How To Be Transparent As A Blogger
One thing I've learned throughout my years of blogging is that it's best to be as transparent as possible. I think this is especially true for any bloggers that receive free products to review or share on their blog, but it doesn't stop there. It's important to be straightforward and honest with your readers, whether you receive free products, use stock photos in your posts, or write an article that was inspired by another blogger's work. I always want to be honest and upfront with you guys - I never want there to be any grey area with the content I provide. I try to disclose everything openly, give credit where credit is due, and make sure my readers never feel like I'm being shady about anything. Today I thought I would give some advice on how bloggers can be transparent on their blogs, as well as sharing examples of how I do this on AGO.
How To Be Transparent As A Blogger
Always disclose products sent in for review/feature. This is a big one. If you are sent any item for free to be mentioned on your blog, whether it's in a review, feature, or just for you to be seen using, you have to say that it was sent to you. Whenever I include an item that was sent to me in a post, I either put an "*" next to the item name or a "c/o" in front of it. This ensures that my readers know that this item was sent to me, either by the company itself or a PR company, for me to give my opinion on.
Only write review posts that share your 100% honest opinion. Never share an opinion that isn't yours. That's just plain deceitful to your readers, and you will lose their trust fast. When I write a review of a beauty product, whether I bought it myself or it was sent to me for review, I always give my complete, honest opinion. I never let the company send me a pre-written post, and I never accept payment to give a falsely-positive review. I suppose this all comes down to what you're comfortable with doing on your blog, but I highly suggest against it.
If you use someone else's photo or graphic, always credit them. I think it's extremely important in this day and age of Pinterest and Tumblr to give credit to the original source as much as possible. Whenever I find an image on, say, Pinterest, that I'd like to share on AGO, I always click through the pin so I can link to the original source for the photo. This gets a bit trickier with sites like Tumblr, but it's really important to take the time and try to find the original creator. Sometimes it's nearly impossible to do so though, so in these instances I'll just link back to the webpage I found the picture on. I've also started using stock photos for the occasional post, like today, where I just don't have a suitable photo of my own to go along with what I've written. If I ever post a photo that I've found or a stock photo, there will always be a link giving credit at the bottom of the post.
Make sure to give credit if someone else inspired your post. Have you ever seen a post go by on Bloglovin' or Twitter and thought, "Wow, I'd really love to write about that same thing"? You can totally share a similar post on your blog, but make sure to give a little shoutout to the person that inspired you somewhere in your post. Not only is this a great way to share the love with your fellow bloggers, but it will also show your readers that you are an honest blogger, which will help build trust and create loyal readers.
Have a disclosure page if you use affiliate links, make money on your blog, accept items for review, etc. It's important to have a disclosure page where you can list out all of the technical details of your blog. Keep it updated regularly, and be as detailed as possible so that there is no confusion or misunderstandings later.
What are your thoughts on transparency in the blogging community?