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Are you following the FTC’s guidelines? Are you sure? If you’re linking to your disclosure statement or putting it in your footer, you may not be. Let’s talk about what posts that are sponsored or contain affiliate links should have – and how we can easily add that!
Note: my intent is not to provide advice on what to say or where to place your disclosures, only to bring attention to some common misunderstandings and provide suggestions on easy ways to automate disclosure statements & ensure you’re following best practices. 🙂
Long story short, if you’ve got a link – even in some place as obvious as your main menu – that says “disclosure,” you’re not being clear or conspicuous enough. Here’s what the FTC Endorsement Guidelines have to say about that:
A hyperlink […] does not convey the importance, nature, and relevance of the information to which it leads and it is likely that many consumers will not click on it and therefore miss necessary disclosures. The disclosures we are talking about are brief and there is no reason to hide them behind a hyperlink.
If you’ve got a block of text in your site footer that declares your work is sponsored and contains affiliate links, you’re still not being clear or conspicuous enough. Specifically, your disclosure needs to be easy to find and close the content of your article.
To make a disclosure “clear and conspicuous,” advertisers should use clear and unambiguous language and make the disclosure stand out. Consumers should be able to notice the disclosure easily. They should not have to look for it. In general, disclosures should be:
- close to the claims to which they relate;
- in a font that is easy to read;
- in a shade that stands out against the background;
[…] Disclosures should not be hidden or buried in footnotes, in blocks of text people are not likely to read, or in hyperlinks.
If you’ve been using disclosures in one of the above ways, let’s be honest, it’s not because you’re trying to hide that information from your readers. It’s because it’s easier to not insert that disclosure into every single post. Particularly when you would need to go back through hundreds of posts and manually add it.
Luckily, adding disclosures can be automated. We can place them at the top of every single blog post without having to manually edit each of those posts, we can show different disclosures based on the type of endorsement (e.g. sponsored vs. affiliate links), and when we want to re-word those disclosures we can do so for every instance in one, swift update!
The following allow you to add a single block of text to the top of every single post:
- If you’re on the Genesis framework, you can use the Genesis Simple Hooks plugin.
- Using a different theme? Look for your “single.php” file.
Want me to share more about how this is done? Comment below and I’ll make it happen. Better yet, tired of DIY-ing and want it D-F-Y (done for you)? Let me know if Once Coupled can help you!
Pst, want to read more about when and where to add a disclosure? Visit the FTC’s Endorsement Guidelines page.