A channel audit is just the first step on the way to a streamlined, totally effective suite of communications channels.
Once you’ve established what channels are useful and which aren’t, you need to retire the ones that are no longer serving a purpose or have been superseded by newer, better channels.
There is a lot of risk here because it is easy to upset or annoy colleagues who may rely on the channels you are removing plus you may inadvertently remove a channel that is serving a specific purpose that is not covered by the others.
So here’s a seven-point plan to get you started:
1. Was your audit good enough?
Before you refine your channels, take another look at your audit. Are you confident that the methods used were robust? Was your measurement accurate? Did you speak to the right stakeholders? It helps to have an honest sense check before you take anything away.
2. Don’t just delete channels!
Once you are happy with your audit, it is really tempting just to start getting rid of the channels that don’t work. This is the worst thing you can do. If an email newsletter suddenly stops arriving or a magazine ceases publication, all this will do is alienate your audience and cause confusion.
3. Work out what is going where
Look at the content for the channels you are going to retire and work out where that content will now live (should it still be needed). This will ensure you don’t lose anything important in the process.
4. Create a timetable for removing channels
Don’t take on too much by trying to deal with all the channels simultaneously. Create a timetable and make sure all interested parties and stakeholders have bought into the process and plan.
5. Communicate what is happening and why
Once you’ve done all of the above, tell your audience about it. There will always be people who use channels you are about to get rid of (even if it’s only a couple of them!) so make sure you communicate what you are going to do and let people know where they can find the content in future.
6. It’s not a science, so be prepared to make changes
You might retire a channel, then realise you still need it. This is ok. The perfect channel mix takes time and trial and error to get right, so don’t be frustrated if you don’t get it right straight away. Just remember to keep your audience updated on what is happening.
7. Now you are in a good place, measure to stay there
Once your channel mix is looking better, keep it that way by making sure you measure the success of each one and do regular temperature checks. If you don’t stay on top of this, you will end up needing to do a big audit again in a couple of years time.
It goes without saying that the team at Headlines can help with any/all of the activities discussed in this blog. So, if you don’t have the in-house expertise, resources or time to do it yourself, just give us a call.