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Annual Reports
Episode Summary

The idea of the annual report fills people with yawns, dread, and thoughts about practically anything else. It doesn’t have to be that way! In this episode of Messaging on a Mission, an expert explains why the annual report can not only be a powerful tool for telling your story and building your brand, but it can also supply your organization with great content to last you throughout the year!

Key Takeaways

The best annual reports show, not tell. For example, use compelling infographics.

Tell real stories, by incorporating real people who are impacted or involved in the work. Use any combination of testimonials, case studies, client stories, or video interviews.

Highlight your mission and goals. Make the connection for your audience by weaving your mission and goals throughout the report.

Professional, custom photography and design elements and videography matter. Stock photography has its merits, and it can be cheaper, but custom imagery paints a more compelling and engaging branded experience.

Release your annual report in line with your calendar of events.

The best digital annual reports are virtual brand ambassadors. When your annual report is interesting, tells your story, and is user-friendly, it has the added benefit of adding validity to your overall brand credibility.

Less is more. Copy should be well written, with tight short paragraphs, well divided by headlines.

Do not over-emphasize your leadership and the board. Rather, focus on the work, the people who do the work, the people who benefit from the work.

Don’t miss the opportunity to use and reuse annual report content across all your channels and throughout the year. Rather than thinking of it as a one-and-done, think about it as an opportunity to create content that can go the distance for you. It’s more efficient, it’s less expensive, and it’s way more effective.

About Our Guest

Katharine Ramsden has helped leading organizations and their leadership teams tell their stories for over 30 years. Her career began as a research analyst at a consulting firm and, after earning a master’s degree from the Columbia University School of Journalism, her career continued with positions in public relations, corporate communications, and executive communications for three Wall Street firms.

Following eight years as managing director of a boutique marketing research and communications consulting practice, she joined Thomson Reuters, where she served in a range of senior corporate communications, executive communications, thought leadership, and publishing roles for nearly a decade. Most recently, she has been an independent consultant serving a variety of clients in corporate, academic, and nonprofit organizations.

Her award-winning work has spanned annual reports, speechwriting, and the creation of thought leadership vehicles (white papers, publications) to build and enhance the reputation of organizations and their executives.

In addition to her master’s degree from Columbia, she has a bachelor of arts in European studies from Mount Holyoke College.

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