We were recently asked in a webinar:
“There has been criticism of outlets such as The Atlantic posting sponsored content as it were editorial content. Would you recommend having your clients do that? To, in essence, produce advertorials.”
Do we recommend advertorials? Yes, within limits and with disclosures. Advertorials can be powerful tools for building awareness and gaining credibility. In order to remain not only honorable but also compliant with FTC regulations, advertorials must be disclosed prominently and be obviously distinct from purely editorial content. An advertorial is a good companion piece to earned editorial content. If the editorial content talks about how good your product or service is, the advertorial piece can contain all of the things that editorial content typically lacks, such as a sales call to action, more in-depth product/service information, links to your product/service pages, and multiple avenues for contact.
Be sure to re-read what’s required for advertorial disclosure from the FTC, including what you’re required to do in social media!
Finally, make sure your advertorial content provides value on its own. It should be good enough that a publication wished it were editorial content, useful enough that their readers or viewers would rather watch or read your advertorial than the main content. That’s a high bar to set, but if you want your advertorial content to be a success, treat it with the same effort and care as you would editorial content, rather than treat it like a typical advertisement.
Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology
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