Why You Shouldn’t Fear a Communications Audit–Don’t Underestimate “The Force”
Let’s take a look at that word, according to Feedback: “an official inspection of an individual’s or organization’s accounts, typically by an independent body.”
Yes, we’re used to thinking of an audit as something terrifying that can happen to our financial records after a tax filing, or inspection of the books from an accountant.
However, in the communications world, an audit is merely a gathering of information; an inspection; a collection if you will.
Business owners when they hear the word “audit” \\ Image from Gifer
Imagine that you were a collector of Star Wars memorabilia. You’d been collecting for 20-odd years, and all of your goodies were stashed around the house–some out in the open, some in drawers, some that you’d long forgotten about in dark closets. Searching on eBay for a new prize addition to your pack could be a tricky endeavor if you didn’t want to waste money, or worse yet forget all about the ONE Darth Vador helmet cereal bowl you NEEDED in your life but forgot to search for because you were distracted by an army of clone troopers. (I might be speaking directly about my husband here.)
The point is, to properly evaluate our business we must take stock of our inventory! And the best person to do that might be your wife…err…your communications consult. 😉 Because we truly need fresh eyes on our materials from time to time, and that feedback is so valuable!
Let’s look at a few more reasons why communications audits are a necessary positive!
- Audits may uncover weakness, but they also uncover strength
Spreading everything out on the table will probably highlight immediately what isn’t cohesive, and what’s not working, but it will also call attention to what IS. What worked for your business in 2018? Let’s not waste our time–let’s do more of that, and look better while doing it.
- Audits ensure that your messaging and branding is consistent
Whoops–we’ve got an old tagline over here and a broken link here. And maybe an old logo or two. For customers or clients that have been with you 10 years, maybe this isn’t so important. But for that new stream of clients you want and need, getting to know you and your brand is important, and consistency is key.
- Audits are the first step to other big plans!
From your budget to your updated business plan, gathering up all of your materials and having a look-see is a practical and imperative first step. Just by looking at what you’re putting out in to the world, you’ll notice what you’re spending more money on (and what you might not be budgeting enough for.)
- Audits are merely healthy housekeeping.
You seriously may have forgotten about those old product photos on your Facebook page, but with one swipe in the wrong direction, a customer or stakeholder can start looking through your media backward instead of chronologically. Yikes. Cleaning out the cobwebs is good stuff!
My bachelor’s degree in communications has prepared me well to perform audits for organizations, but it’s not rocket science, nor does it have to be a tortuous, overly-complicated process. And you can start today on your own by choosing one platform or area of your business to “comb over” each week–just take it day by day. If you’re ready to save your time for other tasks and hit the gas on polishing things up, I can perform a high-level and arbitrary yet informed audit for your business in just a few short hours.
That whole unbiased thing tends to be really important because we all know that folks grow very attached to their talking Yoda handsoap pumps! (OK, that last one really was for my husband.)