Communications Audit: How To Perform a Comms Audit?

Nurturing trust between an organization and its stakeholders is a key recipe to success. To build trust, an organization needs effective and consistent communication strategies.

Key things to pay attention to when assessing whether a firm’s communication style is effective may include: Is the company reaching the right audience? Is the firm’s message consistent? Does the firm address employee concerns?

Conducting a communication audit is important for assessing whether a communication plan is effective.

What Is a Communication Audit?

A communication audit — -also known as a comms audit — — is the process of assessing the effectiveness of a firm’s communication tools. With a comms audit, a firm will come to understand the strengths and weaknesses of its communication plan. A firm will also get recommendations on how to improve its plan. So, with a communication audit, entities, a firm builds trust and commitment among key stakeholders.

How Do Organizations Perform a Successful Comms Audit?

Diving deep into a firm’s communication strategy may seem like a daunting task. But it’s an easy process when broken down into key aspects that comprise the given communication plan. That said, an organization can follow the six steps highlighted below to conduct a communications audit.

#1Assess The Scope Of Existing Internal and External Communications’

Brands have numerous touchpoints, and consistent messaging is key in ensuring that a communication process is effective. Assessing the scope of existing communication channels helps a firm identify different places where it communicates with its target audience. Be it an email footer, email subject line, a banner, a YouTube channel’s description, or a logo, communication channels such as these play a key role in the effectiveness and consistency of an organization’s communication plan.

Evaluating each touchpoint helps determine the consistency of a brand’s messaging footprint and how it influences perceptions towards the organization.

#2. Evaluate Past and Present Communication Strategies

While it may take a bit of time, going through the different communication strategies adopted by an organization (past and present) helps identify key audiences, suitable platforms, and issues to be addressed.

Organizations with data spanning longer periods can identify trends in the growth trajectory. Knowing the evolution of a firm’s communication process helps determine whether previous strategies worked effectively.

Upon understanding the evolution in a firm’s communication, appropriate action can be taken to steer the entity towards its communication goals.

#3. Collect Insights from Key Stakeholders

Collecting feedback from stakeholders is invaluable for improving an organization’s communication plan. Getting input from key stakeholders — employees, general audiences, customers, etc. — can generate great ideas. As well, listening to stakeholders’ views encourages loyalty.

#4. SWOT Analysis

Analyzing existing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to an entity’s messaging helps establish whether a communication strategy pushes a business towards its objectives. With a SWOT analysis firms can identify: 1)assets that a business can build on, 2)opportunities to exploit, 3)vulnerabilities to be addressed, and 4)dangers that should be avoided.

A successful SWOT analysis provides clarity on an organization’s comms strategy. Key factors clarified by the analysis can include what works for an organization, what should be changed, what opportunities can be exploited, and the potential pitfalls of not fixing problems in a given communication plan.

#5. Create a New Communication Plan

Once an organization has a clear understanding of its audiences, messages, and channels, it’s time to create a new action plan. Communication teams can create a mockup plan that’s shared with stakeholders to collect additional insights. Thereafter, an actual plan should be created to guide the organization towards its goals.

#6. Implement the New Strategy

Noting that not everything on a communication plan can be completed overnight, dividing the action plan into short, medium, and long-term steps is important. And once the plan is implemented, communication teams should monitor key communication activities to determine whether they are pushing the organization towards its objectives.

Worth noting is that regular audits — say twice a year — can be sufficient towards achieving a set of communication objectives.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5W Public Relations. 5W PR is a leading digital pr and influencer marketing agency.

Ronn Torossian is CEO & Founder of 5WPR & one of America’s most notable PR executives. He is the Author of best-selling PR book, “For Immediate Release.“