To promote his home center, Steve Lundon went beyond traditional advertising. Instead, the owner of Northern Do-it Center in Fort Frances, Ontario published weekly how-to and DIY articles in the Fort Frances Times newspaper. “The tips are a great marketing tool,” said Steve. “Customers tell me they love checking our site for info and ideas, and can’t wait for the next tip of the week. Naturally, when it comes time to tackle their projects, they turn to us.”

If you can offer regular advice to your customers, find out if local publications – print or online – will let you publish a column. They may want you to pay for the space or advertise alongside it – but you might just work out a free deal if you’re providing solid, valuable content.

Use these three tips to make your advertorial content work harder for you

1. Personalize your piece. Your photo above the column and some personal information within the body helps readers connect. Even if it’s an advertorial for a major corporation, putting a name or a face to it makes it more inviting. Generic information from head office, with the dealer’s name stamped on it, doesn’t carry the same impact.

2. Blatant product pushing is out. Aside from the fact that you won’t get a newspaper to slot it in as editorial if it’s advertising, this diminishes its impact. Even in ad format, the copy should keep it’s helpful integrity, and product advertising should be clearly separate.

3. Don’t attempt to launch a regular column unless you know you can keep up. Publications are more likely to consider your submission as editorial if they can count on regular delivery. Or seek out syndicated material you can customize. Steve’s secret: a syndicated service run by myFavoriteMarketer, which provided the columns in print and online format every week.