A communications audit is one of the most important things that you can do for your company. Every company needs to improve in some areas, and ensuring that your Communications are as effective as they can be is vital to your success in business. But how do you conduct a communications audit? We will explore the term thoroughly in this article and help you understand it better.
Definition of a Communication Audit
The communication audit is a process that companies go through in order to determine how good their communications are. Communication involves how a company or organization sends and receives information; or shares it with varying audiences.
For each type of communications that a company does, or the type of audience that they are targeting with that communications, an audit needs to be completed. You'll be able to find out where you are strongest and where you are weakest when it comes to communications (both external and internal).
Goals of a Communication Audit
You'll have a number of goals with this audit. You want to identify who your key audiences are and how effective you've been about communicating with them. How much do they know about your products or services and your business in general? What mistakes did you make in the past when it comes to communications? What opportunities did you miss? Most of all, how can you ensure better communication in the future.
Process of a Communication Audit
Conducting a communications audit will require several steps, each of them taken individually to ensure that your audit is successful. Your first step is to identify what exactly you are auditing. Make a list of everything, including corporate identity elements, logos, signs, promotional materials, brochures, your website, your media coverage and your most successful PR tactics.
Next, you have to decide what kind of message you are going to use to gather this information and conduct the audit. This may include surveys, focus groups or interviews. Your next step will be to actually gather the information. Decide what questions you need answered and use them to gather information from these customers. Besides individual customers, you may also want to determine how much your local community knows about you as a whole. You may want to choose a third party to conduct research with your customers and community.
Your next step is to talk to your staff and get feedback from them as to what they feel your strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to communications. Obviously, your key people are going to be your top priority, but you might be surprised at how much feedback valuable feedback you can get from someone further down on the company ladder. Your main goal here is to ensure that everyone is working from the same playbook. Your company should be a single voice with a consistent message.
Next, you want to look at your media coverage. You may already have all of your press clippings saved somewhere. If not, then your first step with this task is going to be searching out all of the different publications that you have been in and create that folder of press clippings in the first place. If you have not been keeping up with your press coverage, you definitely want to start. A good method to use is Google news alerts which will let you know if your company is mentioned in the news. You may have to look at print publications manually.
Next, you want to do your analysis based on all of the information that you have gathered. You want to make a list of your strengths when it comes to communications and all of the areas where you could use some work. Include any future opportunities that you have for better communications.
Finally, you want to present your communications plan with key people within your company. It does no good to do a communications audit and then keep the results to yourself. Present your new communications plan to those in your organization with the power to act on the plan, and continually improve your company communications.