Building the perfect sandwich takes precision, finesse, gusto. The same goes for building the perfect report.
With the flair of a sous-chef, I’m serving up a recipe for one top-notch report.
Start with the bread
The bread is what makes the sandwich. It’s the first and last thing you sink your teeth into. Your goals and objectives are the bread. Start your report by reiterating your goals and objectives as a reminder of what the metrics you’re about to present are supporting.
Slab on the mayo
Before I get to the bulk of the report, I like to add a little bit of context, flavor if you will, to help set the results up. This is where I may mention any events or outliers that could have impacted a given period of time’s results, or where I’ll tease the overall report with an insight or two.
Layer on the meat and cheese
This is, obviously, the bulk of the report. This is where the quality, flair and creativity can come into play. Summarize the important key metrics as it relates back to the defined goals and objectives (want to know what the best goals are to measure, click here). You can present the results in a variety of different ways, depending on who is receiving the report, the information you need to convey and the overall format of the report. Utilize charts and graphs when needed but avoid adding flair if it distracts from the overall results.
Add the sprouts and sandwich seasoning
Once you’ve pulled everything together in a gorgeous, organized pile of goodness, add the final elements that help tie everything together. This can also vary, but consider adding next steps, reminders of upcoming campaigns or screenshots or press clippings that have impacted or resulted from the metrics you reported on
Top it off with the final piece of bread
Your report should start, and end with the goals and objectives. To close the report, talk about the goals and objectives in a forward-thinking way. How did the metrics affect the strategy to achieve the goals and objectives? Were there lessons learned? Was the approach confirmed and validated? Is it time to pivot? Summarize the report in the context of the goals and set things up for the next reporting period.
I’m running with this metaphor. Need to condense the report? Think of it like a panini, pressed and condensed, but with all the components intact. Do you need to demonstrate ROI or show success with lots of supporting charts, graphs and insights? Well, if you’ve lived in Richmond long enough to remember Black Sheep’s battleships, then yeah, your report will be something like that.