DIGITAL ANNUAL REPORTS: ARE YOU BEING LEFT BEHIND?

With the rise in all things digital, it’s not surprising that an increasing number of companies are choosing to release digital reports.
Aside from the flexibility that these reports offer, they are able to engage users in a more interactive and creative way than ever before, not to mention the immense saving on the high cost of printing and the environmental benefits which far outweigh those of print.

Say it with an infographic

Say it with an infographic

click to enlarge

So, what’s the fuss about digital reports?

With its ease of accessibility, presentation and usability, one of the key reasons to consider going the digital reporting route is because of its reach. Basically, you want to ensure that your content has as far a reach as possible – and with so much popularity surrounding social media, you can be assured that your report, or at least parts of, will be shared on one of the many social media platforms.

The question is, how do you go about creating a digital report that will not only engage your reader but also provide them with the relevant information that they need without sifting through a mountain of content that is irrelevant to them?

According to Moveable Online, there are six key features that companies need to consider when they prepare their annual digital reports, or else they’ll be left behind in the digital ‘dust’:

  1. Show, don’t tell – use infographics and visuals throughout your report. If you can give your reader an overview of the company’s year in just a few snapshots, then use it. No one likes wading though mountains of text to find the data that is pertinent to them.
  2. Leveraging online-only capabilities, such as multimedia videos, sound bites and gifs, parallax scrolling, animations and interactive segments.
  3. Professionalism meets playfulness – adding a spoonful of playfulness makes financial and operating data easier to digest and can entice readers to read the entire document.
  4. Summarised and detailed information – use headings and links that summarise key information, but don’t present the details in full until clicked upon; this ensures that readers only select the information that interests them.
  5. Flat, clean design – aside from becoming the industry standard, this type of design is the most effective at conveying messages while also looking good.
  6. Content-driven apps for offline access – these days annual reports of leading companies are evolving into robust and innovative content-driven mobile apps that are content-rich and user-focused that can engage readers without an internet connection.

The great thing about digital reports is that you can actually measure their effectiveness – analytics, such as how many click-throughs are made, how long your audience spends on a particular page, bounce rates and so on. If, however, you are concerned about what framework to follow in terms of content, it is recommended that you follow the same guidelines as those set out for integrated reporting.

By following the key features mentioned above, you’ll be sure to cover the most important aspects of what makes your report truly digital and be sure to create some dust of your own in your digital reporting wake. However, global management consulting firm McKinsey says that while there is more work to do when it comes to digital reporting, more companies are making digital reporting and customer engagement a high strategic priority. Isn’t time yours does, too?

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