Last month, we completed our initial audit with the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM) which is the pre-eminent newspaper circulation auditing firm. The task took our small team several months to complete as we could only devote one day per week between issues. Lisa MacNeil created a database for our circulation records, which she is still polishing. Our store delivery staff had to keep exact records of the numbers of newspapers dropped off and picked up at each location.
Going forward, the data gathering should be faster since the infrastructure is now in place. Each quarter we are required to submit a circulation ledger to AAM and we will only be audited once every two years.
The audit focused on our print circulation. We had to provide a breakdown of our distribution according to zip code for one issue, a 3-month circulation ledger, a paid subscriber mailing list, random subscriber records, billing details, Newspaper in Education verifications among other items.
The tedious task will hopefully pay off in the advertising arena. We are now in the AAM database. National marketing agency AAM members can access the database in order to plan their clients’ advertising campaigns. We can provide our audited circulation numbers to local advertisers as well, so they can be confident in the service we are providing. This challenging step will hopefully give us a stronger foothold in the newspaper industry.