US Stamps

Change can be difficult; embrace it anyway

Apr 28, 2014, 2 AM

I’ve heard it said many times that the only constant is change. A cliche, perhaps, but true.

During my 15 years of working for Amos Press, we progressed from wax paste-down production pages to fully digitized pages that are assembled, proofread and sent to the printer without a single piece of paper exchanging hands.

Perhaps the biggest change we are seeing right now is the transition from being primarily a print media company to a provider of content across the digital spectrum.

This change has presented many challenges, and I would be less than honest if I said that it hasn’t been difficult at times.

Among the more significant developments has been the construction of a new content management system (CMS) that allows our in-house editors and (eventually) outside contributors to produce content that is then immediately posted to a website.

Our Coin World colleagues have been undergoing this significant transition for the past several months.

Initially, they experienced growing pains, as they adjusted to the new workflow and learned how to operate the CMS.

Coin World editor Steve Roach tells me that the system is easy to use, and it makes posting new content an event that often takes minutes, instead of hours or even days.

The build and rollout of the CMS for Linn’s Stamp News will take place later this year, once the Coin World CMS and associated website is complete and the various bugs and kinks have been worked out.

In the meantime, we at Linn’s are working with our dedicated information systems folks to enhance the flexibility of the current website.

A new website interface allows us to assemble stories for posting to our suite of weekly eNewsletters.

The interface also facilitates much more rapid posting of content to our website.

Our content also may be consumed on the Linn’s Stamp News & Scott Catalogue page on Facebook. We also will have a presence on Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites later this year.

At present, we are posting content on an almost daily basis. When we have the CMS, news will be posted throughout the day.

This constant influx of news, delivered via short pieces we call content packets, will entice more readers to visit the website often. The content will be delivered in short bursts of 150-250 words that will provide the who, what, where, when and why.

Already we are seeing the effects of the changes we have implemented ahead of the CMS rollout.

For example, compared to 2013, the number of unique visitors to the site and total page views are up almost 50 percent.

We will continue to work hard to drive up these numbers even more.

All of these changes are necessary for Linn’s and Amos Press to survive and thrive in the digital age.

It strikes me, as well, that the hobby at large is doing more to embrace the digital age. This is a positive development.

Specialist societies and auction houses are allowing public access to various archives and other materials that provide a wealth of information for research.

In years past, acquiring such data necessitated spending hours in libraries and other knowledge storehouses, painstakingly teasing out what was needed. Now, you can find what you need in a matter of minutes and download it for later use.

Postal administrations, including our own United States Postal Service, are using the information superhighway to spread the word about stamps to a global audience.

Some will scoff at the marketing and other efforts used to promote stamps these days. And, of course, there are those who will always complain that postal services simply want to dig deeper into collectors’ wallets.

Nonetheless, my take is that stamps are finding a favorable place in the digital arena. That is a change worth celebrating.