Has someone given you something as a gift or as a sample or as a promotion?
Is it a thing or an experience?
Are you writing about it or putting it on social media?
You need to disclose that.
It’s as simple as telling the truth at the very start of your post:
“Fisher and Sons gave me a tour of their funeral parlour. I didn’t have to write about it. But I decided it was interesting so I did”
“This lipstick was sent to me by L’oreal. I liked it, so I am writing about it.”
“Ford lent me a car for 2 weeks and also paid for my petrol so I could tell my readers about my experience. Here’s what I did…”
“This book about cats was sent to me by Pan Macmillan. I love it and I wanted to show it to you.”
If someone sends me something and I put it on Instagram, I will always explain that it was a freebie.
Sometimes I write about a company/thing and it doesn’t involve a free product. Maybe I just bought that thing and loved it and wanted to share that. I will often write ‘not sponsored – I just love this’ at the end of that post so that readers understand and know that I’m not trying to pull the wool over their eyes, and that they can trust me to disclose any commercial arrangements to them.
Honesty is the best policy.
Simplicity is the best approach.
Just tell the truth about any arrangement/freebies and you are good to go!
If you are going to blog commercially (about goods and services) or have sponsors, you can also investigate a standard disclosure policy of your own. Do that here.
Here is an example of a disclosure policy I generated for my own blog:
This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation.
This blog abides by word of mouth marketing standards. We believe in honesty of relationship, opinion and identity. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post will be clearly identified as paid or sponsored content.
The owner(s) of this blog is compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner(s) of this blog receives compensation for our posts or advertisements, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers’ own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.
This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.