Advertorial: Magazine Ads Going Incognito as Editorial


Magazine advertising is an important part of your marketing strategy. In fact, even with the advent of digital issues, data from the the Association of Magazine Media (MPA) reveals that 73 percent of adults prefer print on paper for reading and 62 percent of readers act on an ad after seeing it in a magazine. So naturally, the goal with magazine advertising is for your ad to be seen and remembered. Outside of traditional methods of getting better visibility, how do you go about getting more eyeballs on your print ad?

Consider Advertorial

Magazines contain two types of content: editorial and advertising. Editorial is designed to inform, educate or entertain a reader, not to sell. On the other hand, advertising is intended and designed to sell. An advertorial is a combination of both. It is a paid space in a magazine that is designed to look just like an editorial. It is designed to look as close to magazine editorial as possible (There are some limitations we’ll talk about in a minute) and it includes information, advice or tips that highlight your business, products or services. The benefits to using advertorial for your business, over a more conventional ad, are tremendous!

Sample Magazine Advertorial from Inside Columbia Magazine:

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Benefits of Advertorial

While the rule for advertising is “less is more,” an Advertorial opens up all kinds of opportunities. They sky is the limit on what you can do with your space. Advertorials provide plenty of space to write about the benefits of your product or service and share ways it will improve the reader's quality of life. More than 60 percent of those reading a magazine spent 30 minutes or more reading it. When compared to the 15 seconds someone spends on a website page, this is impressive! Reading the articles…even advertorial…are the reason people pick up a magazine in the first place. Magazines allow customers to unplug from the 24/7 fast-paced online world and enjoy a mental time out. Lean into that intention with advertorial and give readers new and interesting information that they are already looking for.

Sample Magazine Advertorial from Inside Columbia Magazine:


Here are a few idea-starters:

  •   Launch new products or services
  •   Share positive customer testimonials/stories
  •   Clear up misconceptions/positive public relations
  •   Introduce new technology
  •   Announce and welcome new employees or profile board members
  •   Announce a colleague's retirement and highlight their contributions
  •   Share recipes or tips pertinent to a reader’s lifestyle
  •   Share industry trends
  •   Spotlight an affiliate
  •   Answer common questions
  •   Celebrate milestones: anniversaries, new locations, remodels, etc.

In a nutshell, advertorial ideas are endless! They can be practical or creative. Remember, the goal is to capture a reader’s attention and be memorable. We’ve had car dealers share recipes each month, a non-profit profile board members and a tire company that offered travel tips and favorite day-trip destinations in the area.

Sample Magazine Advertorial from Inside Columbia Magazine


A Easy Few Conditions Exist with Advertorial


1. "Paid Content"

Be aware that a magazine is required to let the reader know that a particular piece is being paid for...the article must say is “Paid Content” or "Advertisement" something similar at the top of the article. Note that this is simply standard industry practice for journalistic integrity and in no way affects reader response. It is critical for a magazine to do to maintain reader credibility. Ethically, a reader needs to know when content is paid for, and frankly, the practice assures that you are working with a quality publication that takes its content seriously. 

2. Copy-Editing

The magazine editor reserves the right to refuse any editorial that doesn’t comply with their magazine’s content standards or is outside the boundary of good taste. Furthermore, a copy editor will edit the article - even if you are paying for it - to make sure it is written well, follows rules of good grammar and matches the style of the magazine. Generally, this is to your benefit as an advertiser, as copy editors are trained writers and will make sure you present yourself in the best possible light. 

3. Writing the Article

A common question with advertorial is…who writes it? The answer depends. Some of you may enjoy writing, and others can come with ideas but don’t want to write it. Others love it when the marketing account manager comes up with ideas and handles the writing...they don’t want to be involved other than to approve the final product. Talk with your account manager and together, you can come up with a plan that fits. It really depends on the subject matter and you. Know that, typically if it’s a longer form article, the magazine may charge a nominal fee for their writers but would be happy to tackle the project for you…with your approvals of course.

Advertorial is an excellent way to tell your story, attract readers and get them to really read about your business. If the article or information is good enough, a reader may dog-ear the page or even tear it out of the magazine to keep. Now THAT is a winning strategy!

If advertorial is a strategy you’d like to learn more about, contact our magazine specialists at Zimmer Communications! We’ll share all the fun details of our magazine products: Inside Columbia Magazine, BOOM Magazine and CEO Magazine. We’re happy to help. 



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