their investments in your organization will take you to the next phase. If you’re targeting customers, thank them for their support and illustrate how their continue support of your company will help it grow.
When using your organization’s data to craft a compelling story, remember it’s essential that your data be accurate. You can cherry-pick facts and figures to create the story that makes your company look its best. But in the long run, it’s better to choose a truthful and accurate story.
Maximize Your Reach
Creating an annual report that grabs and keeps users’ interest is just the beginning. You also want the report to reach as wide an audience as possible. You might have been limited to producing print reports only in the past. While print reports give readers something tangible to hold, they have their limits. It’s often more expensive to print physical copies of your annual report. There are also distribution limits, as you need to make sure those physical copies reach the right people.
Digital reports are much more cost-effective and allow you to share your report with more people. You can link to a copy of the report in an email newsletter or include it on your organization’s website. Press releases and articles about your company can include a link to the report, too.
Going digital does more than widen your reach and potential audience. It also offers more opportunities for interaction and engagement. If you go beyond basic PDFs for your digitized annual report, the people reading it will get access to a responsive report that lets them click on the data and topics that interest them most. A digitized report allows users to engage with your company’s data in a customized fashion.
Keep Track of User Behavior
When you create interactive, engaging annual reports, you’ll get an inside look into how your users interact with the report. If you include links, you can keep track of the click-through rate. You can see how many people end up on a certain page of your organization’s website by clicking through the report. You can also check how long they spend on the page, which gives you a good idea of how useful or engaging they find it.
Using a content experience platform with built-in analytics gives you a clear idea of the response to your annual report, so you can make adjustments as needed to increase engagement and interest.
See Nxtbook’s Content Experience Platform
Nxtbook Media’s content experience platform, PageRaft, helps you create responsive annual reports online. Using PageRaft allows you to provide a premium experience to your audience and encourages people to dive more deeply into your annual report. Check out an example of a company annual report to see how it works for yourself.
In addition to letting you create engaging reports, our content experience platform delivers the analytics you need to get an idea of how people are engaging with the content and how long they’re staying engaged.
If you’re ready to improve your annual report design,schedule a demo of PageRaft today!