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Benchmarking and external audits: the importance of analysis

Communication is a constant need that demands daily action. Companies, institutions, associations, corporations, artists or any other subject that operates in the public arena face the challenging task of being active in their communication channels, regardless of their audience (customers, investors, workers, colleagues, fans) and the type of information they need to make available to them. However, it is a mistake to think that the communication process is reduced to the exact moment when content is produced and published. The time you take to analyse yourself and your environment, before and after the dissemination of messages, will determine the ease and quality with which communication will take place. 

We share with you two essential analysis techniques: benchmarking and audits.

Benchmarking works as a tool for external analysis of the environment in which your brand operates or your activity is developed. This analysis basically allows two things: to establish points of comparison with others and to obtain references

This means that benchmarking will take into consideration both the good and bad practices of the competition, in order to contrast them with your own characteristics and thus be able to find strengths to maintain and weaknesses to improve.

As for the search for references, we start from the fact that today it is very difficult to invent something from scratch, and that is not a bad concept. Taking inspiration from what others do is not synonymous with copying. Inspiration comes from the search for stimuli, from combining two good ideas and coming up with a better one. This is something that not only applies to communication, but also to the creation of works of art, music, books, films, products and services. 

Some practical tips for good benchmarking are:

– Have a good knowledge of the competition.

– Collect the whole process in a document and share it with the team.

– Gather the points to be benchmarked with visual examples.

– Make unbiased assessments and conclusions.

– Also look for references from other sectors not related to your own activity.

– Regularly update the content.

An audit, on the other hand, is a methodology used to evaluate whether the communication is having the desired  effect or not. In this article we will focus only on external audits of communication channels

You have probably heard a thousand times that you cannot expect different results if you always do the same  things, but the lesson of the phrase is not that you have to change for the sake of changing. The more calculation  and thought that goes into communication, the better the results will be. This is why conducting an audit is  indispensable before thinking about the next communication actions planning

In today’s digital ecosystem, communication platforms offer their own statistical analysis of the performance of the content that is published. In addition, many of these networks are able to segment audiences precisely by age, location and gender, which will serve to focus the message on the target audience.

It is also essential to understand that there is life beyond ‘likes’, comments and number of followers. There are many performance metrics that will serve to draw conclusions regarding content. Indicators such as impressions, reach, viewing time, clicks on external links, profile visits and engagement will allow you to measure the impact of each piece that is shared.

Beyond what is automatically quantified by platforms, a more in-depth and personalised analysis can be carried out, which requires greater detail and work, going deeper into the characteristics of the content:

– Audiovisual resources that complement the text (images, videos, infographics, illustrations, charts, audio files).

Formats used to present the information (news, articles, statements, interactive content, live broadcasts, stories, interviews).

Focus or nature of the content (promotional, technical-divulgative or human approach).

Subject matter of the communication (depends exclusively on the specific actor communicating).

Classifying the content under these categories will provide a more accurate picture of the performance of each piece according to the objectives pursued.

In addition to the performance of publications, an audit is incomplete if it does not analyse other issues such as adherence to the editorial line and the style manual of the profiles, in order to project an image that is perceived as uniform, consistent and serious among all the entity’s communication channels.

Carrying out proper benchmarking and audits of communication channels will serve as a basis for the development of a targeted communication strategy. Designing a comprehensive and effective initial structure of both analysis tools will also simplify the data collection process, which will make it more efficient to implement them in the future, encouraging the habit of research.  

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