The secret to producing reports that deliver

As communications specialists, we pride ourselves in communicating complex messages effectively.

As we gear up for a busy annual report season, we want to hear your tips on writing and designing reports that deliver. 

We’ve created a list to get started!

Design is key: A selection of reports designed by the Articulous in-house creative team!

1. Leverage annual reporting to attract staff and stakeholders – not just fulfil mandatory requirements. 

Annual reports allow businesses to communicate their positive progress! When producing annual reports, be sure to compare milestone indicators with previous year periods and highlight your growth. Remember that future collaborators are an important segment of your audience.

2. Keep reports concise – embed links to drive people to view a fuller story online.

In today’s connected world, information overload is far too common. Keep reports concise, citing key themes and sentiment, and condensed lists of feasible recommendations. Directing readers to online appendices is a great way to keep your reports slim – and help the planet in the process!

3. Design for people of all abilities.

Accessible writing and design ensure that your messages are disseminated to a broader range of people. For online reports, familiarise yourself with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, and formulate all print and web documents with accessibility in mind. This means that they’re compatible with screen readers, use image descriptions and use easy-read font and text sizes.​ Plain English writing also supports readability.

4. Write for a range of organisations – make it an ‘easy read’.

Increasingly, we’re asked to produce reports that will be shared widely – to broad groups of stakeholders and community members. Providing an ‘easy read’ summary is an effective way to explain glossary terms and acronyms and fill readers in on contextual information.

What else would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments!

Written by Jessie Forbes
Jessie is a social analyst and professional communicator, passionate about leveraging social research to bolster resilient communities and workplaces. Jessie upholds key skills in report-writing, stakeholder management and community liaison. She has a concentrated interest in the not-for-profit and social enterprise sectors, and a distinct passion for diversity and inclusion. Dedicated and driven, Jessie displays a strength for harnessing social research and storytelling to produce thought provoking, for purpose work, and works to support the day-to-day operations of Articulous as a Support Officer.