Feature articles versus advertorials: Which one is right for you?

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In our line of work, one of our clients’ main public relations goals is to be published in industry trade magazines to get their customers’ attention. Of course, they can place advertisements in these magazines to make sure customers can always find out more about them, but what I’m referring to is having them included in the editorial of the magazine – the feature articles.

Feature articles highlight a topic or trend the industry wants to know more about, are brand generic and are free to be included in and have published. They are usually 1,000 to 1,500 words in length and have 4-5 pictures included to illustrate the topic, and feature articles will include a byline (i.e. author of the article).

Think about when you’re flipping through your favorite magazine and see a long article about a topic that was teased on the front cover. That’s a feature article.

These articles are not advertorials, which are a blend of editorial and advertisements. These are articles our clients pay to have placed in magazines and are promotional. An advertorial is an extended magazine text advertisement that promotes the advertiser's product or services or special point of view but resembles an editorial in style and layout. Advertorials are usually 500 to 800 words in length, have 1-2 pictures included to illustrate, do not have a byline but will include the company’s logo and tagline somewhere on the page.

Think about when you’re flipping through that same magazine and see an article telling you all about the latest, greatest whiz-bang product from one of the magazine’s advertisers. That’s an advertorial. 

So, which one is better? The answer is both feature articles and advertorials have their specific purpose and can help our clients build brand awareness, educate the magazine’s audience, generate interest and drive sales leads. An advertorial is the best choice when our clients want to fully control the message of the article.

Feature articles are a different approach to positioning our clients’ messages than advertorials because once we submit information to editors for the article, we are no longer fully in control of the message. Ultimately, the editor has the final say on what is printed. They may publish everything we give them, or just pick-and-choose a few nuggets from what has been provided. Or, they may do nothing with what we give them. Because we do not pay for inclusion in these articles, they pose our clients as experts in their fields, and in our opinion, being presented as an expert gains our clients credibility with customers. And being credible leads to sales, which is, of course, is the end goal for both PR and advertising.

Still have questions about feature articles versus advertorials and which one is best for your company, give us a call – we’re happy to discuss them more with you!