How many communicators does it take to do an audit?
No—it’s not a joke. Our profession is renowned for it’s lack of mathematical ability but we can count to two. That’s how many it takes to thoroughly review all your content in all your channels to make sure you’re up-to-date and consistent.
Content is king and context is queen so it’s important you get it right. It’s easy to miss updates across your channels and collateral so fresh eyes can help you identify the areas that need attention.
The benefits of auditing your content are many. Here are a few key things to consider.
Critically analyse all your channels (website, social media platforms, podcasts, printed collateral and presentation materials), checking for accuracy, consistency in message and tone, effectiveness and timing.
Review your business plan as well as your communication and media strategies to make sure they are aligned. You should have a clear focus so you’re not wasting time and effort.
Listen to the people
Gather customer research, employee survey results, feedback from comments in social media posts or emails, and reactions to your media activity. You can also talk with your executives to see if your communication efforts are making a positive impact on business and if they are receiving feedback from end users.
Don’t forget about analytical tools that measure your online channels as these will give insights into your customers’ activity online. Do they stay a while on your page, do they make a quick visit, where do they go, and do they like or share your content?
If you don’t have any of this information, think about running surveys and polls to get some insights.
This process will help you understand the communication needs of your target audiences and will highlight what’s working and what’s not.
Why not SWOT?
A Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) exercise is a valuable way of making sure your communication is on point. Laying out your findings in this way makes it easy to see where you need to invest your time and what you should stop doing.
Your investigations and critical analysis of your communication activity will give you a roadmap on what steps you need to take.
Update and reinvigorate
Look at your findings and tackle the problems that will make a difference. This could be ensuring your messaging is accurate and consistent on your website, you haven’t strayed from your original look and feel, and your navigation still makes sense.
Don’t be afraid to delete chunks of content or ditch a printed product. If it isn’t serving a purpose, get rid of it. When you restructure content on your website, always think about your user. Tell them enough to give them an overview and then let them decide if they need to delve deeper into the topic. Huge slabs of text can be overwhelming so be clear and concise and break up your information.
Think about infographics. Reducing written content makes it easier for people to understand complex information.
The same rule applies to the language you use. Is there a simpler way of expressing something? Do you have more information than people need? There are guides available to help you write in plain English from the Digital Transformation Agency and the Plain English Foundation.
We highly recommend updating your communication plans and publishing calendars, so everyone is on the same page. This will help you execute your updates and keep your future activities consistent.
We’re here to help
We’ve given you enough here to conduct your own content audit but if you’re time poor, or the job seems too big, then we can help you out. Our team of communication professionals can do the audit and provide you with a prioritised list of improvements. We can rewrite your text and have in-house production capabilities to develop infographics and videos to tell your story.
So—it might actually take more than two people, but you’ll only have to deal with one or two of us.
Also published on Medium.