Last week I took a page out of my friend Chris Orzechowski’s book and surveyed my list before relaunching Version 2 of the Advertorial 101 Course.

The goal was to learn what most marketers found confusing or difficult about creating pre-sale copy and funnels for cold traffic.

This way I can make sure version 2 of the program delivers EXACTLY what you need to confidently and successfully create pre-sale pages for your clients or your own business.

I learned a lot from your responses, and a some of your questions surprised me!

So I want to share what I learned here – because it’s always nice to know where other peoples’ heads are at.

Plus – this is a great example of how to lead with what the market whats (rather than what you THINK they want) when creating a new product or offer.

Here’s what I found after sifting through all the answers.

NOTE: Many of these questions allowed for multiple answers. So if you’re wondering why the percentages don’t add up to 100%…. that’s why. I may focus mainly on the wordz… but my math isn’t THAT bad. 

The Real Reason You Want To Learn About Advertorials and Pre-Sale Funnels

When I asked WHY you were interested in taking the program, I figured most people would want to write advertorials exclusively for clients.

So I was surprised when the majority of you said you wanted to sell your own products instead.

  • 71% said they wanted to sell more of their own products
  • 70% said they wanted to write for clients
  • and 59% said their main goal was to round out their skills as a marketer

This makes a lot of sense once you told me more about how you do business.

  • 65% said they were Freelance copywriters
  • 35% said they were business owners
  • 18% are media buyers
  • 17% are information publishers
  • 12% are employed, in-house copywriters
  • and 6% are other types of freelance marketers

It was great to see that, while most of the responses came from freelance copywriters, a good chunk of that group also thinks of themselves as business owners.

Y’all be wearing all the hats over there like….

That means, not only can you use what you learn to improve the client side of your business – you’ll also get to “double dip” and apply that knowledge to your own products and business growth as well.

Based on responses to other questions, I’m assuming the “other types of freelancers” are mostly SEO Professionals or Affiliate Marketers…

Which is great – because advertorials are a GREAT way to capture more of your product-based website traffic, and increase conversions on your affiliate sites or SEO-optimized copy.

The Most Confusing Thing About Advertorials

I also asked what was most confusing about creating advertorials and pre-sale funnels. This one caught me off guard.

  • A whopping 47% said that they were confused about the best way to outline, format, and structure an advertorial. This includes creating templates and understanding the “flow” of the piece as well.
  • 12% said they were confused about how to choose the best theme or hook for their customer’s mindset
  • 12% said they weren’t sure how or when to use advertorials, or how they fit into the whole sales funnel
  • 11% said they were confused about how to sell advertorials to clients
  • 11% weren’t sure how direct they should be in their messaging (i.e. balancing the editorial content vs the ad that makes up an ad+vertorial)
  • 6% said understanding the psychology behind advertorials, or the reader’s mindset, was the most difficult part.

I was especially surprised by that last one because – when I’m coaching people on how to write advertorials – one of the biggest things I see writers struggle with is being too direct in their messaging.

The success behind advertorials lies in the writer’s ability to provide interesting, valuable, and curiosity-driven editorial content, and slip in a little bit of “Ad” to drive readers to the next part in the funnel.

A big part of this is understanding your reader’s specific awareness level (their current mindset), and then helping them move further along in the buyer’s decision making process without pushing them too fast.

I have a theory about this, which I’ll go into a bit deeper in a moment. This was backed up by the responses to my next question.

I asked, if you could only choose ONE thing to learn about in this program – what would that be?

Here’s what you said out of the multiple options I provided:

  • 53% – How to design and structure an advertorial
  • 24% – The psychology behind the advertorial
  • 18% – How to design a whole pre-sale funnel
  • 12% – How to tell great stories in advertorials
  • 0% – How to publish advertorials
  • 0% How to choose the hook or theme that will resonate best with your audience

This is interesting because a lot of things you found most confusing about advertorials were NOT what you said you’d choose if you could only focus on one major topic.

Instead, the responses overwhelmingly said you’d prefer to learn about the structure and outline of advertorials.

I found this surprising because, to me, this is the easiest part of writing advertorials. It’s a good reminder not to get bogged down in that whole “curse of knowledge” conundrum.

Just because something is easy for you, doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable to others.

Since this is a huge sticking point for most people, it also tells me that some people might be looking for a template or formatting guide for how to outline an advertorial – rather than the principles behind how it works.

Having written hundreds of advertorials across dozens of niches, I know that the principles are extra important, because THAT’S what allows me to adapt this skill set to any market, type of business, type of client, type of product, customer awareness level, etc.

It’s what allows me to come in as an expert consultant, find the weak spots in any funnel, and help my clients get a quick win for their business.

If you don’t learn the principles BEHIND the thing, you’re gonna have trouble “leveling up” your skills past a certain point. And then you’re gonna have to be all like….

… and go back to the basics.

But I also know that sometimes you simply need a freakin’ guide to help you know where to start.

That way you can stop worrying and start practicing – which is really the best way to learn.

So don’t worry, we’ll dive deep into BOTH the principles and the guided structure of creating a great advertorial!

We’ll dig into the psychology behind advertorials (and the customers who read them) – including awareness levels, choosing the right theme for your audience, etc.

And we’ll also walk through a structured template that I used to kick-start my brain whenever I need to write a new advertorial. This is the same system I used to train new writers at the advertorial agency I ran before I re-focused on working with clients full-time as a freelancer.

