How do you know if you’re reaching the right audience with the right message? How do you know if you’re spending communication dollars wisely? What if you’re throwing good money after bad? Answers to these questions can be found in an annual checkup of your communications systems—also known as a communication audit.
A good communication audit, ideally conducted by an unbiased third party, will tell you the answers to these questions and provide recommendations for improvements to your current communication programs.
Some of the top answers an audit provides include:
1. Are our communications efforts tracking to our communications plan?
Too often we spend quite a bit of time and effort creating a shiny new communication plan at the beginning of the year. Then new issues pop up, priorities are rearranged, fires need to be put out, and soon your communications efforts are more reactive than proactively advancing your business goals. A communication audit allows you to see if your actions align consistently with your strategic plans.
2. Is our communication strategy working effectively?
Perhaps you have been able to stay true to your plan. But is the plan working? Are you reaching your desired audience? Are you seeing engagement? By taking a broad look at your efforts as a whole, you’ll be able to see if you are truly doing what you set out to do.
3. Are there areas for course correction?
Maybe some communication tactics are working fabulously, but others are dying on the vine. What are the areas of weakness that need to be addressed sooner rather than later?
4. Is everyone internally using the most up to date documents?
As a company grows, new communication pieces are updated. It’s not unusual for old and outdated content to still be in use by some departments. This dilutes your message and can be confusing to your audience. Better to catch it now before it grows any older.
5. And finally… Are we regularly asking ourselves the right questions?
Is our messaging impactful? Does it resonate with our audience? Are there communication opportunities we are missing? Do we have the data to support these answers?
Your communications play a critical role in helping your organization meet business objectives. Annually performing this checkup goes a long way in ensuring you’re on track to meet these objectives.