What was your reason and is it justifiable to match the time, resources and energy you will expend to create, publish and distribute it? Like any business decision, ask ‘what is your return going to be?’ For some brand’s, it’s important to take advantage of the technologies available to present content in a really engaging manner. Consider designing for the web and identifying the value of creating and presenting the design of your content in this format.
Considering the process for designing the layout
Rule #1: The print version cannot be the same as the online one. I have noticed our clients take several approaches to this. Some design the print first and adjust for digital after and some go the other way. In either event, please do not scan your print version, turn it into a PDF and use some free software that makes it ‘flip’. Both print and digital design have elements that can be taken advantage of based on the format. In print, you may be extra cautious about the type of paper you use and the quality of the printer that is going to make the final run while in digital, you would be extra cautious about the system requirements of readers to consume your output and the level of interactive design elements you incorporate. Here is a checklist you can use to get started:
- Have a checklist
- Define your goals including your audience
- Define your distribution method
- Assemble a team of designers/implementers and brainstormers
- Take a look at your data and the current layout
- Consider which elements can be made interactive (graphs, compelling data, milestones)
- Create your assets (video, flash)
- Design for digital (font size, page size, document length)
- Add your enrichments to the layout
- Finalize, approve , publish and distribute
- Flash elements can bring your data to life in the online version.
- Research has shown that video increases engagement and time spent so try to always include video considering what video best represents the feature spread.
- Zoom reduces the time people will spend with your content so try to avoid people having to use it.
- You have unlimited amount of space since we don’t have to worry about print costs so you can incorporate more imagery and turn your content into an online story.
And most important …. **Always think about what you can do in the digital format vs. the print edition.
Distributing to your readers and interested parties (hint: you don’t need to call your printer)
Have you decided how you are going to get your digital interactive annual report into the hands or inboxes of your shareholders? With print, you may have had the copies bounded, mailed and/or distributed via internal mail but with digital, you need to consider and devise a digital distribution strategy. There are several ways you can distribute your content. You may chose 1 or 2 or all depending upon your content goals and your unique audience.
1. Email. This is certainly the most ‘traditional’ way to deliver electronic documents but you need to ensure everyone you wish to receive it is opted-in and that you have the resources to create the email templates and deliver them.
2. Post to your website. Is your annual report public or private? If its for public knowledge, then consider adding an Annual Reports section to your website and updating every year. This could also serve as an online archive for these reports and provide some publicity for the innovative format you have chosen. If your report is private and for internal use, you can post these online with a password protection security integrated.
3. Share vial social networks. Purely for public knowledge only, you can post links and upload your reports to your brand’s social channels.