One of the top stressors in IR is the yearly task of producing a company’s annual report.
Every 12 months comes the challenge of extracting and analysing the same data sets, and presenting that information in new and interesting ways. Importantly, providing an informative snapshot of your company’s performance for the year. This is critical as it is one of the first places new investors look to see if they want to invest in your company.
Increasingly, public companies around the world are using the annual report as an opportunity to present not only their annual performance, but also their brand positioning with their stakeholders. A digital annual report offers for greater transparency for a company, including multimedia, interactive features and the flexibility of digital, which allows companies to customise their report to suit their image and their target audience.
Printed annual reports are now an “opt-in” for shareholders but still a requirement under Australia’s reporting obligations for public companies, but this material can be repurposed as an interactive annual report for improved readability and an enhanced user experience.
If your company is yet to make the switch to digital, there is a growing list of reasons why it might be time.
Engage with Interactive Storytelling
Numbers and financial tables are important, but they don’t provide the whole picture. Printed annual reports are also limited in how much written information they can contain, to keep word-count and page numbers in check. Digital reporting allows companies to bring annual report figures to life with animations, and the ability to tell their story with not only written words, but also video, audio and interactive features.
Increase reach with SEO
Most corporate websites have embraced good SEO practices, but this crucial tool is too often forgotten in the annual report. Any opportunity to write about a company’s performance, achievements, objectives or branding should be considered as a powerful form of content marketing – This was achieved with Westfield’s Shareholder Review that had their flagship World Trade Centre in New York opening and the report was well placed to showcase their iconic Manhattan landmark development. By creating an annual report specifically for the web, writing for SEO is prioritised, and the exposure and reach potential of your annual report is organically increased.
Repurposing marketing content
Interactive reports contain powerful marketing content that can be reused and repurposed across a range of platforms, maximising your return on investment. Unlike the traditional annual report that is simply printed and filed away, a digital annual report offers a multitude of individual components including video, audio, infographics, animations and downloads that can be used throughout your annual marketing calendar.
Share on social media
A stagnant PDF report hundreds of pages long doesn’t make for highly shareable content on social media. Regardless of how exciting and innovative your company is, it’s unlikely your annual report is going to go viral. But the social media shareability of digital reports sets them apart, providing eye-catching, interactive features that are more likely to capture the interest of your social media audience, and direct traffic to your corporate website. Similarly, the digital annual report can easily connect viewers to your social networks at the click of a button.
Expand your audience
Board members, directors, investors and other immediate stakeholders are the usual target audience of a company’s annual report. The interactive features of a digital report are more likely to offer greater appeal for a wider audience, and being online means they’re also more likely to be found. The above-mentioned strategies such as using SEO and social media can help with promoting your annual report to increase its reach and improve ROI.
Data capture and analytics
Companies and IR teams usually prioritise what their annual reports offer for others, but digital annual reports have the unique feature of providing the company with valuable data too. By having an interactive digital report online, you can obtain analytics about your web traffic, see which features of the report are most popular, and track user pathways and behaviour flow, such as how users arrived at the report, and where they navigate once they get there. Given more than 90% of investors would opt for an interactive annual report over a PDF, they are more likely to make repeat visits to the website. And you can also incorporate data catchment measures such as a mailing list subscription button or email-enabled access, helping you to retarget and reconnect with people interested in your company.
What printed annual report can do all that?