I know I need to work with you, but I’m not sure how. I don’t quite understand what you do…
Ever heard that from a prospective client? They’re so excited by your energy and presence that they want to work with you, but aren’t sure exactly what you do.
Usually there’s some disconnect with the story. Who you are, what you do, and what makes you unique from the competition or among your industry peers are elemental questions we often have a harder time answering on our own than, say, someone coming in from the outside and objectively observing what makes you special.
But how often do we invite people in from the outside to bring fresh eyes and truly assess how well we are doing what we set out to do?
Enter the Communications Audit, one of our favorite tasks. We work with Audit clients to assess what they do well with communications and identify areas where they can improve their marketing and public relations footprint.
It’s a necessary first step to determine what work will be advantageous and lead to greater brand awareness and an increase in customers.
An Audit reveals opportunities, gaps in expertise, and inefficiencies. Then, you realize what outside skills you need to contract in, versus what you might want to hire on to the permanent team.
Our Audits go something like this…
Step 1: We kick off with a client call or meeting, launching into conversation on their pain points, their struggles, and why they reached out to us in the first place. Key Question: What do you hope to achieve with this partnership?
Step 2: We ask for a list of key players in the organization and their contact information, so we caninterview everyone to learn about their experiences, their roles, and their insights. We might also ask to speak with outside folks – clients, alumni, past partners. Key Question: What words or phrases keep cropping up to describe this organization?
Step 3: We survey the organization from a bird’s-eye view. Google search. Website scan. Social media analysis. Deep dive into marketing materials. Key Question: What is your true footprint in the world? Is that the footprint you want to have?
Step 4: We review all material gathered – and write recommendations. For this, we need total quiet and focus. We prefer printing everything out and reading through it with colorful highlighter markers in hand. Once we come to conclusions, we write recommendations for what works and what is needed, and pour them into a presentation to deliver to the client. Key Question: What activities will strengthen you and get you closer to achieving your goals?
Step 5: Oftentimes, an Audit client will take in the information and feedback, and decide how to engage with us for meaningful growth. While we have some clients who sign on for the kitchen-sink package of Do All Our Marketing, Please, many don’t need such a high level of engagement. Maybe your team can now manage its own Social Media Marketing or Internal Communications. Perhaps we can serve you best through Media Relations, Blogging, or Strategy Creation. Maybe you just need an hour every month of PR Coaching to guide your internal processes and keep you on track. The best part of this step is that you have clear information guiding your decisions. What a place of strength!!
The Communications Audit is a fun and enlightening endeavor for us, because we learn a client from the inside-out and begin our work with them from a place of strength and mutual understanding. In fact, we’re getting to the point that we’d prefer to begin with an Audit as a way of getting to know a client – almost like dating, trying each other on for size, a quick drink before a lengthier dinner. Baby steps.
Think a Communications Audit might be a wise step for you? Let’s explore the conversation.