This is a sample of what your advertorial will look like. A great rule to keep in mind when creating a successful advertorial:
Advertorials are native ads with a single purpose: getting specific action from the reader.
Simply slapping some advertising into one of these publications isn’t good enough. People tend to gloss over that. Rather you want people to actually pay attention to your advertorial, so you have to put some effort into making it seem like a real article.
Advertorials come in all shapes and sizes.
- They could be lists or guides
- They could be videos or print articles
- They could be one page or six
Regardless of the format or medium, however, most tell a story.
This is why there are so many similarities between the essential ingredients of a blog post and an advertorial.
An effective advertorial grips the reader and leads him/her to the logical conclusion — pointing him/her, in very specific language, to what to do next. This is the call to action!
Here are the basic steps for writing advertorials that work — in other words, that sell.
1. Study the publication
Your advertorial will sit in a context, in a magazine or on a website.
You must study and master that context.
- The design conventions like layout, typography, and column choice
- The editorial conventions including headlines, blurbs, and bylines
More important, you must understand the publication’s audience. (More on that in a minute.)
2. Study the audience
Who is the audience?
Most important: What do they want?
- Ask the publication for a demographic and psychographic report on their readers
- Spend time in the comment or letters section
- Talk to an editor or two who can share insights on their readership
- Exchange emails with a few readers
3. Create a story
View your advertorial like you are a journalist. Collect your facts. Stockpile your quotes.
Introduce the character. Describe her life. Introduce conflict.
Remember that a good story has a plot with twists and turns.
In other words, brush up on your storytelling skills.
4. Identify reader pain
What one thing is the ideal reader suffering from?
What keeps her up at night? What is her dominant desire?
And what one emotion do you want to bring out in that ideal reader?
5. Agitate the pain
In a good story you introduce the character. You introduce her normal life. Then you disturb the hell out of that routine so she falls apart.
She was climbing the corporate ladder until breast cancer sidelined her.
He thought everything was fine until his wife walked out for another man.
Your reader should relate.
6. Introduce the solution
Once the reader is sufficiently distraught, trot out the solution … which will be your product or service.
Demonstrate how your mentor program can teach her to negotiate for the higher pay she deserves. That he can get a greener lawn without chemicals.
These are the benefits of your product or solution. The significant advantages that make their problem go away.
7. Support your bold claims
Your story will front as a claim. It is best if this is a true story, about a real person.
- A grandmother’s idyllic life with her grandchildren that was darkened by unexpected depression
- An executive’s financial world turned upside down when he was betrayed by a colleague
You must substantiate any claim you make about your product or service with facts, test results, and statistics. Pour this information on.
You must create the feeling that there is not another product on the planet that can offer the benefits that yours provides.
8. End with happiness
This is not a black comedy or an avant-garde French film. You are not trying to win at Sundance or Cannes.
Be creative, yes, but conclude the story with a happy ending — where evil is defeated and good prevails, where the enemy is vanquished and normal life is restored.
9. Add a call to action
If you’ve done your job, your reader will be looking for a way to contact you. She will want to buy your product or to hire you.
Tell her, specifically, what to do.
- How to subscribe
- How to download the ebook
- How to buy your app
You must be very specific. Assume nothing.
Advertorials, also known as long-form copy ads, are the opposite of typical ads that feature 90% visual and barely any copy at all.
Instead, advertorials are designed to look like a part of the publication in which they’re appearing, and are intended to be an interesting read that divulges a plethora of information about the product or service.
So, with all that in mind, let’s look at some ways you can make your advertorial convert like crazy.
It all starts with the number one rule – content.
Make It Interesting
Seems like a no-brainer, but you could line the deck of an ocean liner with the amount of deadly-dull advertorials out there. Writers will be armed with a list of selling points, or touch points, that they must reference. They will also be given a ton of dry research, and from this an ad will form.
But most of the time, it reads more like an entry in Wikipedia than something that excites and entices. Remember, you’re still in the business of persuasion. You still have to take a cold prospect and give them a reason to call, visit a website or email the client. What separates the real writers from the hacks is the ability to sell whilst entertaining and informing, and that’s something that can take time to master.
Headlines Do The Heavy Lifting
Your ad is not a typical showcase of the product or service. It’s designed to look like an article or feature. So this is not the time to pull out incredible visual puns and expensive photoshoots. This is when copy comes back into its own. Your headline needs to be compelling, interesting, and jarring. You need to give people a smack in the face, and want them to read on.
One of the most famous headlines from a long copy ad came from John Caples. “They laughed at me when I sat down at the piano. But when I started to play!” It’s followed by copy that continues the intrigue – “Arthur had just played The Rosary. The room rang with applause. I decided that this would be a dramatic moment for me to make my debut.”
There isn’t a hard sales pitch right out of the gate. And even when the selling comes it’s not until the last half of the ad, and done with masterful tonality.
In this day and age, it’s easy to ignore long copy ads from the past. But they were masterful. And they can still work in this format.
Use Photographs and Illustrations Wisely
You’ll see some advertorials filled with photos or diagrams, with little room for the copy.
While this “easy read” may seem like a good idea, you’re basically wasting the opportunity you’ve been given to tell more of a story about your product. If you’re going to use the advertorial as a picture showcase, you may as well just do a regular ad.
This is the time to hold off on visual content, and use it both sparingly, and intelligently.
Instead- pick one very strong image that that supports and adds to your headline.
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