The writer is director of ALVEO
Before we proceed with some of the tips and tricks to help boost the chance of an advertorial getting a decent attention-time, let us, first, get one thing out of the way, namely, understanding what advertorial is. Advertorial comes from the words ‘advertising’ and ‘editorial.’ So, an advertorial is a piece of writing that aims at selling something—a product or a service, done in the style of an editorial. Now, in this era of TL; DR culture, what can we do to make an advertorial engaging?
Know Your Readers
The phrase ‘different stroke for different folks’ applies in this case. How you write your advertorial to be published in an economic newspaper or news website differs from one written for a lifestyle magazine or website. The difference is evident right out of the gate, meaning, when formulating the headline or title, you should already put this into consideration. World Readying Itself for Internet of Things. More Awesomeness Awaits with Revved Up Internet. These two titles, which lead to an article about the same subject serve better if used for different types of websites.
Lighten Things Up
Avoid heavy jargons. Even when the advertorial is to appear on a technology website, for example, keep the language simple, for not all visitors/readers are tech savvy individuals who are interested in the amount of ‘data per microsecond the latest North-bridge spiraled-shaped composite laser-etched component board’ can deliver. Connect the readers to the product or the service on a personal and emotional level. This means the advertorial should focus on benefits. Of course, describing the features of the product or service is important, but how the product or service can genuinely benefit the readers should be the priority.
Capture their Attention
Include photos, quotes, or testimonials. Rather than relying on barrage of words, include pictures, quotes and testimonials. Photos help readers get informed about the product or service; it also gives them reprieve from reading the advertorial. Quotes and testimonials add authenticity to the material as the readers see that they’re reading something that comes out of multiple persons. For a website, nowadays quite often we see a video inclusion. This surely has its merit, as it can add more information regarding the subject the advertorial is presenting. It may, however, distract the readers from the text because some people will choose to immediately play the video, and don’t bother to read the text. So, be wise about this.
Incite Readers to Act
A suggestion for call to action, or CTA, should not be too in-your-face; stick to the soft selling approach (even with the inclusion of photos and/or videos). Tell them what they need to do—clicking a link, sending an email, making a call, or placing an order—but try to make it sound conversational. Furthermore, the CTA should be sprinkled throughout the advertorial, not just at the closing. They may sound like these sentences: That said, this link should help you get started with your kickstart project; or, The government’s plan to subsidize fishermen is currently being drafted, and the department is inviting suggestions to ensure the draft covers all the bases.
Make it Readable
Remember that you are writing an editorial, so make sure that you use proper sentence structure, and that all rules of grammar are observed. Hence, editing is essential in this case. Read and reread the advertorial after you’re done writing it. You may want to get someone else to do it for you, or better get a professional editor to do it.
Go with the Pro
If you are not yet confident with your own writing, you can always opt for outsourcing the work to professional writers or a marketing firm that specializes in this kind of content writing. They are familiar with ways to iron out the kinks to ensure the advertorial serves its purpose.