Reaping Additional Revenue with Reprints
According to Cynthia Osborne-McKean, principal of PARS International (www.magreprints.com), "There are two reasons why magazines outsource reprints: to protect the editorial integrity of their product and frankly, to turn it into a revenue center. A third party can best do that. And [magazine publishers] would like [its reprint services] to be run professionally and a lot of times they can't absorb the overhead." Obviously, outsourcing reprint sales alleviates the pressure upon journalists when they are penning articles about large, potentially lucrative clients. But, of course, a glowing mention of a big company often nets the most revenue in reprint sales. According to Osborne-McKean, articles about hotels tend to be big sellers due to the size and scope of the travel industry.
With a never ending variety of potential clients to sell reprints to, even smaller publishers are finding financial success with reprints. Lionheart Publishing (www.lionhrtpub.com), a contract publisher who produces a number of association publications, is well aware of the money a well-targeted reprint program can bring. "In the early 1990s, we launched a new title. Initially, we focused solely on advertising sales," recalls John Llewellyn, president. "In the first few years, we had a few inquiries about reprints. Then, the numbers increased and we hired [Superior Reprints] to handle reprint sales full time. Immediately, revenues increased significantly, say by a factor of two, overnight. Reprints became a sizeable portion of our revenue—not equal to that of advertising—but definitely worthwhile. With more articles to sell and more possible revenue, we were able to grow the publication. Having someone dedicated strictly to reprints allowed other employees to focus on what they needed to do."
The power of positive writing
Understanding the publisher's rationale of outsourcing reprint sales, PARS establishes guidelines with its clients upfront to alleviate the client from the enormous attention to detail required to manage an internal reprint program. "As an outsource, we establish guidelines and use precedents based on our experience. Our staff brings ideas to the magazines regularly seeking their approval, but the least amount of interaction the better because they're outsourcing and they want to get it off their plate," explains Osborne-McKean. "We are fully self-sufficient. Representatives go through magazines cover to cover, proactively prospecting companies that have been portrayed positively."