Articles vs editorials vs advertorials vs press releases: what’s the difference?

An example of an advertorial I wrote for Vale Furnishers
An example of an advertorial I wrote for Vale Furnishers

I’m often asked about the difference between articles, editorials, advertorials and press releases. So I thought it might be useful to draw up a guide…

Articles – covers everything

  • There are many types of articles. They include:
    • News articles. These appear in newspapers, magazines and on news sites. They objectively report on a piece of news.
    • Opinion articles. These give an opinion on a product, service, event, policy or piece of news.
    • Feature articles. These sit somewhere in between news and opinion articles. They are stories/insights on a given topic, often including information, advice or entertainment/humour.
    • Blog posts. These are online-only, regularly-posted articles written in friendly, conversational language, inviting participation from readers (hence why you’ll see a comments box at the end of a blog post).
    • Editorials, advertorials and press releases are all other types of articles.
  • To further illustrate the point, I write blog posts for this website and for Behind The Curtain. I wrote an opinion article on Twitter ASBOs for legal magazine The Report earlier this year. And I just wrote a feature article about the legal aid cuts and why I stopped being a lawyer, which was framed more as a story, for legal magazine The Clapham Omnibus (which I republished here last week).

Editorials – the clue’s in the name

  • Editorials are articles written by editors. They’re not written by businesses, advertising agencies, freelance copywriters or anyone else who contributes to the publication.
  • Editorials express the opinions of the editors or publishers; they represent the views of the newspaper or magazine itself.
  • Because editorials are opinion pieces, they use subjective and emotive language, as opposed to the objective statements that you expect in news articles.

Advertorials – adverts in editorial disguise

  • Advertorials are paid-for advertisements made to look like editorials or feature articles.
  • Like editorials, advertorials express opinions, but they are written by businesses, advertising agencies and freelance copywriters.
  • Businesses use advertorials to promote new products/services. Advertorials express the writer’s opinion on those products and services, subtly influencing readers as to their benefits.
  • Readers tend to skim over traditional hard-sell ads. They are instead drawn to the articles in a publication. By transforming your advert into a ‘story’ resembling the other feature articles in the publication, you can persuade the reader to buy your product or service more effectively.

Press releases – think of them as news articles

An example of a press release I wrote for Miko Coffee
An example of a press release I wrote for Miko Coffee
  • Press releases are news stories written by businesses. For example, when businesses open new offices, appoint new directors, take part in events or launch new products or services, they use press releases to inform the public.
  • Unlike advertorials, which are written with lots of opinion, press releases are objective – like all other news articles ought to be. This means they are devoid of ‘spin’ and flowery or emotive language. They should be concise and to the point and address five key points: who, what, when, where and why.
  • Having said that, press releases are still a promotional tool for businesses. They keep businesses in touch with the public and promote the business indirectly. You might think of an advertorial as an advert disguised as an editorial, and a press release as an advert disguised as a news article.
  • To illustrate: in the past I’ve written press releases to inform the public that I’ve published a book. Each article was a piece of news, but it functioned to advertise the book at the same time.
  • Unlike advertorials, press releases are free, though there is no guarantee of publication. Making sure they are well-written and newsworthy and submitting to the right publications are the best ways of getting your press releases published.

Did you find this article useful? Please like and share it if you did! And if you need any help with advertorial writing or press release writing, you can contact me on 07411 331721 or cr_berry@outlook.com. For more information about the services I offer and the projects I’ve worked on, please visit my Services and Portfolio pages.

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4 comments

  1. Press releases are not free. I think you meant you’re not paying on a scaling model, but companies like prweb, epressreleases, businessinsider, etc. all charge a premium for their services. More than small businesses will want to pay in many cases.

    Like

    • Thanks for your comment. Using a press release service like the ones you mentioned is different, and yes, you have to pay, but I haven’t touched on these in my article. Press releases by nature are free. You can submit them to any publication you see fit, and if they are newsworthy/interesting and the publication has room, they will be published. But there are no guarantees.

      Like

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