What’s the difference between editorial and advertorial?

Firstly, let’s define advertising, editorial and advertorials.

Advertising is paid media, so the business placing the advert pays for the space and (within reason) dictates exactly its content.

Editorial is free, is referred to as earned media and the final style, direction and theme is up to the publication – so there is the risk it could be a negative review of your product or service. In most instances, you are relying on someone else writing about you and have very little control over what is said.


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Advertorials are paid for articles that look a lot like editorial, with the aim of connecting to the reader through a story or case study, rather than the punchy style of an ad. The content is likely written and signed off by the company paying for it.

So, where do they sit in terms of public perception? Is an advertorial you saying you are good just disguised as a publication endorsing you? Advertorials can be incredibly useful for companies when they are launching a new product or service that needs more explanation than a print advert. It is made reasonably clear in a publication when an article is an advertorial to preserve the credibility of their brand in an age when readers are savvy about advertising.

Advertising doesn’t always guarantee editorial

Some people assume that buying an advert will guarantee them editorial coverage in the same issue of the publication, but this is not the case. Some advertising packages do offer editorial as part of the deal, but if it was offered to everyone who advertised in every issue, then a publication would struggle to maintain their neutral stance on issues and rapidly lose credibility.


See also: Is advertising right for my business


How can I leverage editorial from paid advertising?

There are a few ways you can try to get editorial in the publication you have advertised in, aside from simply asking the question in the first instance.

1. Themed publications: When you start the process of booking an advert, ask to see an editorial calendar and look out for themed publications, such as a summer travel special, autumn fashion issue or a Christmas gift guide.

A good advertising sales team will inform clients of this when booking advertising to align advertising content with the editorial theme. For example, if you hold a Christmas gift fair and want to advertise prior to the event, an issue focusing on Christmas gifts and what to buy would be ideal, provided the timings match up, of course. This will give you the ideal opportunity to pitch your product or service at a time when editors may be looking for something just like it.


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2. Advertorials: This is also where advertorials can form an effective part of your marketing plan. As we’ve seen, advertorials can be very useful to educate readers on a product launch, but they can also be used to secure true editorial in the same or a linked publication. Make sure you ask about this and negotiate it with the media sales representative when you book an advertorial, noting any deadlines.

3. Other channels: There is so much overlap between traditional print media and social media that we can’t talk about advertising and editorial without mentioning this. If you advertise in a publication, make sure you ask them about the opportunity for linked posts to your content and retweets on their social media channels. This should help give you fantastic reach and boost the numbers of followers on your own accounts.

Tara is our traditional marketing and PR partner so keep checking back here for more. as