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How to Create a Year In Review

Dec 30th, 2022 by Issuu
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What is a year in review?

The “Year In Review” has become increasingly popular over the years as notable brands such as Spotify, Apple and Google highlight stats, trends, and even content unique to your own use of their product during the past year. The year in review doesn’t have an exact formula, so it might look a little different for each brand or organization. The most simple description of the year in review is as an overview of the happenings, milestones, and data points from the past year which you want to celebrate, recognize and share with the outside world. The year in review is most often shared in a few different formats from the infographic, letter-style, multi-page report, video, or a combination of all four! As we approach the end of the calendar year, many organizations should start planning their own year in review as their final marketing campaign to end the year.

Eight steps to create a year in review

We’ve broken down the year in review project into eight easy steps from start to finish. Just follow these steps and you can launch your own year in review to wrap up 2021!

1. Plan your year in review campaign

The year in review will take a lot of planning and development — from brainstorming, research, copywriting, design and execution. Make sure you leverage all of this work into a well-planned year in review marketing campaign and maximize the way you distribute and message the content. 

Give yourself lots of time to plan and create the year in review. Start 6-8 weeks or more prior to when you plan to launch the campaign. From the moment you kick off the planning, you should build out your complete campaign timeline focused on all the tasks, due dates, stakeholders, and resources needed to complete the project.

Make sure to incorporate all of these tasks into the planning and timeline, and add any items that are necessary for your own organization. Each item should have a due date and task owner.

  • Start year in review planning 

  • Brainstorm

  • Research content

  • Pull important data points or stats 

  • Draft

  • Review

  • Revisions

  • Final review

  • Design

  • Create derivative assets for social, email, web, and more

  • Launch campaign

2. Brainstorm content for the year in review

Brainstorms should be one of the most fun and exciting parts of any project and this one especially! Pull together your team and start brainstorming all the content items that you may want to include in the year in review.

Topics for your year in review should include accomplishments, milestones, and data points of interest related to the organization. The topics can cover both internal and external topics since the audience for the year in review is also the company employees in addition to customers, members, and the general public. 

Here’s a list of content topics to consider:

  • Stats to show growth - data-driven content such as total sales, website traffic, loyalty members, social media followers, internal hiring, and more.

  • Important milestones - product launches, new openings, expanded territories, executive hires, and cultural events with business impact incorporated.

  • Trends and 2022 happenings - discuss industry trends, highlight 2022 events or upcoming launches.

  • Add personalization, if possible - pull stats unique to each customer and incorporate into the content. The elements of personalization could be the number of times the customer visited your website, used the product, or made a purchase. 

  • Call-to-action (CTA) - the year in review might not have an obvious call-to-action, but this shouldn’t be overlooked. Figure out the right CTA and make sure to add this to your project plan. The best CTA will depend on your business goals. You might drive the readers back to your website, promote sign-ups for your monthly newsletter, or encourage following your social channels. Let engagement with the year in review campaign turn into lead generation and customer retention for the new year.

3. Research, pull data and gather the content

Now’s the time to pull together all the important content which will make up the year in review content. Pull the data and stats that you identified during the brainstorming phase, and make sure you have the numbers broken down in a manner that is clear and concise. Don’t forget to correctly reference how the numbers were pulled. If you are planning to provide an in-depth year in review, you will want to include supporting information or content. The supporting content will include but isn’t limited to links to web pages, press releases, and to social media updates.

4. Determine the format of your year in review

It’s almost time to start developing the year in review, and you need to decide the best format for your content. A few of the most popular format options include:

  • Infographic - compile your year in review with a focus on stats, numbers, and icons usually designed into one page or one comprehensive graphic. 

  • Letter - this format is more traditional as it’s written in a letter style from the CEO or top executive at the organization. 

  • Multi-page document - for the year in review that needs to be a comprehensive document or report on everything from the past year at your organization, it will be best to develop a multi-page document or report. 

  • Video - if you have the video production skills, consider that video is one of the most engaging content formats and a perfect format for the most popular social media channels including TikTok, FB and Instagram Reels and Stories, and YouTube.

