Your Five Top Questions About Blogger Disclosures Answered

We’ve 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 and how to creatively draft a disclosure without putting off readers. This article answers your specific questions about blogger disclosures and shares our easiest tip for helping you conquer your daily disclosure dilemmas: the Transparency Test.

The Transparency Test

As we shared earlier, truth in advertising principles apply to blogger reviews, posts, affiliate links, and sponsored social media shares. Your goal is to be transparent to your readers about your relationships with companies and whether you stand to financially gain from your reader’s purchases. When deciding whether, when, and how to disclose those relationships, ask yourself these two questions:

  • Am I being transparent and truthful with my readers about the relationship? (Does she know I was paid to write this review?)
  • Is my disclosure about the relationship clear and conspicuous? (Will she ever find my disclosure? And once she gets there, can she understand it?)

 Your Disclosure Questions Answered

1. I received a free ticket to an event/a free product, do I need to disclose that relationship in the blog post write up about the event/product?

Ask Yourself: Can my reader tell that I received the free entry/product?

The FTC is pretty clear in Example 21 of .com Disclosures that reviewing a product you receive for free must include a a disclosure.  The key to effectiveness here is whether your reader knows you received free entry/product before she continues reading your review or clicks away from the post before she reads your disclosure.

Blogger-Disclosure-Questions-Answered

2. If I use affiliate or sponsored links, do I need to write “affiliate link” every time I insert a link into the post or share it via social media?

Ask Yourself: Will my reader know that the link is sponsored BEFORE she clicks on it?

The point of disclosing that a link you’ve shared is an affiliate or sponsored link is to let your reader know BEFORE she clicks on it so she can make an informed decision whether to click and know in advance that the content is sponsored or that she may be taken to an affiliate purchasing page.

3. How do I balance SEO and disclosures?

Ask Yourself:  Is there a way I can still put my reader on notice that this post is sponsored or contains affiliate links without getting dinged by search engines for using the words “affiliate” or “sponsored”?

Get creative with your disclosure as long as you are still being transparent and the message is clear and conspicuous. Use a graphic or photo instead of text, for example. Tell your reader you were delighted to receive an X to try from company Y. As long as you’re still disclosing your relationship with a brand or company, there’s no need to stick to a specific script or use the words “sponsored” or “affiliate” if you’ve found another way to convey the same message.

4. Do I need to use a hashtag in my social media disclosure?

Ask Yourself: Am I trying to make my tweet, pin, or status update searchable via that hashtag?

Hashtags are great for readers to search topics they’re interested in, like #kidscrafts, for example. Using a hashtag like #ad is unlikely to draw in more traffic to your site. (Note: sometimes using a hashtag is beneficial from a visual perspective since it sets that text apart from the rest).

5. How do I control my disclosure if someone else shares my original tweet, pin, comment, or update?

Ask Yourself: Is there a way to keep my disclosure alive if it is going to be re-shared over social media?

If you want to ensure your disclosure remains part of your original social media content, consider placing the disclosure language at the beginning of your content or using contextual disclosure language.

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 {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. This is great. I am thrilled that I found this page!

    • I’m so glad you found us, Lauralee, and hope you’ll find useful information here. Thanks for visiting!

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