What is an Advertorial?

Advertorials have been around for a long time.

Local newspapers, national magazines and daily papers all use advertorials as a way to market products and services. But unlike features and news stories, advertorials are still seen as mysterious – the black sheep of the writing family that nobody quite understands.

So how do you make advertorials work for you?

Well, it’s important to realise that advertorials are created for one purpose only – selling. Unlike news articles and features, advertorials are by their very nature used to sell a specific idea, product or service. Many publications are obliged to tell you that you are reading an advertorial. If you look carefully in any magazine or newspaper, you might find the words ‘advertising feature’ or ‘promotional article’ subtly written in the corner of the piece. Some however won’t let you in on the fact you’re reading a carefully crafted sales pitch designed for your eyes only. Many people have discussed the moral implications of advertorials, particularly when they are written in the same house style of the publication. But whether you agree with them or not, results suggest they are a very effective way of selling. If you are thinking about penning an advertorial – to use in an in-house magazine or even as part of a promotion – there are a few golden rules to consider.

What Does The Reader Want?

Selling benefits is nothing knew but a good advertorial sells ideas and values. For instance, you might be a travel agent looking to increase interest in your European package holidays. Don’t talk about your deals, talk about the health benefits of holidaying in Italy or the top five European destinations for 2012. There will be plenty of time to include deal specifics later.

Make Sure You Can Live Up To The Hype.

It’s tempting to go overboard in an advertorial. But once it’s there in black and white you will need to back up any claims you make. Focus on what the company can deliver and leave out exaggerations.

Use Real Quotes, Not Boardroom Jargon

Including quotes in an advertorial is always a good idea, but only if the language used is realistic. People don’t want to hear about turnovers or growth sectors.

Keep The Sales Pitch Short

You don’t have to write a lot to get results. People will automatically start to switch off if you go on and on and on about how great your products and services are. Instead aim for a short paragraph explaining what you offer and the benefits. When they get in touch you can tell them more.

It’s All In The Detail…

Always include contact details even if it’s at the bottom of the piece. If you have quotes, use the person’s full name and title. It not only gives people a contact but also gives the piece an air of authority. Get in touch…    

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