Friday 4 January 2013

Is your annual or CSR report writer a perfect ten?

  •        Experienced
  •        Comfortable in the boardroom
  •        Able to bring some flair to proceedings
  •        Grammatically correct
  •        Skilled enough to achieve the vision of the agency

It became one of our most read posts. So, by popular demand, here are five more skills to look out for:

1. They know your industry. When you’re trying to explain the company strategy, it helps that the writer understands the context. If they don’t, it can be a right rigmarole. And it’s not just about saving time. Industry experience also allows the copywriter to better fine-tune director statements, draft annual reviews, outline risks and take smarter editorial decisions on content. Come to think of it, that all saves time too.

As a writing agency we’ve written for almost every sector including finance, energy, pharma, insurance, retail, FMCG, mining, automotive and technology.

2. They have the right attitude. Writing annual reports can take the patience of a saint. Trust us. Last September we delivered a CSR report for a FTSE 150 company. The kick-off meeting? That took place the previous November. But it’s not all staring at the inbox. After weeks of inactivity, tight deadlines can suddenly strike. You need a copywriter with the attitude to cope.

3. They’re flexible. For some clients, efficiency is everything. They’ll go from pontificating to printing in a month flat. These companies often do the majority of the work before calling us in to edit. Fine by us. Others prefer a more discursive approach. They want us to identify the key messaging, organise it into the most compelling structure and produce the first draft. That’s fine too. Just so long as you don’t want discursive AND printed copies in a month.

4. They’re marketing savvy. Annual and CR reports cover a lot of ground. A year’s worth to be exact. But the best ones always contain a single, easy-to-recall message. This message, or theme, should determine all aspects of the communications: what you say, how you say it, what order you say it in and what evidence you use to support what you’re saying. The take-home message should even inform the report’s format – such as the inclusion and placement of case studies, quotes and comparisons to previous efforts.

5. They possess good judgement. This is about identifying the report’s audience and having the insight to recognise their (often diverse) needs. Then it’s about addressing these needs with clear, simple language which dissects jargon and delivers information promptly. In other words: your wordsmith needs to be experienced and capable. If they’re not, an annual or CSR report will find them out.

So did your report writer tick all the boxes? If not, we'd love to be considered. Check out our experience last year. There was this CR tome for Land Securities, this myth-busting annual report for The Royal British Legion and this digital annual report for ‘Russia’s Google’,

Read our blog from last year for an additional five things to look out for in an annual report writer.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Barnaby Benson,

    Nice post. I think you share great knowledge on annual report copywriting skills which is helpful.