YES, influencers should declare paid for or gifted posts

I’m super late posting this. I have no excuses other than I’ve been channeling my inner Marie Kondo and decluttering like a maniac.

But I wanted to do a short post on the competition and markets authority (CMA) clamping down on influencers and micro-influencers not disclosing whether they’ve been paid for a post or received a product as a gift when mentioning it on social media, their blogs, vlogs, podcasts etc.

If you want to hear my opinions along with a panel of influencers, you can listen to me talking all about the new CMA regulations on 5Live – link here. Fast forward to approx 2 hours 35 mins to hear the segment.

But as a brief summary of what I said, I’m pleased that the CMA are going to clamp down. New rules could see fines or even a spell in prison.

Here’s the thing, and this may sound a little dramatic to some, but when you publish content online, whether you have 5 followers or 5 million, you owe it to those people to be authentic.

I truly believe that bloggers and those who create content on a professional basis should be paid for their efforts.

Blogging is hard work, I remember when I first started blogging in 2007 (back in the days when I was RachaelBlogs and actually committed to regular blogging) I would spend HOURS of my time on blogging. And it COSTS MONEY. Hosting isn’t cheap for a start and then there’s a bloggers time. So in no way is this an attack on bloggers/vloggers/social media gurus asking or accepting money. They should!

But making it clear whether it’s an advert is really important. When you pick up a glossy magazine and flick through, it’s obvious what is paid for content and what’s editorial. It’s really hard to make the same judgement when it comes to blogs, vlogs and social media. So by not declaring it, you’re risking potentially misleading your followers.

If you have any respect whatsoever for your readers (or viewers/listeners) then you owe it to them to be honest when it comes to your content. Regardless of whether you’ve been paid to post a review, been gifted a product or bought it yourself, your true opinion should be the one that’s posted.

One of the first things we do now when it comes to making a purchase or trying out a new service is head to google or social media to search for it. If a bunch of good reviews pop up, then it’s a deal breaker, but if those reviews are only good because someone has been paid for it, then it’s doing a disservice to the person taking value in your opinion.

It’s very hard to be negative about a product or service when you’ve been paid to post it, but the sooner authenticity returns to blogging (and other forms of engagement) then the better. So it’s even more important to put your ethics and your readers first when you’re reviewing things or services.

I also want to just briefly mention those companies that ASK for sponsored posts not to be declared. I have been offered sponsored posts or paid for posts and been asked to not declare it as such. I’ve always turned these posts down. But THEY are a big part of the problem. And it’s more common than you may things.

It’s difficult if you’re a blogger who’s trying to grow your blog to a business, it can be tempting to take on any old post, but, it’s so important to say no to this practice. Not only can it land you in heaps of trouble, but it’s also not going to grow your blog in the way you want it to, in a way that inspired trust and honesty.

The lines can be blurry with these things. So here is my pledge from now on, everything that’s been paid for or gifted will be mentioned in the first line. Also, every single thing I review or post about, will be my true, honest opinion (as it always has been). If you read this blog then I really appreciate it and I want you to know that everything I type, is truthful and authentic.

I do accept paid posts, I do accept gifts or loans of products that I think are interesting to my readers and I do use affiliate links (predominantly amazon). I’ve always been upfront about these things, but from here on in, I’ll make it even clearer, at the very top of the page.

For anyone interested in the new rules and regulations then the ASA have produced an interesting document – An Influencer’s Guide to making clear that ads are ads. 

And remember, if you’re a content producer, you DESERVE to be paid just as much as your audience deserve to be informed they’re viewing an advert.

Author: Rachael

I'm a journalist and creative consultant. I write about how busy women (just like you) can live, work and eat - better.

8 thoughts on “YES, influencers should declare paid for or gifted posts”

  1. I just wish they would bring out more straight down the line rules for bloggers, they have done YouTube they have done social media, but people get around it by telling people but it’s not specifically for bloggers and until they bring up something mentioning it companies are going to keep using that excuse.

  2. It’s good the CMA is clamping down but the guidelines are still fuzzy. I wish they would just set an agreed standard or wording for bloggers to use across the board so bloggers don’t end up interpreting the guidelines in their own ways and sometimes getting it wrong. It really annoys me when I see no disclosure whatsoever on an obviously sponsored post though.

  3. I agree with you too and im glad its been made much clearer although wish they would make all the guidelines around blogging clearer! It really annoys me when celebrities and such think they don’t need to declare or just don’t care.

  4. It’s great that they are trying to make it more clear for everyone but it’s still very fuzzy and confusing for bloggers and readers to understand. I hope they clamp down on celebs too as most don’t declare an ad

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