Advertorial is advertising disguised as an article or other feature and placed in a newspaper, magazine or other publication. (We will discuss print advertorial here, not “native advertising” popular in social media and other digital formats such as promoted pins on Pinterest or promoted listings on Etsy that appear to merge with a visitor’s feed or search results, although similar principles apply.) Publications may require additional alterations to the design or content of your advertorial, such as a change in font or type size or a disclaimer, to signal your advertorial is a paid submission.
The strategic reasoning behind a multi-channel marketing plan is a consulting matter, beyond the size and scope of this post. But let’s say you have selected print media as a vehicle in your marketing campaign and, after reviewing content, circulation, demographic targets and other factors, picked a magazine that permits advertorial placements.
Your budget will be one of the largest factors in your decision about advertorial.
Since advertorial is designed to blend in more than most ads, you will need to buy a large amount of space for maximum impact. When possible, consider grabbing at least two pages to create an advertorial spread. Any classic, corresponding ads you purchase should be scattered throughout the publication, not resting next to your advertorial.
Make “subtle repetition” your goal.
Comparing visits to a landing page or other advertorial-specific URL to traffic for the URL listed in your corresponding ad(s) can make your analytics data even more relevant. Using a unique URL for the advertorial may also imply that the ads and the advertorial are separate entities, and, generally speaking, the appearance of division can be desirable in an advertorial campaign.
- If having a byline in the advertorial is important to you, confirm the publication will allow it, then talk to your writer. Not every writer will supply a byline. (Although I create ad copy, I reserve my byline for articles only, not advertorial.)
- Start watching for advertorial, and you will see many examples, options and formats to inspire your next campaign. You may notice sticky notes attached to your daily newspaper. Depending on publication policies, several artisans could purchase space together and supply one or two works each to form a spread on “gifts worth giving” or to appear, at a glance, as “staff picks,” etc. Perforated recipe cards in heavier stock, branded with a campaign or business logo plus a website to visit or similar CTA, can be bound or inserted into a magazine. A designer’s portfolio includes this Avon advertorial; magazine readers received samples and their comments became the feature.
- Even campaigns with smaller budgets can use advertorial principles to guide their approach. Imagine, if you are a wine shop owner, creating a monthly “wine advice” column in local magazine where you plan to also purchase advertising space. Write the column yourself or hire a ghostwriter.
- Newspapers may be more strict in their policies about advertorial use and formats than most magazines. If you do choose a newspaper for your advertorial, try to purchase space above the fold.
- Ads often stand out more than advertorials in black-and-white formats such as newspapers, especially if the article-style advertorial is short.
- Photos attract readers and help an advertorial look more like a regular feature.
Candace Schilling, publicist, offers PR Communication and Training to spiritual teachers and faith-based communities. For more inspiration as well as tips about marketing and strategic communication, check out her articles or find Candace on LinkedIn.