The lazy days of summer aren’t so laid back for public relations professionals whose fiscal year ends June 30.
Instead of lounging poolside and concerning themselves with SPF numbers, PR pros who work on a fiscal year—and not a calendar year—are reflecting on the past 12 months.
Here are four ways to make a summertime annual PR report seem easy-breezy:
1. Map it out.
Don’t embark on your annual report without fully understanding expectations. You don’t want to have created an analysis only to hear these dreadful words at the executive presentation: “This isn’t the information we are looking for.”
Establish an outline that’s approved before the writing and data gathering begin. That one exercise can save you time (and reduce stress) in the long run.
2. Point to goals.
When compiling a results-based report, always begin with the end in mind: your goals. List the objectives up front, and throughout the report weave in how you reached those benchmarks. Exceptional PR practitioners fully understand how their work has contributed to an organization’s overall business goals.
Be sure you know the definition of a business “win.” Although impressions and advertising values have been staples of PR measurement, other results can be valuable to clients. Whenever possible, showcase unique consumer feedback and anecdotes that led to a business gain.
3. Keep it simple.
Sometimes being too close to the results means you get too entrenched in the data. The core of your document should highlight statistics that best communicate your success over the previous 12 months.
Additional in-depth data can be included in a separate addendum for your organization’s leaders to read. Infographics and data visualizations can help your audience understand the results you are sharing.
Graphs, charts and tables help put big data into context. Busy clients and executives will appreciate this reader-friendly approach.
4. Show room for growth.
Not every initiative during the year will have been perfect, of course. An annual report is a great platform to set the stage for improvement in key areas. A section of your report should point out a few important lessons and offer ways to improve on your results in the coming year.
Lisa Arledge Powell is president of MediaSource, a public relations firm that specializes in brand journalism. MediaSource has been named Best Health Care Agency in both 2013 and 2014 in Ragan’s Health Care PR & Marketing Awards. Connect on Twitter: @LisaArledge.