How to make up for lack of content in an annual publication?
May 20, 2014 10:04 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for some inspiration to write/create an annual document for a year when not much happened, especially compared to other years.

Let's say you're responsible for an annual publication that features highlights of the past year (like a yearbook but for your business/operations), including achievements, interesting projects, improvements/enhancements and the like. No advertisements or in memoriam pages.

One year you find you have substantial content, enough to fill about 20 letter sized pages without having to add filler content and pictures. But in another year, you've got barely enough content to fill 4 pages.

What can you do realistically? Could you issue something like a supplement? Change the format/medium? Unfortunately, the document has to be issued even though it's much smaller than previous years. Please help.

(I am all for creative ways to document the past year where the method makes sense for documenting business operations.)
posted by alice ayres to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Content: can you include a feature on staff members and/or your clients/users - their backgrounds or interests? Or perhaps get them to write some opinion pieces?

Format: perhaps instead of a booklet you could create this edition as a fold-out pamphlet, where one side contains content, the other a great illustration or photo. Even better, incorporate the content into an infographic-style layout, which is eye-catching and spreads the info out a bit more.
posted by greenish at 10:09 AM on May 20, 2014

Historical information, motivations for the work (beyond "money"), bios of people who really care about their work, changes in the broader field, singing the unsung heroes who keep things going (which takes just as much effort, sometimes more, as doing new things).
posted by amtho at 10:18 AM on May 20, 2014

Create content:
- follow ups on last year's stories
- outlook for the coming year
- goals for the foreseeable future
- piece on the reasons why there was little change in the past year
- some type of contest / award for outstanding performance or some such
+ the features on relevant people greenish already mentioned

Don't shy away from asking for ideas around the office. You might stumble on some inspiration that way.

- 20 pages without pics is a lot of dense material, an overhaul could be beneficial anyway. How about 6 - 10 pages?
posted by travelwithcats at 11:01 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

What are some challenges the company expects to face in the near future, and can someone write knowledgeably about how they're planning to deal with them?

Are there any little-known aspects of your work that someone might want to know about? I think "here's how the thing is made" or "here's the science" features are cool. If it's an office, give a virtual tour. Staff bios that are about the person, but also about how they do the thing they do, could mesh with this.

Do you have client testimonies? Could you get some?

Do you do any charity? Talking about that takes up lots of space.
posted by blnkfrnk at 11:05 AM on May 20, 2014

You could leave it at 4 pages. It will be much more readable than the alternative.
posted by rhizome at 11:05 AM on May 20, 2014

-Case Studies (Here's a client/situation, what we did, and how it succeeded)

-What We Do Best ("Among the various services we offer, this is the one we are most proud of, and here's why...")

-Looking to the Future - What we hope to accomplish in the coming years

-The Word on the Street - What people (employees, clients, etc) are saying about us.

-Looking Back - Here's an excerpt from our newsletter X number of years ago. Wow, have things changed! (Depending on how long the newsletter has been around)

-Employees Who Make a Difference - Charity and community involvement of employees
posted by The Deej at 12:20 PM on May 20, 2014

Do you have a budget? If so, hire a science fiction writer to write a few pages of your typical report, but set in 2044. As a bonus, the guy in your position in 2044 can spend a few pages mocking your quaint visions of the future.
posted by Sophont at 1:28 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

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