What Every Business Owner Ought To Know About Advertorials
Advertorials are a new breed of digital ads that have taken online advertising to a whole new level. It is a clever (and arguably controversial) marketing strategy that is known for its capacity to spark conversation and to trigger a response among a target audience.
One part advertisement and one part editorial content (hence the name), an advertorial is a piece of native content that aims to get a specific action from the reader. This could be anything from downloading a PDF, subscribing to an email newsletter, visiting a store, or buying a product.
Sometimes called sponsored content, it is an ad that takes the form of a news article or an editorial piece and is published on reputable news publications. It also assumes the voice and style of the publication is displayed on. As an important component, every advertorial must have a disclaimer prominently located right above it saying it’s a paid advertisement.
Whether an advertorial appears on the Time website, the New York Times, the Huffington Post or on Buzzfeed, it must be able to tell a gripping story that leads the reader to the logical conclusion of answering the call to action at the end of the article.
Advertorials vs. Traditional Ad Forms
Digital ads come in a wide variety of forms ranging from image, search, e-mail, mobile, social, and even video ads. However these ad forms, especially display ads, lean towards traditional advertising and are therefore likely to cause banner blindness among your target audience.
Advertorials on the other hand take this risk away thanks to the format it assumes. According to a research done by Readers Digest in January 2007, ad copies written to look like magazine articles fared better with 81% more orders than those made to look like a traditional ad.
Moreover, since it blends well with the content of the publication it is on and is less intrusive than traditional ads, readers are more likely to read through an advertorial giving a company more chances of convincing him or her to buy.
In addition, advertorials don’t resort to hard selling the way traditional ads do. This type of marketing strategy allows brands to make an argument for their product or service. By telling a gripping and persuasive story first and then promoting the brand last, advertorials make it easier for readers to follow through on the call to action placed at the end of the copy.
Writing Persuasive Native Content
At its core, an advertorial is a persuasive piece. Its goal is to convince the readers to perform an action that benefits a brand. It does not flagrantly promote a product or a service but rather engages the reader by appealing to their emotions, rationality, and/or trust. Sales pitches only happen in the end when the reader is already hooked on the story and is convinced that the particular brand can and will help solve a pain point in their lives.
Persuasive native content has the following elements:
1. Captivating Heading
The headline should grab the readers’ attention in just a few seconds. It has to be concise and more importantly, it should match the style of the publication to make it blend better with the rest of the content.
2. Inverted Pyramid Format
News articles follow the inverted pyramid style where all the important information are placed at the top of the copy and the supporting details follow as the article progresses. This should also be the case for advertorials. It is important to get your message across immediately so you instill a sense of urgency to follow your call-to-action.
This means that your lead paragraph should hook the readers immediately. It should captivate the audience and reel them in so that they’ll keep reading the article from start to finish.
It is also important to use subheadings especially for longer copies. Dividing your copy into sections does a few things, 1)it focuses your content better, 2)it allows readers to know at first glance what your content will be about, and 3)it prevents the advertorial from steering too far away from the topic it aims to discuss.
3. Informative Content
A core characteristic of an advertorial is giving valuable information to the readers at no cost. The message should be clear and relevant to the reader and in the end they should leave with a few takeaways that they can use in real life. Remember that the point of advertorials is to make a case for your product and/or services first by through useful information.
If you must, weave in relevant statistics ad figures to support the claims of your advertorial. Furthermore, you can also use quotes and testimonies from reputable people. These elements can spruce up the persuasiveness of your copy
This not only allows the readers to be persuaded into buying a product but also positions the company as an industry leader.
4. Appeal to Ethos, Pathos, and/or Logos
In persuasive writing, it is important to touch at least two of three things: ethos or trust, pathos or emotions, and logos or logic.
Appealing to your readers’ ethos means appealing to their trust mechanism. In doing so, you are positioning your company as an honest and reliable institution that only wants what’s best for their clients.
On the other hand, appealing to pathos means tugging at your readers’ heartstrings. Advertorials are effective when they trigger and emotional response like happiness, helplessness, or anger and urge the reader to take action
Finally, appealing to logos means triggering your readers’ desire for facts. To do this, you should use relevant facts and figures to prove your point.
5. Highlight Products and Services
Advertorials are not meant to be hard selling tools, however not having a call to action at the end of your advertorial is a missed opportunity. It is still important to describe the product as a solution to the pain point you’ve described previously in your advertorial. Mention also how the product is unique and effective in addressing these problems.
One of the most crucial elements of an advertorial is the call-to-action. According to HubSpot, a good CTA has to have four things: 1) copy that makes people want to act, 2) a clear value proposition, and 3) a specific landing page that is aligned with one specific stage in the sales cycle. Your CTA has to have concise and jargon-free text that uses actionable verbs to catch people’s attention. It should also explicitly express what the audience is getting in exchange for that click.
Unique Benefits of Advertorials
Controversial as they may be to some, it cannot be denied that an advertorial is an effective marketing strategy for businesses. It proposes several benefits brands won’t always get from traditional advertisements including:
If researched well, it attracts your target audience and increases your chances of converting them into a lead. People are prone to banner blindness, but with advertorials, readers are treated to catchy and compelling content they’ll want to read from headline to call-to-action.
It gives away free information to the readers. Buyers love a company that goes the extra mile to provide them with valuable (aka helpful) information on how to solve their problems and pain points. Advertorials present people with the right information while positioning companies as thought leaders in their respective industries.
It increases sales. Because advertorials are a far cry from hard-selling advertisements, they are more effective in persuading customers to buy a product. After reading an advertorial, readers will feel that the product or service briefly discussed will satisfy their needs which leads to purchase decisions favorable to the brand that sponsored that piece of content.
Finally, it can improve the image of a brand. Advertorials effectively make a case for products and/or services without resorting to exaggeration. This is because this type of advertisement relies on facts and figures as well as on credible testimonials to prove a point. This is useful for enhancing the image of a product and elevating its features so than the readers will feel it is the solution they were looking for.
Not sure if an advertorial is something you should implement? Check out this post on “When Is The Right Time To Use An Advertorial?”