How you can turn basic reporting into stellar content marketing

Annual reports? Market trends? Data mining? Blah. Hey, not so fast. Here are seven examples of companies that turned seemingly routine information into compelling, on-brand messaging.

Strong reporting is a vital communication tool, regardless of your industry.

It helps you distill and present information, providing the transparency that supports a happier company culture.

Reporting can also be turned into interesting content that expands your reach, showcases your brand personality and provides exceptional value to people. If you’re looking for new content marketing inspiration, your company’s most recent report might be your next piece of PR gold.

Here’s how seven clever brands have turned surveys, reports, data and insights into fantastic content to connect and engage with the public:

1. LinkedIn’s workforce report (support for its vision)

LinkedIn Workforce Reporting

LinkedIn’s vision is “to create economic opportunity for every worker in the global workforce.” It does this through its social platform, but it also creates content that helps people find and navigate their careers more effectively.

Its workforce report plays a huge role in this. Each month, the report consolidates insights from LinkedIn’s platform, including 133 million U.S. worker profiles, 20,000+ company profiles, 3 million+ job listings, and 50,000 skills listed on profiles.

The public report covers trends and insights by industry, including more than 100 data graphics. These up-to-date data provide a tremendous resource for job seekers, hiring managers, members of the media, and anyone interested in the state of the U.S. workforce—helping LinkedIn fulfill its vision one report at a time.

2. Gartner’s Magic Quadrant (investment tool)

Gartner magic quadrant reporting

Gartner’s Magic Quadrant reports analyze specific tech industries to identify the major competitors in the market, including leaders, visionaries, niche players and challengers. The quadrant visualizes each competitor’s position in the market, making it a helpful tool for investors to assess the landscape and identify potential investments.

Going a step further, Gartner also provides interactive Magic Quadrants, which let investors customize reports for their specific business goals and needs. In this way, Garner provides an incredibly powerful tool that turns valuable data into actionable insights.

3. MailChimp’s annual reports (culture marketing)

Mailchimp reporting

Annual reports are traditionally used to inform investors about the more boring sides of business—financial data, initiative recaps, etc.—but the best annual reports showcase an organization’s accomplishments, as well as its personality. For its 2016 annual report, MailChimp gave viewers an inside look at its team members and their passions, its major milestones and day-to-day office life via an interactive report.

Presented with bright and bubbly on-brand design (think bananas and apes), the report features a seemingly endless scroll of interesting tidbits, from the type of night school classes employees took ( calligraphy, Ruby, desk plants, database management, improv, Git and Snapchat) to the number of employees who marched in the Atlanta Pride Parade. These snapshots, both big and small, give you a strong sense of the people behind the brand, including how they work and what they care about.

4. Incapsula’s Are You Slacking Off? infographic (distilling information)

Incapsula reporting

You don’t always have to present an entire report to provide value. To promote its 2017 SaaS uptime survey, Incapsula turned survey insights into an animated infographic that’s both informative and eye-catching.

Presenting survey highlights in a distilled form is its own service (for busy readers who can’t read the whole survey), and presenting it in a shareable and engaging visual format makes it more digestible. (This type of content is especially great to pitch to publishers who cover similar topics.)

5. Siemens’ sustainability reports (behind-the-scenes content)

Sustainability reporting has become more pervasive, which is great for consumers, but the information tends to be dry and dense. Through its publication The Magazine, Siemens brings sustainability report stories to life, going behind the curtain to visit the people and places that are making an impact. Its series of mini-documentaries is especially interesting, spotlighting its sustainability practices.

[FREE GUIDE: Everyday DE&I]

6. Pantone Color Institute’s color trend report (editorial content)

Pantone reporting

Color trends influence all creative fields, but none so much as fashion. Pantone steers conversations around color by releasing the color trend reports every fashion season. The palettes feature the top 12 colors found most frequently on the runway, along with Adobe Swatch files for download. This serves as a valuable reference for creators and influencers, while putting Pantone front and center.

7. Also’s 2016 annual report (showing expertise)

ALSO reporting

You might have never heard of Also, a B2B marketplace for information and communication technology, but you would be inspired by its insanely creative annual report presentation.

To celebrate an exciting innovation, the company turned its annual report into a virtual reality and augmented reality experience. The report included a VR app exploring Also’s various business models, as well as an augmented reality poster to be scanned via smartphone. This striking presentation showcases the company’s creativity, its innovative thinking and its passion for the industry.

For more inspiration, see five other organizations that nailed their annual reports.

A version of this post first ran on the Column Five Media blog.

COMMENT Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive the latest articles from directly in your inbox.