Community Journal

2015 Volume VIII, Edition I

Discussin PostalInterlink photo/Bill Garber

Postmaster General Megan Brennan is presented an NNA glass paperweight as a token of appreciation by Interlink President Brad Hill, who introduced her, on behalf of the National Newspaper Association following her presentation at the NNA We Believe conference.

Postmaster General says USPS
committed to improved tracking

Megan Brennan, who became the U.S. Postal Service's first female postmaster general this year, told publishers attending NNA's We Believe conference March 19 in Washington, D.C., that the key to delivery consistency is 'visibility.'

She said the Postal Service is committed to improve its tracking ability to make sure newspapers in the system 'have no place to run and no place to hide' while in the postal network.

Interlink President Brad Hill, an NNA representative on the Mailers' Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC), introduced Brennan at the opening session.

Interlink founder Bill Garber, who also was attending the conference, said that Brennan told attendees that she has asked Hill to work with her team to help recommend changes to  the Postal  system and to presort systems to make it possible to track bundles and by inference individual newspapers in real time as they move through the system.

Those who were part of that meeting after the opening session were: Hill; Steve Dearing, manager, Mailing Systems; Robert Cintron, VP, Enterprise Analytics; Keith Rathbun, publisher, The Budget (Ohio); past NNA President Merle Baranczyk of Arkansas Valley Publishing (CO); NNA postal expert Max Heath;  NNA CEO Tonda Rush; and past NNA President Reed Anfinson of Swift County Monitor-News (MN). The meeting was organized by Rush.

Full Service Intelligent Mail already lets the Postal Service track newspapers in properly barcoded containers, Garber noted.  This already keeps newspaper containers so marked from being put on the wrong truck by accident in a hurry to clear the plant at the end of a shift if there was a bit too much mail to process, he said.

Industry represents dismissed after the opening session to visit with congressional representatives on the Hill to discuss postal and other newspaper industry-related topics.

Full-Service another tool
to help retain subscribers

By Brad Hill

Every day, somewhere at Interlink, you can be sure there was a conversation that considered, if not focused on, how to take great care of subscribers. Our billing model presents a simple yet profound truth: Each and every subscriber lost to our clients represents revenue lost to us. That's just one of many reasons why subscriber care is important, but on any given day it's enough.

This appreciation for subscriber care has led to a number of improvements in Interlink Circulation, such as Smart Sampling to draw in new subscribers, Print to Mail to help retain them, and options for website integration to make their lives and yours easier. And, they work for papers who chose to take advantage of them.

Lately, the hot topic in subscriber care has been mail delivery, specifically poor delivery times, and especially for papers being sent out of town. The stakes are high, and I have heard publishers comment that late and inconsistent delivery are now the most common reasons given by subscribers who choose not to renew.

Distant delivery has taken a hit over the last few years as USPS downsized its network, consolidating 141 mail processing facilities so far, with another 82 scheduled for 2015 to complete its plan. Other changes such as operational window changes and employee reallocations also have negatively affected delivery of many newspapers.

Publishers are not at a total loss of control when it comes to improving distant delivery, however, and in the spirit of great customer care, it's more important than ever to ensure newspapers are mailed with every possible advantage. One option that is beginning to prove itself is the use of Full-Service Intelligent Mail.

Full-Service requires printing postal barcodes on every addressed newspaper, using software-generated, barcoded sack/tray tags, and submitting postage documentation electronically. Each Full-Service barcode contains unique identifiers for a mailing and is tied to the electronic documentation that is sent to USPS.

Mail Tray

Besides discounts granted for barcoding, which are substantial by the way, and the convenience of sending postage statements electronically, containers of newspapers mailed under Full-Service become trackable. Through USPS' Business Customer Gateway ( publishers are able to watch as their papers move from one postal facility to the next as long as they remain in their original sack or tray, and provided those are being scanned at each facility. This information equips both the Postal Service and a mailer with information that can be helpful in identifying the cause of delays. Calls about missed issues can also be responded to by identifying and contacting the last known location of the sack or tray they were in.

