Whether it's an annual, strategic, ESG, corporate responsibility or an action plan report, here are a few tips to ensure a document that will engage your stakeholders and create a memorable reading experience.
1 - Define a clear objective
Determine the overall purpose, the central message that the report must communicate, the main reason why this report will be used following its publication. Is it to inform stakeholders, assess company performance, recommend action?
Define the key topics that arise from the overall subject. What questions should the content of the report answer? What information should be prioritized and highlighted through photos, graphic treatment, quotes, testimonials, and visual graphics?
Is the report intended for shareholders, investors, employees, customers, or other specific stakeholders? Understand the needs and expectations of these stakeholders in order to adapt your objective accordingly.
To make the objective more concrete, determine specific performance indicators that you will use to measure the success of the report.
Finally, clarify the expectations in terms of the format and presentation of the report. This may include considerations such as whether the report will be printed, digital, or both. Evaluate the number of pages, graphs and tables to be included, as well as the writing style, while ensuring that these expectations are aligned with the overall objective of the report.
2 - Tell a compelling story
By using a narrative approach that is consistent with your organization’s brand positioning, your annual report will be engaging and memorable for your readers.
As the target audience has been well defined in step 1, the writing style will be consistent to ensure that it resonates with the intended audience.
Use quotes and testimonials to punctuate the text and give the content a human and evocative tone.
3 - Highlight the content with impactful visuals
Attractive and informative visuals will make your data more accessible and easy to understand for your audience.
However, it is important to balance the use of visually processed data in order to highlight key information and not overwhelm the content with excessive graphic elements.
4 - Opt for simplicity
Using minimalist designs helps maintain the reader’s focus on essential information.
A graphically simple document can have a powerful visual impact. The minimal use of colours, fonts, and well-crafted layouts will hold the reader’s interest from the beginning to the end of the document.
Facilitate navigation by favouring a simple, organized, and structured document with a navigation menu and inter-document hyperlinks. The hierarchy of texts (titles, subtitles, body text) should be consistent and easily identifiable, as well as the section pages, allowing readers to quickly find the specific information they are looking for.
A graphically simple document can promote inclusivity. By avoiding complex or distracting graphic elements, you reduce potential barriers for people with limited visual or cognitive abilities.
Adaptability is the strength of a well-constructed document, as it is generally easier to adapt to different formats or platforms. It can be used for presentations, printed reports, online versions, email sharing, etc. Graphic simplicity allows for greater flexibility in using the document in different contexts.
5 - Ensure accessibility
Make sure your annual report is accessible to everyone by using appropriately sized, simple, and easily readable fonts, as well as contrasting colours that differentiate text from the background.
Include alternative descriptions for visuals to enable the use of assistive technologies, such as screen readers.
Text structure is also important to promote accessibility, as the reading logic can be enhanced by using reading order tags, also recognized by screen readers.
Ensure that hyperlinks are clearly identifiable by underlining them or using another visual indication to differentiate them from normal text.
By following these tips, you will be able to create an impactful corporate report that captivates your audience and showcases your company’s strategies and achievements.
Cabana Séguin has a reputation for delivering high-quality corporate reports. Our team has implemented proven processes to guide you through every stage of such a project, for which rigor, structure, and creativity are fundamental.
We will help you prepare an effective and seamless game plan, ensuring the timely submission of your reports.
Peace of mind guaranteed!