Explanation of the difference between a press release, editorial and an advertorial

November 21, 2011

At Rhetoric PR, we are frequently asked to explain the difference between a  press release, editorial and an advertorial. So here is a brief guide.

A press release is a factual piece of information telling a story, that allows the journalist / editor to embellish and elaborate on it and tell the story in their own words. It should NOT use flowery, superfluous language. The press release should also be devoid of spin – it is not designed to be a marketing brochure for your company and it’s products / services and if it does present itself as one, the recipient will almost certainly press the delete button if the press release is sent as an e-mail or furnish the litter bin if sent as hard, paper copy!! Besides using a “hook” ie finding a newsworthy or topical angle or general point of interest, the press release should address five critical points – who, what, where, when and why. Anything more and essentially you are doing the journalist’s job and he or she will not take kindly to that!! So keep the press release objective and leave the journalist / editor to interpret it in their own words and put an editorial slant on it.

The aim of the press release is to entice the editor / journalist on a newspaper, radio or TV station to create an editorial around it, based on the merits of the story and it’s potential interest to the reader, listener or viewer. Editorial is another word for newspaper / magazine article or radio / TV feature.

An advertorial is essentially paid for space ( like an advert ) where you provide the publication with a complete editorial feature / article ( with photos / images ), which they will not change. Essentially it is a more subtle form of advert masquerading as editorial ( hence the fusion of the two words to arrive at “advertorial” ). Unlike an advert, the content of the advertorial should NOT be a direct sales tool but an article of general interest, designed to educate or enlighten the reader. The advertorial visual example opposite points out the hazards and pitfalls of buying a cheap sofa and by inference suggests the place to buy a quality sofa is at the shop subtley referenced in the advertorial. However to avoid confusion, the publication will normally distance itself by print a disclaimer “Advertisement or Advertisement feature” at the top, so that the reader knows it is not a totally objective article written by the publication. Advertorials are only to be found in newspapers or magazines.

If you are an SME ( Small / Medium Enterprise / Company ) and you require help with your PR & Marketing, we would be happy to assist you. For further information…….. www.rhetoric-artofpersuasion.com/marketing-for-small-businesses/


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