We know that releasing your annual report can feel like a relief. A milestone. That date in the calendar when you finally say goodbye to six months of hard toil.
But we also know this is a mistake.
The release of your annual report shouldn’t be the moment you cross the finishing line, it’s the moment you get started.
Think about it. The report is a summation of everything you’ve done in the course of a year, and, through that, what you will do over the course of the next year. Basically, without the back story, you have no future story, yet the annual report is so often a forgotten tale; told once then left to languish until the next deadline rolls round.
Here at FleishmanHillard Fishburn, we want to show clients that the annual report isn’t a one-hit wonder. We want to show that we can increase the longevity of the annual report, that we can make all your hard work work harder.
This might involve using your company events, beyond the AGM, to re-use annual report content to celebrate sustainability successes or highlight new initiatives and demonstrate where these fit within the corporate strategy, but principally it’s about re-packaging it for use on social media at key reporting stages of the year or in response to wider news stories always driving the reader back to the original source on the corporate website.
This isn’t just for show, either. Putting your content on social media is a way of tracking your target audience, seeing what they respond to, and telling you how to shape your next report.
For this to be really successful though, it’s not just about sharing with an external audience, it’s about sharing internally too – your corporate comms, social media and reporting teams all working in tandem, generating stories and crafting content for each other.
Your annual report is probably the most important piece of communication you produce for your stakeholders, so why should it shine bright for its one week of glory, then fade quietly into the background?
Let it be what it should be; a report on your last year, guiding your vision and your content through the next.
Emma Borland, Deputy Head of Reporting Communications