Creating an online school annual report

How do you make your annual report a piece of communication that is worth reading?

It is often quite a challenge to put the information together in a way that reflects the school’s brand, achievements and required information, yet still make the report engaging, let alone inspiring.

Every school has to produce an annual report and inevitably it falls to the marketing department to create this document.

For many the annual report lives on their website as a PDF and is there for everyone to read. This is similar to a Strategic Plan in some ways. They are essential documents that may often not get the exposure or interest they deserve.

We believe schools can create an exciting annual report that can be a valuable piece of school marketing collateral that staff, parents and prospective families will find both informative and uplifting – it’s all in the planning and execution.

Recently we worked with Brisbane Catholic Education to create their annual report as an online website.

There are some key features to this report that make it a success:

  • The entire report is encapsulated as a single-page website and takes the reader on a journey from top to bottom.
  • Being a website, it is far more visually dynamic than a printed document and has the capacity to be viewed and shared more widely.
  • It showcases bold headlines, captivating visuals, icons and infographics so that snippets of information can be gleaned at a glance.
  • The Menu and many of the report elements are clickable – allowing you to delve more deeply into a section or element of the report – therefore it is interactive, making it more engaging.
6 Benefits of an Online Annual Report

There are six key reasons to create an online annual report that we believe are worth considering. It can:

  1. Be responsive – so easily viewed on mobile and tablet platforms and can take the reader on a journey simply by scrolling (around your organisation/school) all in one website
  2. Be shared across your social media platforms and drive traffic to your website
  3. Engage your entire community and provide photographic, videographic and infographic information that is easy to read and digest
  4. Be tracked and measured to see how many people viewed it – so a great way to analyse your ROI.
  5. Allow the reader to jump quickly to sections of immediate interest
  6. Save you money on printing costs!

When creating the report, it is important to set out your goals as to what you want the report to achieve. For example, we think your priority outcomes would be:

  1. To create a report that reflects the values of your brand and your positioning – how does the report demonstrate your differentiation?
  2. To create a report that achieves quality views on your website and social media channels – how many comments and shares did it attract?
  3. To create a report that achieves word-of-mouth recommendation. Will your community talk about it to others?
 Checklist for moving to a more interactive report
  • Develop a brief for the agency who will build your report. Outline budget, timings, mandatory information, suggested sitemap and whatever else you consider essential information
  • Determine a key person who will project manage the report
  • Decide on your site map (all the information you are going to have and where it is going to sit)
  • Determine the design style – in WordPress a common feature is a one page scrolling report
  • Compile your brand style guide, copy, images, logos, maps and other elements
  • If you require additional photography ensure these are going to suit the key messaging/headings/pages where they are required
  • Work out your key headings and how they are going to work (it might be different to the headings you might use in a traditional annual report) – Think about SEO. Hint: get a copywriter to help you.
  • Hand everything over to be designed and developed
  • Upload all content.
  • View the online report in live preview mode across iphone, tablet and computer platforms – make changes as required
  • Go live. Submit to Google Analytics.
  • Give it a few days for Google to Index it and then announce to the world!

Take a look at the online annual report we created for Brisbane Catholic Education and note the clever menu on the left hand side that enables you to jump to sections in the communication.  At Look Education we have experience in producing a host of microsites for clients to meet specific purposes.

Look Education specialises in websites, digital marketing and marketing collateral for education facilities. Talk to us today about how we can engage your community.