Margaret McGann

Communications Audit: why and how to do it

In communications and marketing, communications audit, communications plan, evaluation, interviews, media relations, planning, public relations, social media on July 5, 2010 at 6:14 am

Are your communications strategies effective and efficient? Do your desired audiences understand what you are doing, what you want them to do and why? If not, you should look at doing a strategic communications audit.

A communications audit is basically a snapshot in time of your organization’s communications programs, practices and activities. It’ll tell you what’s working, what isn’t, what could work better and what needs to be changed.

Here are twelve tips on how to conduct an audit:

  1. Put together an impartial audit team
  2. Identify your main concerns
  3. Create a plan for conducting your audit
  4. Gather recent communications and marketing materials for assessment
  5. Analyze and assess the materials for overall effectiveness, consistency, clarity, accuracy and call to action
  6. Review, analyze, and evaluate media coverage and social media presence
  7. Develop a questionnaire for interviews
  8. Conduct one-on-one 30 minute interviews with senior management, board members and key partners
  9. Hold 60 to 90 minute focus groups of 10 to 15 internal and external stakeholders
  10. Create a survey for all stakeholders (that can be completed in 5 to 10 minutes) to assess perceptions, strengths and weaknesses. It’s best to make the questions a combination of multiple choice, rating on a scale of 1 to 5 and written responses
  11. Have the audit team analyze assessment results and create a report with proposed changes
  12. Incorporate ongoing measurement tools into communications plans to track effectiveness of audit recommendations

A tool I find useful for doing communications audits is a simple table identifying which key audiences received what materials, when, how and the response (i.e., coverage in the case of media).  This matrix helps you see your communications department’s strengths, weaknesses and gaps at a glance.

Communications audits can be seen as continuous improvement in your quest to achieve your organization’s goals.

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  1. Son of a gun! Every person understands which these are the hot tips in the matter of.

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