Best Practices: Blogger Disclosure Examples and Tips

You’re primed with the basics on the FTC and “disclosures,” but now you’re wondering how to put all that information into practice?  This article will walk you through some blogger disclosure examples to reference whenever you spread sponsored messages through your social network.

FTC Disclosures for Bloggers

While there is no “right” type of disclosure, there are definitely types of disclosures that the FTC has said may be insufficient.  Given what we do know, here are some examples and tips to consider when crafting your disclosures.

Blogger Disclosure Examples

1. Facebook

CHALLENGE:  You have enough space for a full disclosure, but you’ll never rise to the top of your readers’ feeds if your status update is too lengthy.

  • Ad: I’m loving my new Brand X Infant Car Seat, especially because I know it will keep Baby safe! Thanks @Brand X!
  • Sponsored by @Brand X: Thanks for the Brand X Infant Car Seat – love it and am glad that I can rest easy knowing Baby is safe!
  • Affiliate link: Brand X is having a 20% off sale today – use promo code 123.
  • We heart our new Brand X Infant Car Seat – you can win one over on @Brand X’s Facebook Page! #sponsored
  • Love our new Brand X Infant Car Seat we just got from @Brand X.  Check out its awesome safety rating on @Brand X’s Website! #advertisement
  • Get 20% off your Brand X Infant Car Seat with promo code 123. (Heads up: it’s an affiliate link).

Tip: Consider whether you’re getting your reader to click the affiliate/sponsored link before ever getting to the disclosure – as in the last 3 examples above.  If so, your disclosure may not be effective.  (This applies across all social media platforms).  Also, you can’t always assume your audience knows what “affiliate link” means – you may need to explain further.

2. Twitter

CHALLENGE: Limited to 140 characters, you’ll need to maximize your words while clearly conveying your disclosure.

  • Lead with “Ad:” or “Sponsored” 
  • Lead with #Ad or #Sponsored
  • Affiliate link: _______
  • Sponsored link: ________

Tip:  Using the abbreviated hashtag #spon is not sufficient.

3. Blog Posts

CHALLENGE:  You don’t want to use up valuable SEO real estate in the opening paragraphs of your post.

Here’s where you should use a full disclosure paragraph, plus you can direct readers to your Disclosure Page if you have one.  (But remember that only hyperlinking to your Disclosure Page without making your disclosure directly in your blog post is not enough).  If you balk at an entire paragraph inserted before your content, pare it down to a sentence or two and follow up at the end of your post with more information or explanation.

  • I received a free Infant Car Seat from Brand X in exchange for writing a review on the blog.  
  • I went to a free screening of Movie X and received additional compensation from Company Y.
  • This post contains sponsored links from Company X.
  • This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive _____.
  • Beginning of post:  This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links. End of post:  I received compensation in exchange for writing this review.  [Optional: Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.] This post contains affiliate links, which means _____.

Tip:  Disclosures that aren’t made until the end of your post when you’ve inserted affiliate or sponsored links in the content that comes before the disclosure may be construed as misleading.

4.  Google+/Pinterest/Instagram

CHALLENGE:  You have the space, but you don’t want to use it.

If you don’t want to make a lengthy disclosure – even if you have the space for it – remember that you can still make a clear and conspicuous disclosure without cluttering the beauty of your audience’s feed.

  • Take advantage of clear, one word intros like “Ad,” “Advertisement,” and “Sponsored” and make the rest of your description sing.

Tip: If you create a Pinterest board solely for a particular brand, you should consider disclosing that fact in the Board title and/or the Board pins.  If you get a commission for click-throughs, purchases, or re-pins, you have another reason to disclose.

5. Affiliate Links

CHALLENGE:  You’re uncomfortable disclosing that you’re making money off of your audience.

  • Affiliate link: _____.
  • This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive ____ if you make a purchase using this link.

Tip:  There’s no way around this disclosure.  If you’re too uncomfortable to disclose affiliate links, you probably shouldn’t be using them.

Do you have a specific disclosure dilemma? Share it in the comments or e-mail us at bloggylawyer [at] gmail [dot] com and we might address it in an upcoming article or in our weekly series, What’s The Deal.

Up Next In this Series:

  • Best Practices {Bloggers}: 5 Simple Ways to Solve Your Daily Disclosure Dilemmas
  • Best Practices {Brands}: What Disclosures Should I Require In My Blogger Campaign?


Disclaimer:  This article is intended to be a general resource only and is not intended to be nor does it constitute legal advice.  Any recommendations are based on personal, not professional, opinion only.  For information on how to use this site, please read our Disclaimers and FAQ pages.

Comments

  1. So what if you are a regular contributor to a product’s blog. You only work with that one company, it is not a paying gig, but you do receive goods to use in the post. What type of disclosure is appropriate in this case? Thanks much! :)

    • Hi Kim – Do you mean you are posting on the company’s blog and not your own blog? If you are posting to the company’s blog, the company will be able to tell you what you need to disclose. If you are posting about free products you received from the company on your own blog, then following the FTC Guidelines would seem appropriate. Free products can be considered compensation, so that is something to consider.

  2. I thought that using a graphic or photo was not an acceptable form of disclosure since they do not always show up on all forms of delivery. For example, photos may not show up in emails. Can you clarify? Thanks.

    • Great question, Erica. Whenever you are making a disclosure, you need to make sure it is not just understandable, but actually readable in the format your audience will consume the information. So, if you’re talking about sending out a dedicated newsletter or e-mail and you think the photos will not be displayed, you should also include a text disclosure. A photo disclosure may be appropriate on a desktop-consumed site or if you are receiving compensation for clicks through on a Pinterest pin and the pinned photo contains a disclosure in the photo itself, for example. The point is to not “hide the ball” from your readers and be upfront and clear with them.

      • Thanks for answering Chrissy! I’ve just noticed that when subscribers get my blog posts via emails, the images (like, for example, Amazon image links) don’t always display (they would have to click on the “display images below” button). I’m guessing a good work around would be to truncate the RSS feed so that that in order to see the links they would have to see the image disclosure, too.

  3. Thanks for the great article. It is just what I was searching for. I like that you included actual examples of what one can say.

Trackbacks

  1. […] add this information in understandable language to your disclosure policy and/or privacy […]

  2. […] shared a few examples of blogger disclosures for sponsored posts, reviews, and affiliate links, but you’ve sent us more detailed questions asking when to disclose a sponsored relationship […]

  3. […] Best Practices {Bloggers}: How Do I Make The Right Disclosures? […]

  4. […] case you’d like to start disclosing, here’s a nice post with some tips on how you can do […]

  5. […] If you’re a blogger or a brand as well as a reader, please join me at Bloggy Law, a website featuring articles on the intersection of law and social media.  I’ll be sharing weekly tips for Bulletproofing Your Blog & Brand, like this. […]

  6. […] Blogger Disclosures Examples and Tips | Bloggy Law […]