You may know what “editorial” means (that’s on the opinion page in the newspaper, right?), and you probably know what advertising is (the annoying stuff that interrupts my TV show!) But what the heck is “advertorial”? And why do you care?
Advertorial content is the Frankenstein monster of journalism. Part news, part opinion, and part advertising, it’s a section of a publication that looks like a story, but it isn’t. It may contain some news, but it doesn’t quite look right. The type style is just a little different than the previous page. The people in the photos seem a bit too…happy. And the author sure seems enthusiastic about a certain brand of products.
Usually, advertorial pieces in reputable publications are labeled “Special Advertising Sections” or “Special Advertisement,” but not always. This is especially true of online publications, where an advertorial section may be labeled “Info Site” or contain no warning at all that this is advertising and not unbiased reporting.
Why do companies pay for advertorial content? First, there are always those people who won’t see the warnings and who will assume that it’s another story—and gosh, Company Y sure must make great products if Publication Z is so crazy about them. Others may recognize the advertorial content as an ad, but they’ll read it anyway—for the same reason that people read long, multi-page letters from charities raising money at the holidays.
Editorial content on the other hand is different. It comes in the form of opinion pieces, news, by-lined articles, case studies, research results, roundtable discussions, etc. It positions the author as an expert and the company as a leader in its marketplace. There’s no pay to play involved.
Advertising is space within the publication that is sold, usually to companies but sometimes to individuals, for the purposes of promoting a good or a service. Content can be completely self-serving. While advertising content increases visibility in the marketplace, editorial content has more credibility. Generally, advertising, along with subscriptions and single copy sales, is how publications make their money.
At most publications, there is a firm line drawn between the newsroom and the sales department. In other words, it’s important to the editors of the publication that their advertisers don’t influence the stories on which they report or their opinions, in order to protect their journalistic integrity. Likewise, they don’t want to write heavily about certain topics or promote certain opinions hoping to lure in certain advertisers.
Bottom line: nothing promotes your company as well as good old fashioned editorial content. You can’t pay for a front-page article in the paper. Really, you can’t. They don’t sell that. You have to make the news on your own merit.
Lucky for you, Trade Press Services is expert at getting your name into the publications that you want to be in. We help you assemble first-rate editorial content and place it in the finest industry publications, where your customers, potential customers or strategic alliance partners will recognize you as the subject matter expert.
Don’t fool around with Frankenstein. Contact Trade Press Services today.