  • Combination - for the longer year in review, it might make sense to create a combination of all the formats above. Start the multi-page year in review with a letter, incorporate infographics, embed a video, and expand on the rest of the content you want to feature with additional pages and sections. Impress your readers by publishing your multi-page document as a sleek interactive flipbook and avoid sending a bulky PDF with basic hyperlinks. 

During this step, you should also consider how you will be publishing the year in review. No matter which format, you chose, Issuu offers all of the tools you need to launch the year in review as a multi-channel marketing campaign. Issuu is a popular content and distribution platform that transforms your static marketing collateral into high-performance content. Transform multi-page PDFs into a sleek flipbook with real page-flips, add interactive links and embed a video for a fully immersive experience. 

5. Design and draft the year in review

All the pre-production work is complete. You are ready to draft and design the year in review! Brief the copywriter, designer, or even yourself if you are the one drafting the content. Make sure the brief includes all the topics, data, and items you want to cover, along with adding the reference links or supplementary content to be included. Tools and templates for laying out the year in review are available when you log in to your Issuu account, check out the Magazine or Newsletter template if you are planning a letter or multi-page document. You can also check out graphic design tools such as Canva, Piktochart, or Crello to name a few.

6. Publish the year in review

After all the planning, research, drafts, and design rounds, the hard work has paid off and it is time to publish your year in review! You know that you will want to share and distribute the year in review in many formats and through multiple channels. Publish your year in review so it’s ready for launch. If you’ve already decided to use Issuu for distribution — nice! Now you just need to upload your year in review in a PDF, Powerpoint, Word, and other accepted file formats and Issuu will transform your static year in review into a dynamic digital flipbook easily accessible across all device types and screen sizes. Grab the content link and go — prepare to share your year in review everywhere you want to be seen!

Issuu derivative assets example
7. Create assets for email, social media, your website, and more

To maximize the reach of the year in review campaign, you will need unique assets customized to fit each marketing channel. To make the biggest impact with your campaign, you want to avoid using just one format for all channels. One size does not fit all when it comes to email, Facebook, Instagram, your website content management system, etc. Instead, you need assets that are unique for each channel, whether it be a unique format, pixels size, shape, or message. Issuu offers you an easy solution to create these additional assets by breaking your original file into reusable bits that you can edit and repurpose into email banners, social stories, GIFs, and mobile articles.

8. Launch the year in review campaign

It’s finally the campaign launch date! Your year in review is published and ready to distribute along with all the corresponding assets for a variety of channels. On the launch date, you should send a year in review email to your customer database and post it to your social media channels. Issuu also makes it easy to embed your year in review, upgrading your website to align with this year-end campaign. Keep the campaign fresh and unique by using the various derivative assets you created to message different aspects of your year in review. Focus on specific milestones or stats by posting those exclusively to social media with a link to the full review. Use your year in review to reach out to media with milestones that might be newsworthy to generate additional exposure and impressions. The year in review campaign doesn’t have a strict timeline or formula, but get creative in how this well-developed content can be leveraged to create new blog posts, exciting social media content, and even be a launching pad for 2022’s marketing activities. 

Issuu Year in Review Example

To wrap up the challenging year of 2020, our Issuu team developed and published the Issuu Year in Review — as a 14-page multi-page flipbook featuring a combination of formats including a letter from the CEO, infographics, and video. The year in review celebrated the Issuu platform accomplishments including a huge focus on the Issuu community members who used Issuu to create content and benefit from their content marketing efforts during the pandemic. Our 2020 year in review also looked forward to the content marketing trends of 2021 and how Issuu could continue to support the content creators ranging from small business owners, individual artists, to larger enterprises. From the letter, milestones, platform stats, and trends, we used the year in review content for blog posts, social posts, newsletter content, internal presentations, and media outreach too.

Planning starts today

Start planning your year in review now! We’ve listed all the steps, provided you with ideas to get your brainstorm started, and even kick-started the campaign outline. The year in review will allow you to recognize all of your team’s hard work over the past twelve months, share with the public, and get an early start on your marketing activities for the next year too!

The end of the new year is right around the corner and Issuu can help you publish and launch your year in review. Sign up for Issuu today to start planning your year in review campaign!  

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