Great tips for annual report writing
Annual report writing can be a daunting task. It needn’t be. Follow the eight tips below to make writing this year’s report that much easier.
1) Write for your audiences – Most reports or reviews are flagship documents which are aimed at investors and stakeholders. Make sure your annual report is written with them in mind.
2) Stick to a plan – Whether you are producing a full-colour glossy or just a simple pdf, you need to plan how long your report is going to be, and what key information is needed for each page. This discipline will give your report focus, allowing you to cut out the waffle and stick to the core points.
3) Work to a schedule – Draw up a production schedule with key dates by which key tasks need to be completed. Allow some leeway but make sure your report stays on track throughout the process.
4) Get the messages right – Let’s face it, most of your stakeholders are only going to glance through your annual report. We call this ‘report grazing’. If nothing else they will read the headings and subheadings. So, make sure you use these to get your messages across.
5) Keep it tight – Annual reports can drift and list like rudderless ships. Don’t allow this to happen. Everyone should get their chance to contribute, but make sure decisions and sign-off are restricted to those who really count.
6) Be clear – never invite colleagues to contribute to annual reports without giving clear instructions. Suggest each department makes four or six points and restrict the length of their responses.
7) Be creative but stick to the facts – Creative ways to present your achievements are great, but being creative with what you’ve achieved is not. Always remember that your reputation is at stake. Always check facts.
8) Stress impact, not policy – State what you believe in but concentrate on what you’ve actually achieved. Long policy statements are a turn-off but facts, figures and testimonies from real people always draw readers in.
For more information about our annual report writing service click here, or call Adam Woolf on 01788 335284.