A communications audit sounds pretty intense, and it can be, but regularly doing an audit of your materials can help keep your message and your content consistent. With the new year right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to take a step back to look at everything you’re doing with fresh eyes. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer during this process — what matters to them when they’re seeing your content or deciding to purchase from you?
A communications audit is not a quick process. It takes time to gather your materials, and you also want some time to think about it. It’s important to plan a few blocks of times over about two weeks to work through the process.
These are the basic steps for how to do a communications audit.
Gather all your materials in one place
Go through your files and pull together everything you use to communicate about your organization. That means your website, emails, social media profiles and posts, brochures, business cards, and how you talk about your organization when out networking. Grab your metrics for website, social, and email as well.
It can be helpful to see everything printed out in one place, but you can also pull it together digitally if you prefer. If opting for the digital approach, pull everything together in PowerPoint or a Google document or some place you can easily flip through everything rather than having to jump between browser tabs multiple times.
Evaluate for consistency of style and voice
Upon reviewing all the materials, ask yourself if all the pieces sound like your organization? Does everything look and feel consistent? You’re not looking for everything to be identical, of course, but you do want some consistency from one thing to the next so it all sounds like your brand. If any specific elements are outliers, make a note of that.
Identify opportunities for improvement
When you look at everything, what stands out as great? What areas could use some improvement? Be honest with yourself and be open to doing things differently if need be.
It could be that some pieces were created years ago and simply need an update to bring everything into alignment. Or you may realize that there’s a lot of inconsistency because you haven’t really defined who you are as a brand. Make a note of any opportunities for improvement.
Make a plan to adjust where needed
The power of the communications audit isn’t in doing the audit but in what you do next. What are you going to do to make your communications better? What needs to be updated in terms of messaging or design? Where are you struggling to articulate your value to your prospective customers?
Review your notes from each step of the process, then make a plan for how you’re going to make the necessary improvements to close any gaps. Then, start working the plan and stick with it. Just as a communications audit takes time, it’s going to take an investment of time and probably budget to make the necessary updates.
Every communications strategy we develop for our clients involves a communications audit as part of the process. If you need help with an audit or making a plan, let’s chat.