Advertorial Copywriting – Captivating Advertorials that Convert Cold Traffic into Red Hot Buyers

As an advertorial copywriter, I know how to write compelling presell pages that trigger people’s emotions, usher them along the “awareness scale” and get them rushing to buy your product

Converting cold traffic has never been tougher.

Click costs are skyrocketing… skepticism is rampant… and the average order value needed to break even, let alone make a profit, is getting higher all the time.

If you’re currently running cold traffic, you already know how hard it is turning ice cold clicks into red hot buyers…

And it’s ONLY going to get harder!

The good news is that… while people are bombarded with 5,000 ads or more per day… 

Most advertorial copywriting is TRASH!

The advertorials sound hypey… present the product too early… or fail to trigger people into the right emotional state that will convert them into buyers.

The good news is that this presents an opportunity.

While the quality of advertorials, presells, bridge pages, customer activation pages… or whatever you want to call them… remains low…

You have an opportunity to grab more people’s eyeballs with advertorials that combine emotional and “quirky” storytelling and unique compelling angles to generate lower CPA (cost per acquisition)… juicier profits… and the ability to scale to the moon!

Allow me to share my top 5 advertorial copywriting tips on how it can be done.

Advertorial Copywriting Tip #1 – Plot the Prospect’s Journey from Unaware Prospects to Eager to Buy

Do you know what the “awareness scale” is?

If so, feel free to skip to step #2.

If not, allow me to explain…

The “awareness scale” is the mental journey prospects have to take from knowing nothing about your product (or sometimes even their problem) and being ready to buy by the end.

In other words, it’s a journey that gently warms up ice cold clicks.

So that by the end of the advertorial, they know how to solve their problem and why your product is the best option.

The “awareness scale” goes a little something like this…

Completely unaware – They don’t even know they have a problem to solve, and they know nothing about your product or company. This is the hardest prospect to crack, but also represents the largest potential market.

Problem aware – They know they have a problem to solve but are clueless on how to solve it.

Solution aware – They know how to solve their problem but don’t know what’s the best option. They’ve likely tried other products but been disappointed by the results, or they need convincing to try a new solution.

Completely aware – They know about your product and how it solves their problem. All you need to do is make an offer they can’t refuse.

Unless your advertorial takes them along this journey it has a snowball in hell’s chance of converting. And it’s a key reason why many advertorials fail.

So when plotting out your advertorial copywriting, you firstly need to identify where your target customer is on the “awareness scale”. 

Secondly, you need to plot out all the information you’d need to share to move them to the “completely aware” stage to ready to buy.

Think about sitting next to someone in a bar and hearing about a problem they have… 

Then think about what you’d need to tell them to convince them why nothing they’ve tried until now has worked, why a new discovery has made new solutions possible and why your product is the best option. 

Because ultimately that’s what makes advertorial copywriting powerful…

Not clever wordplay or witty metaphors…

But a compelling argument that makes buying the only sensible option.

Copywriting Advertorial Tip # 2 – Make it Look Like an Informative Article, Rather than a Sales Page

One of the secrets to an advertorial’s selling power is that it doesn’t look like an advert.

If you’ve ever clicked on any of those interesting looking “Sponsored Content” articles at the bottom of the CNN website, or on reputable sites like Forbes or the Weather channel, you’ve likely found yourself reading an advertorial without even realizing it.

Advertorials typically fall into one of the following categories:

  1. Breakthrough discovery e.g. Diabetes Breakthrough Silenced by Drug Companies
  2. Emotional story e.g. Father Saves His Family from Freezing and Never Needs to Pay for Energy Bills Again
  3. News or celebrity gossip e.g. Hollywood Beauty Hack Stars Use to Look 20 Years Younger 

Then when people click through and land on the advertorial they’re presented with a page that looks and reads like an informative article:

Advertorial Copywriting Tip # 3 – Weave Together Valuable Information with Powerful Storytelling

After people have clicked on the ad, your advertorial needs to deliver on providing further info related to the ad they clicked on…

Info that moves them further along the “awareness scale”…

AND info that makes them ready to buy by the end.

Now the key here is to build their interest in the solution slowly.

You don’t want them to realize too quickly you have something to sell. 

Otherwise their skepticism will shoot up, along with their mental barriers to buying.

Instead, plot your advertorial like a mini sales letter with these elements:

  • Address the pain they’re dealing with and show you understand what they’re going through.
  • Discuss the solutions they’ve tried already, and how frustrating it is that none of them worked
  • (Optional) Introduce a shared enemy who’s stopping them from solving their problem, or offering solutions that don’t work just to make money
  • Explain why none of the products they’ve tried have worked, due to them being incomplete in some way
  • Reveal how a new discovery led to you finding the missing piece of the puzzle
  • How the new solution works and why it’s so effective
  • Share either the hero’s story or stories of people who’ve benefited from this solution and how their lives were changed
  • How the reader can now also benefit from this solution at a limited time discounted rate on this page only

Want to know the best way of sharing all this info?

With an emotionally captivating story!

No doubt about it…

Telling stories is the best way to capture and hold people’s interest and trigger the emotional state that will motivate them to buy.

Remember, you’re competing with Facebook, YouTube and people’s favorite magazine for attention.

So if you want to win the war for people’s eyeballs, there’s no better way than telling a riveting story about their problem, like the ones you find in lifestyle magazines like Woman’s World, rather than a dry sales pitch.

