Way back in 2009 we started our own version of the Blogging With Integrity campaign to encourage parent bloggers to be above-board and transparent with their readers about all their dealings with sponsors. It’s an ever evolving topic, but at base our commitment to ethical blogging is unchanged, whether it involves posts, social media, images, brand relationships or other developments.
We’ve written about the UK’s Office to Fair Trading’s involvement with a blog network on the issue. The OFT states that not disclosing paid-for promotional content — on a blog or microblogging platform like Twitter — constitutes deceptive practice under fair trading laws. Here’s our take on the guidelines.
If as a blogger you’ve received a product and written about it, gone on a free trip, or received remuneration of any kind to write about something, then that needs to be crystal clear to anybody who comes across your blog.
There’s never a better time for bloggers to sign up to or reinvigorate their commitment to disclosure.
In addition BritMums believes that paying for social media followers is not good practice for any blogger – we have never done it and would never do it.
Here’s how to blog with integrity:
- Make transparent any relationships with products or companies. If you have received a product for free to review, make sure that’s mentioned in the review. This can be easily done. Some bloggers mark reviews with a line that states something like, “This product was provided to me free of charge from the company in order to review it. However the opinions expressed in this review are independent and my own.”
- Be clear about any ongoing relationship with a sponsor, describing it in a post or disclosure page and linking back to it in related posts.
- Clearly label advertising, advertorials and/or sponsored posts. This includes tweets on Twitter that are paid for.
- It’s accepted practice to use “no-follow” links in sponsored content. Find out more about no-follow links.
- Always write truthfully about a product or company, even if they give you free stuff.
- Observe intellectual property rights.
- Never pay to acquire followers on a social media platform such as Facebook, Twitter or G+.
Here’s how some BritMums members have told their readers about their sponsor relationships:
We at BritMums remain committed to Blogging with Integrity and promoting the practice among all our members.