Another, potentially greater impact of Full-Service has little to do with technology and everything to do with human nature. Postal employees understand that Full-Service mail is being measured, and Full-Service containers are easily identified at a glance. Given the choice, it makes sense that people handling our mail would prioritize anything Full-Service before jeopardizing performance scores. This idea is supported by publishers who have reported delivery improvements after going Full-Service, and even by some USPS employees I have asked, if reluctantly.

Mailing as Full-Service is one thing publishers can and should be doing in their pursuit of great subscriber care, and it's included in Interlink Circulation at no additional cost.
I tip my hat to the hundreds of newspapers that have already made the switch to Full-Service. To the many other papers that are submitting basic eDoc: You are 90% configured for Full-Service already; let us help you go all the way. And, to the rest: We're ready when you are!

(For readers seeking more ideas on improving distant delivery of subscribers’ papers, see Max Heath’s column on “Getting the delivery you deserve in shrinking postal network” in the March issue of Publishers’ Auxiliary.)

Larina and Lesa Interlink photo/Helen Sosniecki

Visiting with Texas customers

Interlink Client Solutions representative Larina Hollivay, left, works with customer Lesa Major, the office administrator at the Community News in Aledo, TX, during the annual Texas Press Mid-Winter Conference in January in Galveston. Click here for more photos from the conference.                                                 

Interlink’s new Knowledge Base provides
access to informational and how-to articles

By Angela Kurtz
Associate Marketing Manager

We are excited to announce the addition to our website of Knowledge Base, our online resource center found under the Support & Learning menu option.

This resource center is a result of Interlink’s on-going effort to provide publishers, circulation managers and office staff the tools and information needed to ensure managing your circulation responsibilities are as effortless as possible.

To that end, you’ll find articles on managing your reporting needs, plus how-to articles designed to give you specific instructions on features in the Circulation program. Additionally, you’ll discover articles to assist with troubleshooting and also information on subscriber and delivery management options.

While we’re sure you’ll find the Knowledge Base a convenient source of valuable information, we continue as always to offer one-on-one assistance by phone with our client solutions team.

Maurers at MPAInterlink photo/Brad Hill

Meeting customers at MPA convention

Laura Streelman, executive assistant at Interlink, center, visits with Mary and Wes Maurer of St. Ignace News, MI, during the Michigan Press Association Convention. The convention was held last month in Grand Rapids. Streelman and President Brad Hill represented Interlink at the convention.

Special promotion for online-only supply orders

With the launch of Interlink’s online store in October, many of you have discovered the ease of ordering your mailing supplies online, knowing the products are designed to work specifically with Interlink Circulation software.

Periodically, we offer special promotions for online-only supply orders. Please see our ad for our upcoming sale of thermal labels and also check out the classified section for additional savings on renewal post cards when ordered on our website.  

While anyone may order from the store using a credit card, Interlink customers also have the option to select the ‘send invoice’ option for deferred billing.

On the Personal Side…

Jessica, Helen, and Angela

Saying goodbye
to Helen Sosniecki


Right photo, Interlink staff members gathered earlier this month to say goodbye to Helen Sosniecki, (top right) Interlink Senior Sales and Marketing Manager for the past seven years. Sosniecki announced plans earlier this year to leave at the end of March. Her immediate plans include presenting postal sessions at the Kansas Press Association Convention next month and working on the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors' Conference that she and husband, Gary, are coordinating in June at their alma mater, the University of Missouri School of Journalism. In the photo above, Sosniecki, center, is shown with Associate Sales Manager Jessica Hughey, left, and Associate Marketing Manager Angela Kurtz.

Grilled cheese coming up!

Chef Brad Grillin’ CheeseInterlink photo/Laura Streelman

Interlink President Brad Hill cooks up grilled cheese sandwiches during a staff meeting at the Interlink office in January.

Hot Savings on Thermal Supplies