How ad campaigns help reinforce editorial coverage—and vice versa.

By Gretchen Kast

Marketing takes many different forms these days. From traditional advertising and social media promotion to sponsored content and thought leadership, there are numerous avenues through which to communicate your brand message with potential customers. But, unfortunately, thanks to the nature of our always-connected world, many of these marketing efforts are easily lost in the near constant stream of information. Smart marketers know that most target audiences are overwhelmed, and to reach them they can no longer rely on any single platform alone. The best way to actually connect with potential customers is to reach them multiple times, using multiple techniques. As such, it’s vital for both marketers and publishers to understand the symbiotic relationship between editorial and advertising.

For Marketers

No matter your mission or industry, your company has the talent and know-how your target market is looking for. And there are likely members of your team who are experts in your field. So how are you communicating the value of that knowledge to prospects?

Smart marketers know that sharing expertise—widely, at no cost to readers—is a way to earn respect and trust in your industry. Content placements build brand awareness and reinforce advertising efforts. By pairing editorial with an advertising campaign, you further amplify your message—helping potential customers connect the dots and reinforce their understanding of your brand.

Determine what kind of expertise your company offers and start pitching content pieces to relevant media outlets. Just make sure you do your homework beforehand. Editors likely receive a number of pitches every day; expect them to be quick to delete an email if it isn’t immediately clear why your story is a good fit for their publication.

For Publishers

In today’s media climate, publishers need to stay on the cutting edge of content and marketing trends.Where print ads were once the main funder of many publications, today’s readers and marketers expect more. Paid editorial opportunities as well as more dynamic forms of media like podcasts and video content all provide marketers with the multi-channel solutions they need. While “advertorial” options can help open doors to new prospective advertisers, paid programs are not the only way for publishers to leverage editorial opportunities into new advertising contracts.

Developing new columns, special features and experimenting with new platforms for your publication will keep your content fresh and help you engage a larger audience. Increased page views, social media engagement and general buzz all translate into important reach and readership statistics—the meaningful selling points potential advertisers use to inform purchasing decisions.

But your editorial calendar can provide even more guidance for sales calls. If a company is going to be featured in an upcoming story, that creates an ideal opportunity to reach out to them about advertising. Same goes for said company’s competitors. Even if the upcoming story does not feature specific organizations – you can still reach out to companies who may be relevant to the article’s topic.

Be careful to avoid transforming your publication into a pay-for-play platform. Prioritize editorial, always. Focus on crafting interesting, relevant content instead of allowing your editorial calendar be dictated by your advertiser list. Just as marketers are looking to build trust among potential customers, publishers have a similar responsibility to their readers to provide them with honest, pertinent coverage.

When it comes to paid editorial, be thoughtful about building programs so that they do not overwhelm your organic stories. It’s ok to be choosy; don’t pitch a paid editorial program to a company that wouldn’t interest your audience. Putting limits on the frequency and quantity of these stories not only boosts the visibility for the advertisers – it helps maintain the integrity of your publication.

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