Advertorials Give New Life to Print
Magazines like Worth are seeing growth from advertorials.
Advertorialsâ€”the original â€śpaid contentâ€ťâ€”are no stranger to magazines. Marketing that looks like content is always attractive to advertisers and as publishers agonize over plummeting print revenue and clients starting to do their own branded Webinars, events and even magazines, advertorials are a way to lure them back and even hit budget.
Readerâ€™s Digest Associationâ€™s Taste of Home recently announced it will produce custom editorial columns that are more â€śsynergisticâ€ť with advertisersâ€™ promotional goals. Taste of Home created custom in-book sections that feature branded recipe cards for client Jimmy Dean that run next to the magazineâ€™s own recipe cards section.
According to RDAâ€™s Taste of Home and Home & Garden Media Group vice president and publisher Lora Gier, these sections are clearly marked as advertising and all advertorial sections are â€śnew pagesâ€ť that donâ€™t take away from existing editorial pages.
â€śThe conversations we have are very strategic versus just discussing demographics and rates,â€ť Gier says. â€śWe are winning exclusive business through these partnerships.â€ť
Advertorials Without the â€śAdvertisingâ€ť Tag
However, other publishers are pushing the boundaries of advertorials. Worth, which was acquired by Sandow Media in 2008, has launched a comprehensive new advertorial program targeting personal wealth advisors.
Worth charges financial advisors $2,495 per month or about $30,000 per year (the minimum commitment) to receive two-page profiles in six issues, free reprints, magazine subscriptions worth up to $11,000 for the advisorâ€™s clients and a hard cover book with advisor profiles.
However, Worth isnâ€™t labeling profiles as â€śadvertisingâ€ť but includes a sentence in the preamble of the profile section indicating that they are paid for.
â€śItâ€™s a brave new world of publishing and weâ€™re looking at a different business model,â€ť says Worth publisher Patrick Williams. â€śWe are looking at a business model where 50 percent of our revenue will come from the brokers and wealth advisory committees, as well as attorneys who want an alterative way of reaching their clients.â€ť
Williams says the magazine vets all of its profiles through the Paladdin Registry, which tracks financial advisors, so it can back up whatâ€™s said in the profiles. â€śOne of our wealth advisorsâ€”who manages $1.1 billionâ€”insists on 20 distinct touch points with his clients and now six or seven of his touch points are taken care of by the magazine,â€ť adds Williams.
A New Publisher/Client Dynamic
Internally, Worth has marketing managers who look after each client and Williams says selling and developing the profiles takes much longer than the process for selling a display ad. â€śWeâ€™re almost in the business of marketing as well as advertising and magazine management,â€ť he adds. â€śWeâ€™re bringing a whole new marketing set to the publishing business. The fact that weâ€™re a bi-monthly works out well.â€ť
Williams expects the advertorial program to account for 50 to 60 percent of the magazineâ€™s revenue in the near future, or $7 million to $8 million per year.
â€śWe want to return to that time when other revenue streams were where publications made their money and display advertising was icing on the cake,â€ť says Williams. â€śWe will work as hard as we can for national advertisers but we want to bring it back to the point where that is bonus time for me.â€ť
Of the 24 charter marketers in Worthâ€™s first advertorial, 21 were in the wealth management business while the rest were attorneys.
â€śWe were expecting that most of them would have a good response to the marketing piece, but when I asked them how it was going, they cited the profiles as a direct driver of $51 million being moved into their portfolios,â€ť says Williams.