What is an Advertorial?

Everybody knows what a blog or an article is, but not many are aware of what an advertorial is or how it relates. If you have a company blog, or if you know what goes into a company blog, an advertorial may be a lot closer to home than you might think.

In this article (or is it an advertorial? Read on…), we’re going to talk about what an advertorial is, the purpose of an advertorial and some advice to help you create an advertorial that’s going to deliver value to your readers as well as give your business the best chance to bring some new customers on board.

Let’s get started!

What is an advertorial?

To answer that question, let’s look at both the short answer and the long answer.  

The short answer is… it’s essentially a blog post or an article that educates the reader about a product or a problem which the business aims to solve, guiding the user towards a call-to-action. 

The long answer is… an advertorial is very similar to a blog post or an article, however it contains something key that articles and blogs don’t include. It’s there to provide value to your readers, just like a blog or an article, but it’s designed to guide them towards a call-to-action at the end. This often means talking about a problem that your typical customers may have, for example maintaining their garden in the spring, and talking through a solution to this problem.

Whilst the user is gripped, you can then introduce a call-to-action to your services, products, or both, allowing your business to present itself at the perfect opportunity whilst your readers are hooked. This, however, can only work effectively if your advertorial has provided value leading up to that point.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

What is the purpose of an advertorial?


An advertorial has the same purpose as an article. It’s designed to provide your audience with valuable content to inform and teach them, but unlike a blog or an article, an advertorial guides the readers towards a call-to-action at the end to take action. To explain this better, let’s look at an example.


If you’re looking for an article that will help you look after your lawn in the spring, then you’ll most likely find yourself reading an article that talks all about how to look after your lawn during the spring which is full of tips and tricks and useful information. As you read through and approach the end, you may find that the article talks about the company and how they can do this for you, or their products can make your life easier.


Not only have you got the answer to your problem, but right whilst your attention is focused on that topic, the company have demonstrated how their products or services can help you at a time when you need them. 


The advertorial has demonstrated their expertise and knowledge and now, you will most likely trust their abilities in their services and products. So, if you are looking for someone to maintain your lawn, or you decide that you’re not going to do it yourself, who would you naturally go towards? If their contact form is right there on the page or their phone number is displayed, it’s incredibly easy for you to contact them and may just be what they need at that moment in time.  


The difference between an article and an advertorial


Now that we’ve covered what an advertorial is, let’s look into what the difference is between an article and an advertorial. We’ll keep to the same example as above with the gardening company.


An article… talks about how to effectively look after your lawn in the spring. This article can highlight lots of best practices and be packed with value designed to give your readers lots of useful information, but it doesn’t have a call-to-action to get the reader to take action. This means that although it’s full of useful information, it doesn’t directly promote the gardening company.


An advertorial… will read very similarly to the article above, however, if that article talks about how to look after your lawn, included links to products on their site, and at the end explained that the company can do this for you and to contact them for more information, this would then become an advertorial. The readers will still learn all about how to look after their lawn in the spring, but an advertorial then guides them to a call-to-action.


The difference between the two… is very small, and many people aren’t aware that advertorials are different, but an advertorial can bring great results for your business when compared to an article. Providing value should always be the number one priority, but whilst your reader is gripped by your content, the call-to-action is presented at the perfect time.

Key points to include in an advertorial


Although the difference between an article and an advertorial is very small, they can have a big impact on your audience. When writing an advertorial, there are a few things that are crucial to ensure it still provides value for your audience without being too sales-focused.


#1 Follow guidelines


When it comes to advertising, there are various rules you must follow as to ensure fair advertising. Advertorials are classed as a type of advert, and therefore should follow advertising guidelines, especially if you are sharing an advertorial for another company. 


Always take caution and make sure you abide to all advertising rules with advertorials to ensure you don't get caught out along the way. 


#2 Always provide value


Always, always, always provide value to your readers in an advertorial. This is the most crucial point. Many people worry about sharing their knowledge and expertise, as this may mean that customers can do it themselves, but remember that knowledge doesn’t replace experience and skill.


If you can demonstrate that your business has the skills and the experience, and shares valuable content for the customer, this builds a lot of trust between you and your customer and is more likely to make them want to use your services than if you tried to sell to them directly.


#3 Consider a pain point for your customers and share a solution


Your advertorial should give your customers a solution to their problem, even if your services are a solution. With the gardening company example, people are much more likely to click on an article that says ‘How to Maintain Your Lawn in the Spring’ than ‘Spring Lawn Maintenance Services’.


The key point of an advertorial is to get your readers in and hook their attention, so whilst they are gripped, you can mention that you can provide the solution for them at a time that they’re most engaged and more likely interested to take action.


#4 Include a call-to-action


If your advertorial doesn’t include a call-to-action, then it’s essentially just an article. There are many ways of including a call-to-action in an advertorial, but the most important thing is that the call-to-action is relevant and helpful to your reader.


The purpose of an advertorial is to provide useful information and value to the reader, and your call-to-action should be a way to help the reader further on the topic. Whether it’s a link to a product, a service or to something else entirely, it should be a way to add further value to your readers.


“Your call-to-action should be a way of providing further value to your customers“


#5 Include pictures


Nobody wants to sit and read a “wall of text”, so make sure to include pictures to break up your content. It helps to break up your content and helps to keep your readers engaged with your content, whereas without the images they may find themselves distracted. This is a great point to use with any written content including articles, social media and more.


#6 Use emotion, stories and more to engage


Your customers are human, so if you can demonstrate a human element too, they’re more likely to remain interested. Share a useful story, like our gardening company example, show your passion about for you do and demonstrate your expertise. All of these things are proven to have a positive impact on the engagement of your readers.


What call-to-action should I include?


The type of call-to-action that you use in your advertorial entirely depends on your content. The most important thing is it needs to flow naturally. If your suddenly change from providing value to your audience to trying to sell to them, this will make lots of people turn their attention elsewhere.


For an effective advertorial, your call-to-action should flow naturally and should continue to provide value to your audience. For the gardening company example, talking about how to maintain your lawn and providing value is great, and this flows naturally into the lawn maintenance service that the gardening company offers. This is on the same topic and can provide more value to the reader in terms of providing valuable information, so it’s more likely to keep the reader engaged.


Was this an article or an advertorial?


We’ve alluded to it a few times throughout, but yes, this is an advertorial. We at Sentry Collective have many years of experience in creating advertorials for our clients, helping them to share value and build trust with their audience.


We know that writing an article or an advertorial isn’t a quick task, but the benefits can be exceptional and can last long into the future. That’s why our Blog Management Service is designed to deliver regular articles and advertorials, giving our clients the benefits of utilising their blog effectively without costing any time.


If you have a company blog and would like to start using advertorials, or you’re new to blogging and need a team of professionals to help, contact us today for more information on how we can help you.

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