Your ultimate guide to this important business tool
As your business grows, your external and internal audiences increase. You need to know how to adjust your communications plan to satisfy both your external and internal public communications needs. To do this, you must perform a communications audit in order to assess your communications practices. This determines which of your communications tools are working well and points out the areas in which your organization can still strengthen its communications performance.
Even if you’ve never done one before, never fear: You can complete your communications audit in five easy steps.
Analyze the communications vehicles distributed to your audiences.
Assemble samples of all communications vehicles (newsletters, press releases, your website, blog, social media strategy, etc.) that you distribute to your target audiences. Evaluate them for effectiveness, accessibility and timing. Review your social media strategy. Determine the usefulness of various communications topics and vehicles. Analyze whether your audiences received the key messages and what communication they’re lacking.
Get feedback from all internal audiences.
This step includes interviewing top management and collecting feedback from employees and staff. One-on-one interviews with executives should reveal:
Their vision of ideal communications strategies
A view of the purpose of internal communications
Opinions on staff roles in the internal communications process
You can get feedback from employees through surveys, interviews and focus groups. This effort will help you determine whether all communications methods were understood by – and if they satisfied – all internal audiences.
Collect data about how external audiences perceive your organization.
Review and evaluate traditional media coverage and how your organization is perceived on social media in order to determine what your community knows and thinks about you.
Do a SWOT analysis.
Pull all collected data into a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of your communications efforts. Organize your findings into a table.
SWOT will help you determine:
Communications methods that work well for your organization
Communications practices that do not work and need to be changed in order to achieve your goals
Opportunities you can leverage to improve your communications efforts with target audiences
What is threatening your organization’s successful communication with its stakeholders
Make changes to your current communications plan based on all data collected and analyzed.
Once you’ve analyzed your findings, focus on strengths, consider opportunities, minimize weaknesses and eliminate threats. You should complete a communications audit every couple of years in order for your communications plan to be up to date and satisfy your external and internal audiences’ communications needs.
For more tips and information to help you grow your business and push your name to the forefront of your field, register for Axia Public Relations’ free 60-Second Impact. For more help carrying out your organization’s communications audit, contact Axia today.
Yulia Dianova is a public relations professional who is skilled in building relationships with target audiences. She provides counsel to organizations that seek PR help to further growth and reach goals. Yulia earned a master’s degree in public relations management from University of Maryland University College. She is fluent in Russian and is always looking for a new challenge.
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