The new year is well upon us and many companies have wrapped up another milestone: the end of the financial year.

The end of last year was the time to make sure everything balanced and put the finishing touches on this year's plans.

Even more important, it was time to finalize annual reports. So how does this relate to content marketing?

Establishing Leadership

Boosting SEO

Every company aims to be a leader within its industry. What better way to establish leadership than to use the best technology available to distribute your annual report? This key PR tool is too important for you to be using outdated technology to deliver it. Think about it from your readers' viewpoint (because they will be using smartphones and tablets). If you are using outdated technology for your annual report how can you possibly be a leader in other areas? By making your annual report responsive you subtly send a message that you are up-to-the-minute and a technology and industry leader.

Leveraging Analytics

Analytics are great for digging down into what's happening with your content, but when you produce a PDF annual report, the only data you get is how many people have visited the landing page and downloaded the content. One crucial thing you DON'T know is how people are interacting with your content. Shifting to a responsive reading format gives you the option of getting analytics for individual sections of each annual report. While there are some mandatory sections of the report (like the financials), wouldn't it be great to find out which of the initiatives you plan for the next five years were most interesting to readers? That could guide the company's future direction. And you could use your annual report not only as a PR tool, but as an integral part of your mobile content marketing strategy. After all, if you know which initiatives interest readers, you can use that information to guide blog and social media updates and any long form content you produce.
You can't search a print based annual report. That's a problem for a generation who is used to finding answers on Google and looking inside publications on Amazon. Mobile search has also evolved. An annual report that is optimized for mobile devices and fully responsive will help readers to find the particular pieces of content they want. Other benefits include the potential to have content show up in search results, especially if you use structured data to ensure that it is tagged correctly. If an excerpt from your annual report shows up in search results for your company, more people will click on it and see it, giving your company more prominence and your site more traffic.
Annual reports have been a requirement since the early 20th century, and their look and feel hasn't changed much since.

For decades, the annual report has been designed as a print publication and for many companies the only nod to a more modern approach has been to make this important PR tool available for online distribution as a PDF.

That's an unfortunate mistake, especially now that audiences are more likely to be reading those documents on desktops and more and more on mobile devices. Some PDFs are really hard to navigate but luckily there are better ways, why not embrace it.

We believe the answer is to make the content of annual reports responsive. What do we mean by that? It's content that's optimized for reading not only on desktop but also on mobile devices. The latest statistics show that people aren't just using their mobile devices on the go; they are using them as leisure devices in the evenings. And they are reading everything from customer magazines, to white papers to other business content. It's not a big stretch to think that they will soon want to read your annual report on their mobile devices too. Responsive, mobile adapted content increases readership by providing a great reading experience. That's why both companies and readers will gain significant benefits from mobile adapted annual reports.

Annual Reports: A Long Tradition

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Increased Social Sharing

It's the age of social, with more than half the world checking social networking sites every day. According to Pew Internet, that figure is much higher in individual countries such as the US where it rises to around 72%. Sure, readers can share your PDF annual report now, but what if they could share a particular piece of content, like a key chart or the CEO's message? That would give you another way to measure the impact of each piece of annual report content and it could build interest in your annual report and your company. These four reasons show why it's time for annual reports to leverage modern technology and be mobile responsive. As the mobile user base grows, if you stick to PDFs you could find that you have no readers at all.
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Interactive Annual Reports & Content Marketing

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