Your annual report is the largest and most important document you’ll publish all year but it’s so much more than a corporate reporting document. Aside from fulfilling regulatory guidelines and statutory obligations, it’s a unique opportunity and the most credible medium for reviewing the past year and outlining your vision for the next 12 months. It builds understanding, trust and confidence among your stakeholders and is an opportunity to stand out in your sector and amongst your peers. It will be scrutinised by a diverse audience that includes employees, partners, shareholders and potential investors, customers or clients, suppliers, regulators, NGO’s and journalists – each looking for different information on policy, performance and planning. It must cater for them all.
Annual report copywriting requires good planning, a strong narrative structure and the wholehearted input of everyone involved. There will be contributions from half a dozen people, each with differing priorities, perspectives and communication abilities, so there is much information to collect, summarise and draw together into one cohesive document. Your choice of wording and tone of voice is important as it reflects the personality of your organisation. It also needs to be concise and in a logical, well-organised order with defining key messages throughout. Not everyone will want to read your annual report cover to cover, so it must have a logical flow that tells the story of the year that is broken down into manageable easy-to-digest sections that are easy to scan and skim.
- Work out your timetable for collating the information for your annual report.
- Plan the content strategy and structure of your annual report.
- Determine your tone of voice, writing style and key messages.
- Work out the content for each page and who the contributors are.
- Start writing, maintaining the chosen theme throughout the sections.
- Proofread your draft and send it out to the contributors for review.
- Incorporate any feedback and re-issue for further feedback or sign-off.
If you would like to discuss your annual report with an experienced annual report copywriter, please contact me.