Advertorial Copywriting Tip # 3 – 17 Storytelling Tips for High Converting Advertorials

Here are my tips on how to make your stories memorable, captivating and emotionally interesting for the reader:

  1. Interesting support characters – You could include a jealous neighbour, a lazy step brother, a quirky guru or a skeptical mother into your stories to make the story more interesting and to represent the views of the other people who’d influence a purchasing decision.
  2. A moment of crisis – Start the story in a moment of crisis to create drama, conflict and tension. Use surprise and shock and high contrast emotions to pull prospects into the story.
  3. Embrace the strange – Advertorials that have some quirky and strange elements stand out and are more memorable.
  4. Revenge – Give your story a happy ending with an undertone of revenge e.g. how losing weight enabled the hero to get revenge on a younger woman in the workplace.
  5. Create a “curiosity gap” – Ask an intriguing question the reader would be eager to know the answer to but don’t resolve it until the end.
  6. Show don’t tell – Use images as much as possible to illustrate the story and stop people scrolling.
  7. Dial up the fear – People are more motivated by bad outcomes than positive. So dial up fear by pressing the urgency and scarcity button.
  8. Endowment effect – People value things more if they feel they belong to them from the creation of desire. In other words, you’re selling the FEELING products give people rather than what they actually do, particularly when it comes to boosting people’s status.
  9. Time travel – Future pace the benefits so readers can experience having the product already and what their lives can be like with it to help solve a problem.
  10. Trigger the senses – People engage with things that appeal to multiple senses. So describe what people can hear, feel and smell to evoke the mood and state of mind that the product fits into.
  11. People love confessions – Consider starting the story like one friend speaking to another – I’ve got a confession to make, just between you and me, lean in close. I’m a little bit embarrassed to admit this, but…
  12. Use playful, fun and conversational captions for images – Often many people read only the captions. So write captions that promote the product’s benefits in an interesting and entertaining way. 
  13. Status booster – People often buy things purely for a status boost. So talk about how a product will boost their status and make other people envious.
  14. Insider discount – Talk about how the company leaked some info from an insider about the discount that’s on offer on this page only for a limited time. 
  15. Columbo close – Near the end tell the reader why the product may not be for them to pull it away, so they feel in control of the decision to buy. Then drop in a final extra benefit to push the product back towards them.
  16. Show the product’s flaws in a positive light – Describing how a product stopped working properly or had a fault can be an opportunity to demonstrate the client’s excellent customer service in putting things right.
  17. Champagne sales objects – Turn unexpected problems the product might cause into wonderful benefits e.g. an anti-aging cream makes women look so young they get hit on all the time at the mall.

Advertorial Copywriting Tip # 4 – Test Your Way to Success

I’d love to say that all you need to do is implement all the advertorial copywriting tips I’ve shared and you’ll hit a home run every time…

But life is never that simple.

As with all forms of advertising, success comes from creating multiple versions of your advertorial and testing to see which does best.

The good news is that you can test your ideas, themes and hooks as Facebook ads. 

This allows you to see what engages and resonates with your audience before creating an advertorial with all the bells and whistles.

I recommend testing 5-15 different themes. This could advertorials with different characters, different emergency situations and targeting different audiences.

Common themes for advertorials also include:

  • Listicles e.g. like the articles on Buzzfeed
  • A breaking news story 
  • A scientific breakthrough discovery 

You could also bump up the highest performing themes and ideas to your main sales page, or make them the focus of your entire campaign.

In fact, this is why I always advise clients to test their ideas as Facebook ads or emails to their list before they create a promotion. 

Getting feedback early can save a lot of time and money on a campaign that doesn’t resonate and plummets like a skydiver without a parachute.

Conclusion

As you can see, there’s lots of scope for harnessing advertorial copywriting to improve the conversion rate of your product pages, sales pages and ecom store.

Advertorials can: 

  1. Move people along the “awareness scale” so they’re ready to buy
  2. Gain and sustain people’s attention more effectively than most forms of advertising…
  3. Provide an excellent way to test your ideas before you create a new promotion.
  4. Lower your cold traffic costs by improving conversions and increase your ability to scale

I hope you found these advertorial copywriting tips helpful. They’re tips that have helped many of my clients improve the success rate of their campaigns.

If you’d like my help improving your advertorial copywriting or creating a new advertorial from scratch, please get in touch via email with some details of your project or book a 30 minute strategy call to discuss working together:

Advertorial Copywriting – Frequently Asked Questions

What is an advertorial?

An advertorial is a type of advertisement that’s written and designed to appear like editorial content. In other words, it’s designed to look like an article you’d read in a magazine. While it legally has to be labelled “Advertorial” at the top and carry a disclaimer, many people are unaware that it’s actually an advertisement. This allows it to swoop under people’s anti-advertising radar and present compelling content that keeps people reading before presenting the product. 

How much does an advertorial copywriter cost?

There are many factors involved in pricing how much an advertorial copywriter costs. This includes the advertorial length, complexity of the topic and the copywriter’s experience. You can find ballpark figures of what an advertorial copywriter may charge on the AWAI website. A standard industry rate is typically $1 per word.

How do you write an advertorial?

There are many approaches to writing advertorials. While my preferred form is as an emotionally charged story, advertorials can also be written from the perspective of an industry reporter, a skeptical reviewer or as a listicle.

What does advertorial mean?

An advertorial is a form of advertisement in a newspaper, magazine or a website which presents information about a product in the form of an article. Because advertorials are designed to appear and read like articles, they tend to face less skepticism from readers and can convert more highly than a straight sales pitch.