I also left a space in the survey for people to fill in their own answers. Most of these were about learning to sell, price, and create advertorials for clients. Things like pricing your services, developing project contracts, prospecting to find advertorial clients, and closing the deal.

Others said they wanted to learn more about researching the customers and story ides – as well as find real-world examples of what’s working now.

Miscellaneous “other” fields talked about adapting the structure to a specific business or market,  understanding compliance related to Facebook ad funnels, and how to use content networks like Taboola or Outbrain.

The “Dream Come True” Scenario For Learning How To Create Pre-Sale Copy

One of the most important questions I asked, was what RESULT you would need to see at the end of the program for you to feel like you got your money’s worth.

This is SO important to me, because I don’t take your trust, time, or attention lightly. I want this to be the best program on advertorials and pre-sale copy out there, and I want you to feel like you’ve gotten overwhelming value.

So I was excited to see that this is where most people went in-depth with their answers. There were a lot of different ideas, but to sum it up, most of the answers fell into these categories:

  • 41% – Walking away with a completed advertorial after receiving direct coaching and feedback on your writing.

Most of you said you wanted help creating a finished advertorial that you could use to convert cold traffic audiences now, or use to develop a template you can use again and again.

Again – going back to that structured guide or template….

They also said they’d like to dig deeper into how to adapt that template to different niches, such as financial, health, SaaS, and digital marketing industries.

  • 30% – Strategy, process and methodology

A lot of the responses asked about my process behind creating a successful advertorials.

A few people mentioned my agency where we wrote advertorials and pre-sale pages for affiliate marketers and SEO professionals. They asked if we could walk through the same process I used there to train new writers quickly – which is a good idea.

So I’ve decided that in this version of the program we’ll go through a detailed skeleton of an advertorial, and break down the structure and different sections that make up a great pre-sale piece.

This will help you build your own template, that you can easily adapt to different offers and markets.

Other responses included:

  • 17% – How to design and build a whole pre-sale funnel from scratch
  • 17% – Learn what’s working now in the real-world, with lots of examples
  • 17% – How to confidently speak to clients about advertorials and help them improve their cold traffic funnels as an expert consultant
  • 5% – How to split test different variables such as story ideas, types of different advertorial structures, etc.
  • 5% – Said they would only be happy if we could cover absolutely everything mentioned in the last question about “the one thing” you want to learn – which is certainly the goal for this next round.

And then one cheeky bugger said they would only be happy if we had a plethora of ridiculous memes sprinkled throughout the program. I do love me some memes. I could be persuaded.

How Should We Take A Bit Of This Big Ole’ Elephant?

There’s something my Dad always says that is equal parts infuriating and true…

“How do you eat an elephant?

… one bite at a time.”

That’s why we’re going to take this piece by piece, and I also asked about the structure of the program in the survey.

One of the biggest differences in this new round from the “test” version released last year (besides going WAY deeper into the process of creating an advertorial) – is that this program is going to be completely LIVE.

Each lesson will be a live Zoom call – and we’ll have a recording for those who can’t make it, or want to review what they learn.

You’ll get homework on each of those calls that will take you step-by-step through researching and writing a great advertorial from scratch.

In addition to the live lessons, we’re also going to have LIVE Q&A calls.

In the survey, an overwhelming amount of people said they’d like to do the lessons and Q&A calls on alternating weeks.

1 – lesson the first week
2 – then Q&A call the second week
3 – lesson the 3rd week
4 – Q&A call the 4th week… etc.

This structure worked really well when I taught the Escape Velocity program with Kevin Rogers in Copy Chief. It not only gives you time to digest the lessons before asking questions…

… but also gives you time to do your homework and try out what you learned, then fill in the gaps by asking questions the following week.

‘Aint Nobody Got Time For That

I also asked what you hated about other courses in the past.

So we can make sure we… you know… NOT do that.

Most people said they hated when course material was too shallow, or too fluffy. This included having too much theory, and not enough practical process that tells you exactly how to “do the thing.”

The other big no-no was not having enough real-life examples to follow.

And finally – not having an organized, structured, well-planned course curriculum from start to finish…

Or even worse, not communicating that curriculum properly, which made people feel lost, or confused about where to find course resources.

Let’s Talk About The Munny Hunny

Finally, if you were able to get everything in your “Dream Come True” scenario, and avoid everything on the “talk to the hand” no-no list…

… I asked how much you’d expect to pay for a program like this.

I was surprised that many of you said you’d expect to pay over $1000, or even up to $2k!

So THAT’S good to know…

But we’re not going to do that right now.

This program will NOT cost $1000 for this pilot version. But it will go up in the future because I’ve seen first hand how well this pre-sale stuff works.

For this pilot round, my main goal is to make sure everyone who wants to is able to get in, ask questions, and dig deep into what they need to learn to confidently and successfully create pre-sale pages that actually work.

My goal is for you to take what you learn here and go make good MUNNIES from it – both a as freelancer or a business owners selling your own offers. That’s my “dream come true” scenario for this program.

And as a thank you for bringing your questions, and your challenges, and sharing your thoughts as we dig deep into all-things-advertorial – I’m happy to have this pilot class join in the next upgraded round for free as well.

So if you haven’t already, click here to sign up for the Advertorial 101 Training Program waiting list.

This bigger, badder, BETTER version releases in less than 2 months. And thanks to your honesty and feedback – it’s going to be one program you don’t want to miss.