Daan Reijnders

It’s That Time Again: Lists, Previews and Retrospectives

by Daan Reijnders

You could almost set your watch by it. In late December, your social timeline suddenly begins to fill up again with lists of trends, previews of the year ahead and a look back at the year that is almost at an end. How can you ensure that it will be more than just a bland summary? And that your reader will actually read it?


A good time for communication

Traditionally, the end of the year is a good time for communication. People are more open to each other, and friendships and family bonds are reinforced under the Christmas tree. It is a period when we let off steam, look at what we’ve achieved in the previous year and what we intend to focus on in the year ahead. It’s a good idea to combine this sentiment with a message that looks at the organization’s successes and shares a vision for the year ahead.

How the world’s major players present their lists

Of course, major companies also like to be on-trend and often present their lists online. Facebook, for example, uses its own platform to share its ‘Year in review’ with users, summarizing the year in a series of key events and statistics. Mailchimp does a similar thing with more pictures and links to further information. The New York Times takes a totally different approach: its writers look back on an eventful year in personal blogs.

A good story to tell

No one is interested in a bland summary of visions and missions that reads like company policy. A year in review is actually a perfect way of leaving a good impression on your colleagues or customers and creating increased engagement before the new year starts. This is why your content needs to appeal to the reader and not be simply trotted out. Make sure you have a good story to tell, with some great photographs and natural videos. Which formats can most effectively be used in a web publication?

  • Foreword: in internal communications, it is still a great idea to open with a word from someone in authority within the company, such as a director.
  • Timeline: to present a clear and easy-to-read overview of the highlights of the last year.
  • In-depth interviews or lengthier articles: to explain the highlights in more detail or present plans for the next year.
  • Infographics: to summarize your year in facts and figures.
  • By including an opportunity for feedback, you can also ask your customers or staff for input for the next year.


If there is ever a time to personalize your message, the year in review is it. Address the reader directly by including his or her name on the cover, as in our magazine. Or you can use data: for example, for external communications, you can include a back page detailing services or products purchased in the last year. For this, you will need data for each customer. If that’s not possible, perhaps it’s something to think about for next year. In that case, you will need to start looking ahead to come up with a good idea for the end of next year. An excellent example of this is James Cordon’s video 'All I Want for Christmas' Carpool Karaoke’. During the last year, he had various performers sing the song, creating a great compilation by the end of the year. And it worked: the video went viral.

A good platform

Good content needs to be presented well. When you’re sure of what you want to say, you can look for the right platform on which to present it. Our editor makes it easy to include text, images and video in an attractive format. Choose a striking opening page with a full-screen photo or video, a good heading and a brief introduction to lead into your year-end report. Place the retrospective and preview alongside each other and give readers an opportunity to explore further by including articles and infographics featuring your facts and figures.

To conclude, feature a closing page with an exciting message for the new year, personal wishes or a call to action. Make it interactive by adding social share buttons, ensuring it is easy to share your report via social media, e-mail and WhatsApp.

Why write a year in review?

A year in review enables you to claim authority in specific areas. It’s the perfect time to show what you have been working on and to emphasize your vision once again. A year in review also enables you to involve staff and customers in new developments. By creating a sense of community, you can make them part of the story.

Would you like to create your own online year in review? Start a free trial and discover the endless possibilities our tool has to offer! 

Do you have any other ideas? Or would you like to find out what Foleon could do for you? Let me know by sending an email to daan.reijnders@foleon.com or call me on +31(0)20 303 2822.

Daan Reijnders
Daan Reijnders is the co-founder and CEO of Foleon, a content management platform that amassed 1000+ clients all over the world in under 3 years. He's a digital marketing veteran with years of experience in managing both SaaS companies and creative agencies.

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