Blogger Tip Tuesday is back and this week I’m sharing a few tips for your first sponsored post. What’s a sponsored post? A sponsored post is a post that is “sponsored” by either a company/brand or an organization / marketing network (for example: a post could be sponsored by Hilton Hotels or by BlogHer, etc.). There are certain FTC rules that you must abide by when writing a sponsored post and there are some easy ways to do this that I had no clue about — hopefully this will be helpful!
- Disclosures – long and short. When you are writing a sponsored post, you need to let your readers know that the post is sponsored. You can do that by writing disclosures — one that is permanent on your site and one on the sponsored post itself. You can read my long disclosure here and see an example of a recent short disclosure here. You’ll want to make sure to include both forms of disclosures once you start accepting sponsored posts. Even if you are only running advertisements, you should have the long disclosure on your site to ensure you are following the FTC guidelines.
- Using hashtags with social media posts. Another form of disclosure is when you are sharing your sponsored post on social media. You’ll need to indicate that with the hashtags #sponsored or #ad. This goes for all social media methods.
- No follow links. No follow links actually have nothing to do with the FTC and are used in order to be in line with Google search regulations. So what is a no follow link? A follow link is used on any content that is not sponsored and helps you increase your SEO (remember that?) because it is organic and unique. A no follow link prevents companies from being able to essentially buy an increase in their page rank through sponsored posts. You’ll want all your links in a sponsored post to be no follow. The easiest way to do this is to install the no follow plugin. Then every time you add a link, you’ll have the option of making it no follow. You can also manually add this line of code to every link that needs to be no follow: rel=”nofollow” – obviously the plugin is simpler and it’s what I use.
So, you might be curious why you as a blogger would care about the FTC. Or perhaps why the FTC would care about what you put on your blog. You would be correct in thinking that the FTC is not going to come after bloggers who don’t follow these rules — however the advertisers you are working with will be targeted if there are reported violations. Therefore if you’d like to keep working with them, it’s in your best interest to make sure you are following the tips mentioned above. Most marketing companies share this information with you and will ask you to edit a sponsored post if one of the above steps isn’t taken. You can read some q&a from the FTC on this exact issue here.
What are your tips for things to remember when writing sponsored posts?