Association Connect

When an Audit Is a Good Thing

By Ashley Reid | March 29, 2022

Most of us have come to fear one little word: audit. But an audit can actually be a powerful tool that will reap dividends for your association. The idea is simple: You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve come from. For many associations, reviewing your content offerings can seem daunting—you’ve been doing so many things for so long that it can feel like you’re fumbling in the dark. A communication audit takes a deep dive into all your current offerings to shed light on these essential questions: What are we building? Why are we building it? Who are we speaking to? What do they want to hear? Determining these answers is the key to unlocking major ROI for your association.

Follow These Steps

  1. Set a goal. The overarching goal for an audit is to determine how each communication works to deliver on its intended goal, as well as how all communications work together to benefit members. Your audit might include analysis of multiple aspects of various communications, including recommendations for possible adjustments that could be made—visually, editorially, technically—to maximize engagement and ROI.
  2. Choose your focus. Which of your association communications do you intend to review? Your publication? Enewsletters? White papers? Blogs? Social media? Doing everything at once can get overwhelming fast, so pick an area of focus to shape your audit and home in on the communication vehicles you feel need the attention most.
  3. Bring in an expert. It is our strong recommendation that you tap an expert resource to perform the audit. The value of objectivity in conducting this research cannot be overstated. An outside expert will be able to review your content with fresh eyes and will likely offer solutions and observations you may have overlooked.
  4. Gather the data. This is where that expert resource comes in. At this point, they should have all the tools they need to assess key aspects of your communications (e.g., frequency, open and click-through rates, content contributors, target audiences and goals, advertising assessments, and more). If your association opted to run the audit themselves, be sure to keep all findings organized and concise to aid in step 5.
  5. Extrapolate and prepare a findings report. Your findings report should be chock-full of useful information from your audit, including a brief description of the communication vehicle, metrics from previous issues, and recommendations moving forward regarding frequency, editorial, design, advertising, and more.
  6. Follow through. All of this data is meaningless if you don’t put it to good use! Once you’ve thoroughly reviewed the findings from your audit, formulate a plan with your team to act on the recommendations and put the appropriate changes into motion.

Would you like our help with performing your own communications audit? Let’s connect.

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