This month’s #BlogClub was a scorcher, so we all donned our sundresses and hot-footed it over to Bath & Unwind in Clifton for chilled drinks to discuss paid links and disclosures.
#BlogClub ladies…as usual, I’m not in the picture because I was the one taking it! Crafty, eh?!
#BlogClub is one of the rare occasions us Bristol bloggers have to catch up and swap tips in a relaxed setting. Normally when we meet it’s at brand events or parties where there’s usually loud music and a product to promote, so we don’t get time to have full and frank discussions about the joys and challenges of blogging. #BlogClub is our space to be open and share our experiences. It’s become a really useful resource for us all, especially the less tech-savvy like me, who can come in and get tips from others.
This month we were hosted by Bath & Unwind, a fabulous young online retailer selling premium beauty brands online. The #BlogClub ladies try to host the event in a different company premises each month to help showcase growing Bristol businesses. It works out pretty well both ways because the bloggers gain an insight into how brands approach content and marketing, and the businesses get some great insights from us that feeds into their social media marketing. It’s a win/win!
Here’s a little of what we learned this month…
- Your approach to publishing links on your blog can seriously affect your SEO ranking and also the reputation of your blog. It pays to ensure all links published on your blog are relevant and genuine
- When a company/brand pays you to include a link to their site/product on your blog, you should post a disclosure
- While this isn’t laid down in law, it is part of guidance issued by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA)
- You can also use ‘nofollow’ links, which is a way of telling search engines that your link has been paid for
- If a company doesn’t want disclosure, you should probably avoid working with them
- Where you’re promoting something as part of a paid agreement, you should always use appropriate hashtags in tweets, Vines, Instagram, YouTube e.g. #sponsored or #ad in same tweet, preferably at the beginning of the post!
- Check your blog comments for spam comments and delete if you find any dodgy links
- When picking themes for your blog, make sure you get them from a reputable source as some theme creators could use dodgy/hidden links or text in the HTML to improve their own site’s page rank
- Guidance on disclosures and links can be found on the ASA blog
While I was aware of quite a lot of this, I did find it amazing how many loopholes there are for dodgy links to slip through. (I’m keeping my fingers crossed there aren’t any on here and have pencilled in some time to have a proper dig around just in case as I’m now paranoid about it!)
Finally, I couldn’t finish this blog without saying a big thank you to Bath & Unwind – not only did they provide a lovely cool space and refreshments for us all on a hot day, but they also gave us goody bags to take home filled with some of their beautifully packaged, nourishing products. I got this Burt’s Bees cream cleanser with clary sage, which smells like summer in a tube and is amazing for dry skin. Thank you, ladies!
Disclosure: I received a free goody bag from Bath & Unwind as part of this event, but all views are my own. Yeah, check me out and my disclosures!