5 mistakes to avoid when writing an annual report

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5 mistakes to avoid when writing an annual report

An annual report is an important asset for any business. It communicates the values and goals of your brand in a transparent and accountable way. If you have investors or want to attract them, it’s even more critical. However, getting it right can be tough. Here are some common mistakes businesses make when writing an annual report and how you can avoid them.

Mistake 1: leaving it too late

There’s no getting around it. Writing an annual report takes time. If it’s up to you to coordinate the creation of this meaty document you’ll need excellent project management skills.

Essential steps include deciding on the content, coordinating all the contributions and managing the sign-off process.

All this could take months alongside your day job. Start working backward from the date you want to deliver your report now. And importantly, make sure everyone involved knows the timetable.

Mistake 2: forgetting your audience

Whenever you are writing something in business you must always consider your audience. Think about what they want to hear and what you need to tell them.

This becomes more complicated when you’re writing your annual report because your audience is broader than usual. It might include investors, customers, your staff and the wider industry.

Put yourself in the shoes of each person who’ll read the report as you decide your key messages and content structure. Be aware that while some readers will understand internal acronyms and jargon, not everyone will. Weed this out where possible or include a glossary of terms.

Mistake 3: focus on activities rather than achievements

Another essential element of your annual report is to highlight your accomplishments and why they matter.

People want to read what you’ve achieved rather than the legwork that made it possible. That’s unless you’ve invented a ground-breaking process that will change your industry forever.

Think about your brand’s headlines rather than the back story.

Mistake 4: not thinking creatively

Depending on your type of organisation or business, writing an annual report may be a legal requirement. But that doesn’t mean it needs to be dull.

Think creatively about how you can present your report so that people actually want to read it. Increasingly annual reports are designed as interactive online documents with videos and dynamic infographics to give their content power.

Mistake 5: poor proofing

It’s near impossible to proofread a document you’ve been neck-deep in for several months, especially if copywriting isn’t part of your day job.

Get some fresh eyes to proofread your annual report for inconsistencies, mistakes, grammatical errors and readability.

If you need help to write an annual report for your brand, manage the process or proofread the final document, we can help. Amplify PR offers all kinds of copywriting for businesses.