Businesses of any size can use their company’s annual report to show successes and challenges, accomplishments, opportunities for growth and their vision for the future. The trick is presenting this information in a way that makes people want to read it.

If the term “annual report” conjures up images of a 20-page black and white, text-heavy booklet, we’d urge you to be like Elsa and let it go—that’s definitely not the key to drawing people in. These days, companies are getting more creative with how they display and showcase their information in their annual report, and it doesn’t have to be a mammoth project that stresses you out from here to December. There are many easy tools and people to help you (raising Firespring’s collective hand) so you can create your report without angst and late-night headaches.

Start with these three tips—and then if you want more, let’s chat.

Show your data, rather than just tell in your company’s annual report.

The best annual reports present key information visually. For instance, infographic-inspired elements can help give your readers’ eyes a break. Charts and graphs can break up the content and show important data without a lot of text. When you show your readers numbers and data visually rather than list it all in text-heavy paragraphs, it’s easier for them to draw quick conclusions and recognize trends. That would be really hard to do if you just bury a bunch of numbers in long blocks of copy.

If your report isn’t data-heavy, you can still incorporate other visual elements. First, invite readers to look inside with a unique cover page. Then, use illustrations to break your report into clear sections. Icons can help draw eyes to key information and create white space around the text, allowing it to breathe.

Make your company’s annual report more engaging with photos.

People love pictures! Why not make your annual report more interesting with photos that help tell your story, either about the faces behind your business or the ones you serve? Plus, adding photography is another way to break up the content. You can go with stock photos; that’s a fine choice. But think about personalizing your report with your own photos, if possible. This really will humanize your business and bring it to life. And in this day and age of social media and peer reviews, adding that human element to your company is almost an expectation for a lot of consumers.

annual report for Buffet Early Childhood Fund

Tell your story in multiple formats.

Once you’ve outlined your annual report and you know what you want to include, think about how you’d like to share it. Maybe you want to appeal to casual readers with a short summary, while also making your full report available to those who want a deeper dive. You could send a shorter printed summary to your audience with a QR code that sends them to an interactive landing page where you go into more details or offer a free download of your full report.

Think beyond the typical annual report: You have a lot of options, and all of them can work in tandem to show the big picture and help your audience understand more about your business or brand. This not only gives them more information about your company, but it also helps to instill loyalty and fosters relationships.

Get started on your annual report.

If you’re ready to take on the task yourself, great! If you’d like a little assistance, we have a team of content writers and designers who can lend their expertise and take your annual report to the next level.

And a bonus: Firespring can also make your printed piece a reality with presses ready to roll.

Let’s chat about the next steps for your annual report or any other communications you need to get created and printed.