The power of advertorials

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A good advertorial lets the reader imagine themselves enjoying your products or services.

There are many ways to skin a cat, just as there are plenty of ways to promote your business: You can advertise in newspapers, cold call prospects, engage in mass-email campaigns… the list goes on. I prefer a more subtle approach. As a freelance writer, my job is to produce content like blogs, case studies, white papers and advertorials.

In this post I discuss advertorials and how they can be valuable for promoting your business.

If you find this post useful please share. I also welcome your comments at the end.

The travelling freelance writer

As I write, I’m thinking about the weekend just gone. You see, I’ve just returned from a writing assignment in Russell, the Bay of Islands. I was commissioned by a local business group to visit Russell, try out some of the scenic walks that are there and then write about the experience. The advertorials will be published in a specialist walking magazine; the objective is to inspire people to experience the walks for themselves and, of course, spend some money.

What are advertorials?

Advertorials are a form of native advertising — adverts, but not really. Instead of looking like an advert, advertorials are written in a magazine-article format. A bit shady? Not at all. As long as they are clearly identified as advertorials,  they have a place.

Why advertorials are powerful

Unlike advertisements which sing your praises, advertorials describe the benefits your product or service offers in a tangible way. For this reason they are more credibleIn many ways they are like case studies, enabling the reader to imagine themselves enjoying the benefits described. Advertorials are also memorable — information presented in an article format is likely to be remembered because readers can make an emotional connection.

The qualities of a good advertorial 

First and foremost, an advertorial must be informative. People will only read it if they learn something useful. So, when writing about scenic walks in Russell, I describe the fun things — spotting native birds, learning about the local history and enjoying spectacular views. I also address possible objections. For example, readers might be concerned about safety, so I mention how the tracks are well maintained and that the guides are knowledgeable in first aid.

Leave out hyperbole

Don’t go over the top — hyperbole has no place in an advertorial. If you exaggerate or use too much syrupy language, you lose credibility — readers will see right through you. There is no harm in a dose of honesty. Sure, you’re getting paid, so you’re not going to highlight all the negatives about a product or service. However, I never write something that isn’t true. Again, using the example of scenic walks, if I was exhausted at the end because of all the hills, I’ll say so. This sort of information gives more credibility and also allows readers to be prepared should they do the walk themselves.

Be careful about links

These days, many advertorials are published online. A good opportunity to include links? Not really. Recent changes by Google now mean that links in the text are classified as “paid links.” So, your website will gain no extra authority by including them.

What do you think? Have you used advertorials to promote your business? I look forward to your comments.

  1. I admit Andrew when I read your headline my first thought was that I don’t know what an advertorial is. Thanks for explaining it.

    Wow, you commissioned to go and enjoy some scenic walks and then you’re paid to write about them! That sounds like a wonderful job to have. Of course I’m not that kind of writer so I probably wouldn’t be too good at that but I still think that’s pretty cool.

    You did explain that nicely though so now I can say that I know what an advertorial is. I’m sure there are plenty of people that still enjoy reading their magazines and thoroughly enjoy it.

    So here is to a great week ahead.

    ~Adrienne

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