Your first thought is, “What on earth is advertorial?”
No, it’s not adversarial. It’s advertising plus editorial, those articles you see in the newspaper that are actually ads. They’re paid for like ads, but they’re written by freelancers like me. I don’t get paid in truckloads of twenties, but I get something far more important than money.
First, I get experience. I get to enter into the world of a business owner, a contractor, a chiropractor, a college president. (For the record: yes, a college president. When I was a student, I had no chance of meeting a college president, but as a “reporter” I’m suddenly a desirable sort of human to have around. Intriguing switch, that.)
For a moment I see the universe through my client’s eyes. I learn about parts of the world I never imagined, and I’m allowed to ask questions without feeling like an idiot because there’s no way I should already know this stuff. The individual often drops the public persona and becomes, for just a moment, a regular man or woman who happens to be living a dream.
And that leads to the most important joy: the enthusiasm. Every time I write advertorial pieces, I’m astonished by the excitement of the person I interview.
It makes sense: if these individuals didn’t love what they were doing, they would have remained in the less-risky corporate environments they originally came from. Instead, they find in their own business a reason to get up in the morning, put in a 15-hour day, and go home thinking about the next day’s work.
And when they tell me about their business, like a sponge, I absorb their thrill. In order to write them a piece that scintillates with their enthusiasm, I pick it up. I reach into their hearts in order to find that gem which makes their job worthwhile, and when I find it, my article becomes that jewel’s setting.
While I’m writing, I’m writing in their voices, expressing their dreams, and imparting to anyone who reads the same sense of excitement. You as the writer want their business to succeed just as much as they do. You see this business or venture as a real thing of value in an otherwise dismal and heartless world.
It is, in a word, marvelous. And that’s why I do it, year after year.
Intrigued? Let’s take it one step further, then, and learn how to hook the reader!