How to work with your special section writer
By Susan H. Burnell, APR

An advertorial or special advertising section is a great opportunity for you to tell your company’s story. It typically offers readers
newsworthy information and insights about “big picture” issues and trends, along with fresh, positive, interesting facts or success
stories about your company.

If your organization has made a print advertising purchase that entitles you to advertorial or special section content, the writer assigned
to the project is your greatest ally.

Sometimes, there is a disconnect between the person who buys the ad and the person who works with the writer. Or, your company
has never participated in a special section before and you aren’t sure what to expect. These tips can help you save a lot of time and
make the process go more smoothly.

Be available
  • Communicate with the writer early in the process.
  • Discuss the special section theme, length and deadline.
  • Provide your phone and e-mail contact information, best times to contact, and the city and time zone you’re in.

Be on target
  • Look at examples of special sections if you are unfamiliar with the format. (Forbes magazine posts its special sections at www.
  • Know the audience. This is especially important if you are telling a success story about your business. Your writer can guide
    you through the process of finding powerful examples that will have meaning for the reader.
  • Know your company’s key messages for the publication’s readers and share them with the writer.
  • Be selective in what you send the writer via email, fax or mail. It’s a good idea to ask first before sending huge files or DVDs.
    Photos will usually go to the publication design department, not the writer.

Be a resource
  • Supply your company’s Web address and access to your online newsroom if you have one.
  • Offer links or other sources for industry trends, recent studies or statistics.
  • If the writer requests a phone interview with a company executive or client, find a way to make this happen. Remember, it’s the
    advertorial writer’s job to portray your company in the best possible light. (So the interview will be a friendly one, and it need not
    be lengthy.)
  • If the writer needs your help obtaining a brief quote from an executive or spokesperson, it’s best to get a fresh one. The most
    effective quotes are conversational in tone.

A good relationship with your special section writer will help your company get the most out of its turn in the spotlight. The result will be
interesting, accurate and persuasive content that has lasting value as a promotional tool for your organization.  

About the author: Susan Burnell, APR is an accredited public relations professional and business writer based in Houston, Texas. Her
work has appeared in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, American Legacy, North Florida Doctor and numerous other magazines.
Burnell's bylined special sections have earned writing awards from the International Association of Business Communicators and the
Florida Public Relations Association. For more information visit
Imagination Ink
Business Writing & Public Relations
Imagination Ink
Business Writing & Public Relations