At one time, banner ads ruled as the way to catch the attention of potential customers online. Today, the mix of advertising and content marketing has become much more complex. Advertising is just one tool in the arsenal of businesses that are successfully engaging their customers online. And, that advertising has to be more creative and in line with the content that people expect to see online. One way to deliver marketing content in an interesting way is by using advertorials.
Advertorials have been around a very long time. In definition they are “an advertisement that imitates editorial.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advertorial These types of “native advertising” are really articles promoting the benefits, capabilities and product or services of an organization and are made to look like editorial content. Devoting an entire article to pitching your product or services can be a powerful way to draw in potential buyers, but there are guidelines you must follow if you use advertorials.
Just recently Google announced that it was scrutinizing and penalizing sites that post articles (or advertorials) for payment. According to Matt Cutts, Distinguished Engineer, Google has always held to not providing PageRank for Paid Advertising and any Paid Advertising should prominently display that the article is paid for. The article should not follow PageRank as advertorials should not affect search rankings in any way. Google now penalized sites for not disclosing advertorials and have trying to pass PageRank through articles that were paid for, affecting search engine rankings. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SmlsfSqmOw
Matt said this guideline for links or advertorials that are paid, “If money changed hands the link or article shouldn’t pass PageRank. Also all paid articles need to make clear and conspicuous disclosure.” He also states, “if you don’t disclose, Google may remove the page and content and potentially from Google News.” What does that mean to your business? It means, if you offer up paid advertorial content, be sure a disclosure is also included. If you offer any space on your site for paid articles, be sure to implement no follow tags and add the disclosure.
So, use caution when posting advertorials and get creative with your marketing content. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2013 Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends: “On average, 28% of B2C marketing budgets are allocated to content marketing, and 55% of consumer marketers plan to increase their content marketing spend.” (http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/b2cresearch2013cmi-121113201300-phpapp02.pdf ) Customers want to be entertained, engaged and informed. Engagement is the key and creating content that differentiates helps a brand really stand out.