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Writing annual reports and attachments as one

So you have decided to have an annual report and a couple of inclusions that will be sent out with the annual report.

Task list for annual mailing

An annual report and any inclusions all form one annual mailing project.

Does this equate to three separate projects, or three parts to one project?

It is a good question, and I can see a temptation to treat them as two or there projects. Maybe you outsource the big project (the annual report) but figure you can manage the smaller ones yourself. or maybe you want to outsource to different people so the inclusions don’t distract from the annual report and vice versa.

However, I consider them to be aspects of one project and like the idea of them being managed as such. I usually mange the inclusions along with annual reports for clients, even if it is just a review and feedback on an existing document.

why consider them as a single project

Treating the annual report and any inclusions as one project works because

  • they  all need to be prepared by the same deadline and delivered to the same place for processing and mailing
  • the various elements of the annual report mailing are linked (as they are received in same envelope) so you want consistency and to them to complement each other which is much harder to manage if created independently of each other. Even if all match the style guide, any themes and layout options may not quite fit together
  • in terms of time management, I find I can work on one piece while another is with the designer or being reviewed by my client
  • any images can be managed so they are only used once or duplicated in every item (as best suits the situation)
  • it is easier to make references between the items. For instance, the annual report may state ‘we’re launching a new product – to find out the prices, see the enclosed flyer’. This is riskier when you can’t be sure what the other items actually include – if the flyer doesn’t include prices, the annual report reference looks silly.

Have you ever separated the annual report preparation from the inclusions preparation?  I’d love to hear your reasons and the results of your effort, so please add your experiences in the comments below!

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