Communications House Cleaning with a Twist

Communications Audit with a Twist

As you squeeze out the last days of your summer before the academic year begins, consider doing a bit of house cleaning to set you up for a strong start and a smooth transition into the new year.

Sometime in the summer or in the fall semester, consider conducting a review of your campus communications. I recommend a twist on the traditional higher ed communications audit, which includes a careful sweep of internal institutional communications and messages.

When conducting a Communications Audit, often institutions (and consultants) look only at external communications—enrollment, fundraising, alumni relations, social media—and exclude internal communications. Messages coming out of high-profile offices such as the president’s office, which are written for internal audiences (students, faculty, staff, trustees), often become public. They are important tools for an institution to use to strengthen key messages developed for external audiences; a way to reinforce your brand internally, and to build a shared knowledge of goals and initiatives, issues and direction.

An Internal Communications Audit can be completed fairly quickly, using a formula to gather sets of specific communications and assess them against your key audiences, strategic plan, and messaging platform.

It’s at this point in the process where institutions find gaps—the holes in their messaging, in their distribution lists, in their intended messages—and identify ways in which to fill them.

How often has your president sent a message to faculty and staff about an issue on campus, and forgotten to share it with the Board? Has your Admissions Office developed new recruitment language and visuals and neglected to share it with the faculty, who are often your best recruiters?

An Internal Communications Audit can help you identify and fill gaps in your communications as well as strengthen your external communications. Consider an internal review before you discover your internal communications are out of sync with your external communications.