If you are thinking, “Houston, we have a problem,” or you don’t know, it’s probably time to do a communications audit.

A communications audit is a bit like an annual physical in that you probe inside and outside of your organization to gauge the effectiveness of your communications efforts.

A communications audit usually consists of the following:

  1. An inventory of all your communications programs, activities, and channels and the cost both in terms of financial and human capital.
  2. An analysis of the quality and effectiveness of those efforts through surveys, focus groups, individual interviews with stakeholders to understand how you are connecting and whether folks are even aware of the communications efforts you are undertaking. My firm once did an audit for an association and most of the members had no idea that the organization had a newsletter that accounted for one-third of the annual communications budget.
  3. An assessment of whether there is an alignment between the communications effort and the enterprise’s mission, vision, and business strategy.

Communications audits are often done when there is new leadership at the top. An audit may reveal that the legacy communications efforts no longer fit with a new strategic direction.

A communications audit can help you understand how best to connect with your stakeholders and do it in a way that uses your resources as effectively as possible.