Whether you’re new to your role or have managed university communications for a number of years, it’s always a smart move to take a step back and take stock of all external communications from your institution. It’s an opportunity to reflect, improve and uncover new opportunities to tell the university’s brand story.
We call this process a “Communications Audit” at Hodges, and here are some of the areas we look at:
- Are all communicators … communicating? Depending on the size of an institution, we find that a lot of universities have separate communicators for each school. What’s the process to make sure everyone is aligned with university goals? We’ve found that setting up monthly “lunch and learns” for everyone to meet and share what they’ve been focusing on is a great tactic for keeping up with all the work happening at the university.
- Is your crisis plan up to date? Is your crisis communications plan sitting in a drawer gathering dust? That’s OK, but it’s time to brush it off and update. Is there new staff that should be added? Has the plan evolved with your university’s social media channels? Have all identified spokespersons been media-trained? Take the time to go over your crisis plan with your team so it’s thorough and up to date.
- How often are you proactively engaging faculty? And now, the fun part. Are you regularly checking-in with faculty to learn about new hires and research? Set aside one month to schedule coffees and walk-and-talks with professors to learn about what they’re working on. Some of the quickest conversations can lead to new opportunities to get your experts in the press.
If you’ve completed an audit recently, please share some of the takeaways you learned. Or, if you’re planning an audit, what are you planning to examine?