One essential factor in a marketing strategy for both new and established businesses is building brand awareness. Creating a recognisable brand is what the big players in the e-commerce industry have done for years, and so many companies seek to replicate this recipe for success.
You might have heard of advertorials as a way of getting a product or brand placement, but what are they exactly? This guide will talk through what you can gain from an advertorial and how to get started using them to build your brand presence.
What is an advertorial?
An advertorial is a portmanteau of the words advertisement and editorial. The advertisement traditionally takes the form of an article (the “editorial”) in a newspaper, magazine or website.
Usually, a business will pay the publisher for the article, which will include information about a specific product or service the business offers. This form of advertising allows companies to connect with audiences using a story instead of a print ad with limited space.
Marketers use advertorials to educate prospective consumers about the features of a product. Businesses will usually use them to describe benefits and how the product can solve an issue for the customer without being too much of a “hard sell”.
Businesses can use advertorials to target specific people by choosing an appropriate place to publish the article. For example, if a company wants to reach a demographic interested in the economy or financial products, then a business newspaper or financial news website could be a strong choice. Using niche publications instead of “general” news outlets means that the advertisement is seen by a targeted audience who are more likely to buy the product or choose to learn more about it.
It's important to note that as a rule, most publications will include the word “advertisement” at the top or bottom of an advertorial. Transparency in marketing is vital, and so some newspapers or magazines promote advertorials in particular sections of their publications or specific areas of their websites.
Typically, advertorials are in a written format in a newspaper or magazine, as “editorial” suggests. Still, advertorials can expand into other forms of content, such as YouTube videos or Instagram posts that feature advertisements and are marked as “promoted” content.
What are the benefits of using advertorials?
Using advertorials can support your brand exposure, conversion rates, lead generation and your customer retention in the following ways:
Building brand awareness
Advertorials in online publications can be found by audiences long after the publish date. In addition, unlike other forms of advertising (like social media posts), you won't have to keep paying to boost the visibility of your ad. Instead, you can earn organic traffic continuously with an online advertorial, making it cost-effective in the long term.
Not only can the content give you a long-lasting impact, but your business name will appear in a trustworthy publication, adding gravitas and expertise to your brand image, which will become recognisable to frequent readers of the website.
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Pushing leads further down the sales funnel
It's been found that 71% of customers choose to buy from a company name they recognise. Using advertisements to educate readers about certain products can help audiences who have already heard of your brand learn more, and can nudge them closer to making a purchase.
Retarget your existing customers and build loyalty
It's been proven that it's five times more expensive to find new customers than to sell to your existing clientele. On top of that, current customers are likely to spend 31% more than audiences who are not familiar with your brand already.
So, it's imperative to market to your current customer base to ensure long term profitability. To do this, weave any advertorials into your marketing and retarget customers who have already purchased from you. For example, an advertorial could remind them of product benefits they have yet to take advantage of, or introduce them to a new product you offer that they haven't yet tried.
How to write a good advertorial?
So, if you're thinking of using advertorials as part of your marketing mix, here's how to go about it.
1. Write to give value, not to promote
Your advertorial should provide value to the reader — focus on product benefits and how your product solves a problem your audience might have. Don't write a blatant ad: your content should take the tone of an informative blog post instead.
Use your advertorial as an opportunity to delight an audience, not just as a chance to showcase a product or service. The more natural it sounds, the better, as a hard sell could put readers off and create a negative brand association.
2. Stick to your title
When an advertorial title is accepted by a publication, ensure your final draft provides what the title promises. Make sure of this before you publish your content, and you won't lose credibility for writing an out-and-out ad. Instead, you'll be serving potential customers with something useful.
3. Inspire action
Although an advertorial shouldn't read like a “hard sell”, it is still a marketing activity. To get the desired result, ensure your writing provokes the reader to take action — this could be looking at a product or signing up for a newsletter. Make sure your call to action (CTA) is clear, so the reader feels compelled to take the next step with your brand.
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