Blog Disclosure: Guidelines and Examples

There is a lot of confusion around disclosure and blogging; when you should include a blog disclosure, where you need to display it and what you need to write.

This post will hopefully help to make it clear what disclosure is and why it’s important.

What is blog disclosure?

If you are compensated in any way (receiving a free product, payment for advertising, affiliate link payment, discounted product/service) you must let your readers know. This post by the ASA is very good at explaining in detail why disclosure is important for both you and your audience. If you’re not happy putting a disclosure on your posts, you shouldn’t be accepting products or financial compensation.

Disclosure lets your audience know that you have been compensated in some way for your writing.

Disclosure protects your advertisers and being upfront with your readers shows that you’re honest and trustworthy.

The main point you need to bear in mind is whether the relationship with the brand or product is obvious the reader.
If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the following, you need to disclose.

    1. Did you receive a product/service for free or at a discounted rate to write a review, testimonial or endorsement
    2. Were you compensated for writing a blog post, review or testimonial
    3. If you endorse an advertiser or client outside of the context of your blog (e.g. on social media).
    4. When you use an affiliate link in conjunction with a review or recommendation.

Okay, so how do I disclose?

It’s not as complicated or as scary as people make out. You must make sure of two points; that your disclosure is clear and that is it conspicuous.

Disclosures must be near the claim you’re making.

Putting a disclaimer in the sidebar or on a disclosure page to cover all posts is not enough. You must include a disclosure on all posts that you’ve been compensated for and readers must know, prior to reading the post or clicking on links, that the post is an advertisement or has been sponsored.

This post by House of Smiths is a great example. The disclosure is at the top of the post and makes it clear that the blogger has been compensated.

blog disclosure example

If you don’t want to put a full disclosure at the top, you should ‘Sponsored’ or ‘Advert’ and include your disclosure at the end. This Sponsored Post image by Kitchen Treaty is also a nice idea.

Sponsored Post example

If you include an affiliate link you must let you reader know that you may earn commission or a percentage of their purchase.

Disclosures must be readable on all devices.

You must make sure that the disclosure can be easily read, whatever device the post is being viewed on. The text must be the same size as the rest of the post (don’t minimise the disclosure text!) and if you’re using an image, as shown above, make sure it displays across all devices and browsers.

Your disclosure must be understandable

Your disclosure must be easily understandable by all readers. There is no need to be overly complicated or use legal jargon. You need to make it clear that you’ve been compensated in some way for your post. A sentence like the following is perfect ‘Brand X sent me this product for free in exchange for an honest review. All of the content and opinions in this post are my own’

Do not create a disclosure page and say ‘Compensated posts will be marked with a * in the title’. If someone comes direct to a sponsored post and does not read your disclosure page, an astrix on the title will not mean anything and could be seen as being misleading.

Disclosure on social media

You may sometimes work with a brand or company that you also promote across social media, either through a social media advert itself or by tweeting etc about a post.

It’s important that you make sure you disclose that you’ve been compensated on social media as well. This can be tricky on something like Twitter where every character counts, but disclosure can be as simple as starting your Tweet with ‘Sponsored’ or ‘Ad’ (there is no requirement to use a hashtag)

sponsored tweet example

Disclosure on videos
Don’t get caught out by not disclosing correctly on Youtube. This news story highlights how important it is to disclosure before someone has started watching your video. Even though the video starts with a screen saying it was sponsored by P&G, the ASA said consumers needed to know that they were selecting an ad to view, before watching it.

P&G sponsored video

In the case of videos, its best to include ‘Sponsored’ or ‘Ad’ in the title and again on the video, either verbally or (preferably) by text so that people are aware that its sponsored prior to watching and also if they do not have sound

Sponsored Youtube video disclosure example
The bottom line

Remember, you are sharing brands you think your readers will like or care about. By being compensated you can continue to put your time, money and effort into your blog…and keep bringing great article to your readers!

Be open, concise, personable, and honest.
If you want to also include a full disclosure policy on your blog, feel free to amend the following for your own use.

This policy is valid from {date}
This blog is written and edited by {name}. For questions about this blog, please contact {name} at {email address}

This blog accepts forms of {include as applicable- cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation} Compensated posts will include a written statement at the start.

This blog abides by word of mouth marketing standards. We believe in honesty of relationship, opinion and identity. The compensation received will not influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. Content, advertising space or posts will be clearly identified as paid or sponsored content.

The owner(s) of this blog is compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner(s) of this blog receives compensation for our posts or advertisements, {blog name} always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products.

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers’ own unless the post is a guest post from another blogger or company. This will always be stated in a written statement at the bottom of the post. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.
This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.

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