I’m a linear thinker—systematic and deadline oriented. That’s why I like communications audits. Audits are systematic ways to assess
where you are, what’s working and what needs tinkering. You get a realistic sense of your impact. you know what communications strategies you can discard with your spring cleaning.
As with any project, start by envisioning the end. What do you want to learn through your audit. here are some tips to get you started:
For the greatest impact, go deep with your audit. I like to divide my questions into three categories: strategy, implementation and
organizational support. These sample questions will help you get started:
Ask strategy questions:
- Do you have clear strategic communications goals?
- Do you have specific and measurable objectives?
- Do you have clear messages?
Ask implementation questions:
- Are your communications materials effective?
- Are staff members good spokespeople?
- Do your audiences see you the way you see yourself?
- Are social media and traditional media relations strategies integrated?
Ask organizational support questions
- Does your senior management understand/value communications?
- Is there enough money to do the job well?
- Do all staff members see themselves as communicators?
WHAT RESEARCH TECHNIQUES ARE HELPFUL?
There are several research techniques you can use. The ones you choose will depend on both your goals and your budget. I frequently
recommend one-on-one interviews with key staff, stakeholders and target audiences. You can also conduct online surveys to reach a broader group. And there are plenty of social media tools to listen to what your audiences are saying about you to their peers. I also review organizational print and online materials to evaluate effectiveness.