5 Tips to Differentiate Your Online Sustainability Report….and Increase Your Audience
So you’ve just spent months defining your Sustainability strategy and indicators, collecting your data, calculating your KPIs and writing down about all of it in your Sustainability report draft. You’ve agreed with your consultancy on a report design theme and chose nice tree pictures, and you are really excited about that online version of your report which is supposed to impress all your stakeholders. But…wait a minute? Aren’t you missing something?
Like Guy Morgan, Director of Advisory Services at the BSR, wrote few weeks ago, “there are three main half-truths of Sustainability Reporting in a Era of Social Media”:
1. “Build it and they will come”
2. “People will see my company as being more committed to transparency”
3. “B2B companies don’t need to worry about social media”
It looks like simply putting your report on the internet won’t be enough to trigger your stakeholders interest and make them read it.
Guy’s right: “Just because you put information out there doesn’t mean you’ll attract either the quantity or the quality of stakeholders you want. It sounds simple, but you’ll get the level of engagement you desire only by integrating social media into your broader Sustainability communications strategy”.
But social media is not the only requirement: “Having a social media presence for your Sustainability communications does not automatically signal that your company is committed to the sometimes messy give-and-take of transparency”.
So how could you let stakeholders know about your report, make them want to read it and provide them with tools to truly exchange around it?
1. Improve your SEO with a customized URL: Adding the name of your company and “CSR” or “Sustainability report” should greatly improve you SEO and drive people with an interest for your company to read it.
2. Put it upfront: Add a link to your report on any web channel you cover: the home page of your corporate website of course, but also your corporate blog and main social media presence. If possible, invest in a resource to truly engage your stakeholders online and not only push information.
3. Make it easy: Your stakeholders come from diverse backgrounds but you already know that. What you might be missing however is that their way of surfing the web is as diverse as they are. People don’t only consume information from their desktops anymore, but also massively from tablets and smartphones. Make sure your stakeholders will be able to read your report everywhere and on any device with a responsive design.
4. Promote transparency…for real: Leaving a feedback email address on your report is nice as a first step. But it is not enough. If you truly want to be acknowledged for your transparency, you should enable your readers to leave public comments on your report and engage in real conversations around your performance. This is not as scary as it looks like: 85% of this year’s Cone Communications Study’s respondents said that “it’s okay if a company is not perfect, as long as it is honest about its efforts.”
5. Enable different readings: Your suppliers don’t want to read the same info as your customers. Neither do your employees. Present an adjusted version of your report specifically targeted to your different groups of stakeholders to enable them to save time and focus on their own interests.
Do you have your own tips to make your Sustainability report different and increase your audience? I would be glad to hear them!