It’s that time of the year where many companies are planning the next year’s campaigns, launches and activations. These events are not complete without the support of communications – whether through PR or social media. However, before developing the new year's communications plan, one should review the effectiveness of the prior year's strategy by conducting an audit. A communications audit will help you determine the tactics and efforts that were successful, and those that should be revised to support next year's overall marketing plan.
Here are three quick tips on conducting an effective communications audit.
1. Dive into the Data – Walk through media reports with your internal team or consultant. Whether number of placements, impressions, coverage sentiment or social engagement, you’ll want to see the numbers and other data to learn how you stacked up in meeting or even exceeding this year's goals. This will also assist in developing new communications objectives for the coming year.
2. SWOT It Out – Once you analyze the data you can move on to a SWOT. A SWOT is a forever true technique for planning and evaluation. In understanding the hits (strengths) and misses (weaknesses) of 2017's communications from your data, you'll find through research of examples in trends (opportunities) and competitors' campaigns (threats) to consider in order to drive desirable results.
3. Check the Channels – Lastly, review all of your communications channels. Is your media kit up-to-date? Is your online content of quality and engaging? Is messaging accurate on social and reaching your target audience? If not, your channels may need a facelift or new ones may need to be considered so your communication is resonating.
Once you’ve conducted your audit, it will be easier to develop next year's communications strategy. You’ll understand what new objectives should be established, the shifts that need to be made and how you can effectively engage with your audience in 2018.