Digital Tagging Allows Readers to Purchase Reprints Online
Magazine publishers know that an effective reprint management program is the key to turning their content into revenue. Reprint servicing has now been taken to a new level. Reprint companies are now using familiar process of online tagging to allow customers to inquire about reprints while they’re reading the actual article they hope to reuse.
The best time to offer your readers the opportunity to purchase reprints is while they are reading the article and the content is fresh in their minds, To accomplish this, the idea of tagging Web content with small, unobtrusive "reprint" buttons was created.
"We started looking at what other publications, especially newspapers, were doing with online reprints," Mike Shober, director of publisher programs at RMS noted. "And what we saw was that they were offering ‘click here’ for reprint tags right next to the printer-friendly and e-mail icons, which allows the potential reprint buyer to immediately request information on reprints. It’s closer to the process and the reader doesn’t have to search the site to find information on reprints."
Paul Calento, vice president of marketing for InfoWorld, said when RMS approached InfoWorld last year with the idea of placing reprint tags alongside the printer-friendly and e-mail tags on all of their online articles, the publication decided to give it a go.
"The suggestion to "tag" was explained that the best way to request reprints would be right in the context of that article," Calento said. "So we launched in August and, as a result, we’re now converting two out every five Web-generated reprint requests into sales. And we’re pulling in sales from companies that don’t usually buy reprints from us."
Specifically, this type of specific tagging has now created business from formerly hard-to-reach corporate clients such as Microsoft and Apple. These large corporations can be difficult just to find the right person to contact and negotiate with. But the new tagging program has created a demand in this very new market which is results in greater profits for the publishers.
The tactic also ensures that readers won’t have to leave the publisher’s site to find reprint information and reminds readers that the content they’re reading is owned by the publication on whose Web site it is found. "It helps keep the reader on your site and also sends a subtle message that this is copyright protected material," said Shober. "A lot of times, people will read an article, think it might be something worth reprinting but then forget about it. This allows them to request instant information on reprints while the content and the article is in front of them."
A Turnkey Solution
A tagging program is very "turnkey," said Calento. "Reprint vendors provide all of the tools," he said. "We are supplied with the reprint icon and they put it alongside all of our other tags so that it didn’t stand out or take away from the article. They also followed our design criteria and said it could basically look however we wanted it to look."
Vendors work with publishers’ IT departments to implement the technology and the source code into their content management systems. Publishers like that is it keeps the reader on their Web sites and that the landing page they go to, to enter all of their content information has the same look and feel as the rest of the Web site. In the past, we would have co-branded pages that would be a mixture of the publishers’ and the vendor’s branding. But, with the new system, it’s now completely the publishers’ branding.
Once on the landing page, the article reprint request is bundled with the customer’s information. A salesperson from the reprint company is forwarded the information electronically and then contacts the customer with a customized quote. They can also suggest other reprint packages the customer might be interested in.
"This isn’t the sexiest thing in the world," said Calento. "But by expanding the reach of the products and services we sell, it also increases the reach of our advertisers. And, let’s face it, advertisers are fickle. And we often go through times when reprints are really hot and times when they’re lukewarm. And one way to mediate this problem has been with this online tagging initiative."