#AskJon: What’s involved in a communications audit and how do I know if I need one? [VIDEO]

So, one of the things that we know from doing this for 15 years now, is that clients come to us and think they know what they want, but they really don’t. They really don’t know what we do every day either. So, that first meeting is really an educational process. And by the end of the meeting, what we like to get them to is a first step. And usually, that first step is communications audit.

In that process, we do a number of internal and external interviews. We also do a competitive analysis. We also do some third-party research. And, by the end of the day, which is usually two months later, we come back to them with who their audiences are, what their opportunities are from a messaging and branding standpoint, and, most importantly, especially when we have our content hats on, who we’re going to go after and what content is going to be important to them.

So, it’s really a good process to sort of take a gut check — if you’re a new organization, you’re starting out, it makes perfect sense. But, even if you’re mature organization and you’ve been doing it for a while, doing an audit every year or two really helps you fine-tune your messaging, your audiences, and, ultimately, that combination of earned, owned and paid that we are talking about, to make sure that whatever you’re selling, whether it’s a service or a product, you’re really knowing what you’re saying, who you’re saying to and the times and places to say it to them.

Jon Newman

In 2002 Jon cofounded The Hodges Partnership and has helped to grow it into one of the country’s largest public relations firms (based on O’Dwyer’s annual rankings). Jon has taught communications as an adjunct professor at VCU, speaks regularly at conferences and meetings and blogs and tweets about public relations and marketing issues.

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