Affiliate link disclosure.
Ever hear that phrase and wonder.. “What?”
I bet you have.
That’s because affiliate link disclosure is not an option for affiliate marketers.
It’s a MUST.
In fact, skipping it means you’ll be going against the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) guidelines.
You don’t want that.
You don’t want to end up getting sued by your followers because they had no idea you get commissions for every purchase they make.
Don’t worry, though.
If you’re confused about affiliate link disclosure, you won’t be anymore by the time you finish reading this blog.
In it, I’ll talk about:
- Exactly what affiliate link disclosure is
- How to disclose affiliate links
- Best practices to follow for affiliate link disclosure
- 3 inspiring examples to get your creative juices flowing
- And more
Let’s dive right in.
What Is Affiliate Link Disclosure? (+Why You Need It)
You own turtles and you want to find the best turtle food brand out there.
So you go online and read a blog.
The blog promotes Brand X to you, so you go ahead and buy it.
But when you feed Brand X to your turtle, it dies.
You’re angry and confused.
Why did Author X recommend this awful product to you?
Later, you realize that Author X never cared about your turtle.
He promoted Brand X for the commissions he’d get when people bought with his links.
What would that make you feel?
We’d all be.
And on the side of the affiliate marketer, who probably didn’t know the product they were promoting was awful?
Yes, it’s scary.
Just take a look at this:
You do NOT want something like this in your life.
That’s why you need affiliate link disclosure.
It’s the disclaimer that will save you a great deal of trouble if anything goes wrong with your promotions.
Also, it’ll help you build trust with your audience.
You’re laying all your cards on the table, honestly telling them that you’ll get something out of their purchase.
If they still buy, awesome!
If they don’t, you just saved yourself a potential headache.
Here’s a more technical description of affiliate link disclosure:
Ok, now you get it.
The next step you need to know is…
How to Disclose Affiliate Links (It’s Actually Super Easy!)
Basically, disclosing affiliate links is simple.
All you need to do is tell your audience that when they buy a product you’re promoting, you get a small commission from the sale.
Easy as pie, right?
Ask a bunch of affiliate marketers how they disclose affiliate links, and you’ll probably come up with a thousand different answers.
Some will tell you to hide your affiliate link disclosure in the T&Cs of your blog.
Others will tell you to put it in your footer, where it’ll never see the light of day.
Yet others will tell you to put it in your About page, carefully hidden in miniscule font at the bottom.
What I say: do none of these.
The best way to disclose your affiliate links is to make them as clear as possible.
At the beginning of your blog, in font that’s easy to see?
Check out this example.
Clear as day, right?
That’s the only proper way to disclose your affiliate links.
Put them right in front of your readers’ eyes, in font they can’t miss.
Trust me, it’ll be worth it.
3 Best Practices You Can’t Miss for Affiliate Link Disclosure
Now you know the secret of disclosing affiliate links.
You need to be visible and honest.
Clear as mud?
To help you sort through the confusion, here are three best practices to follow when dealing with affiliate link disclosure.
1. Be Clear (Obviously)
Uhm, yeah, obviously.
But what does being clear really mean?
Put yourself in the shoes of your readers.
A ton of these people won’t know what an affiliate link is.
They probably won’t have a clue that there’s a whole industry with billions of dollars in cash behind it.
And they’ll feel lost if you drop in a jargon-heavy sentence like, “Affiliate links included in this blog.”
I know, not jargon-heavy to you.
But to them, it’ll feel like trying to climb Everest with no shoes on.
So, here’s some good advice.
Use plain English in your affiliate link disclosures.
Here’s the example from earlier in the blog:
Note how anyone would be able to understand this?
2. Don’t Be Shakespeare
Your plays are great but we don’t need that kind of writing in our blogs.
Instead, we need brief, concise writing.
And the same goes for affiliate link disclosures.
Instead of writing a 500-word piece explaining what affiliate links are and how they work…
…stick to 2-3 clean, brief sentences.
“Hey guys! I’ve tried these products and absolutely love them. That’s why I’m recommending them to you – but if you buy, I’ll also make a little money, with no added expense to you.”
I mean, who can resist that kind of honesty and simplicity?
Not to mention brevity.
Online readers are all about wanting things brief.
3. Be YOU
But the truth is, this can be hard.
It’s one thing to tell readers what affiliate links are…
…and quite another to inject your personality into your disclosure.
Good rule of thumb?
Write the same way you write your blog.
If you have an upbeat, fun tone, write the same way in your disclosure.
If you have a serious, professional tone, keep it up in your disclosure.
And so on.
Here’s an example of a crisp, simple tone from Jonathan Fields.
3 Creative Link Disclosure Examples to Inspire You
Now, it’s time for inspiration.
Because it’s one thing to learn how to do something.
And quite another to actually see how something is done.
So, let’s dive into 3 creativity-inspiring link disclosure examples you can pattern yours around.
1. The Luminous
Here’s good advice.
Ditch all the jargon and talk to your audience like they’re real people.
Check out how The Luminous does it:
Why it works: It’s clear, simple, and personal. I mean, who wouldn’t want their favorite blogger to earn a few dollars to buy a cup of coffee?
If your blog’s tone is on the serious side, you might not want to tell your readers that the commissions you earn will help you buy coffee.
Still, you shouldn’t be overly technical with anyone.
Keep your tone formal, but go ahead and tell your readers exactly what will happen when they buy through your referral links.
Why it works: This disclosure is on the long side, but it’s simple and explains everything readers need to know about affiliate links.
To avoid trouble, it’s a great idea to create an affiliate link disclosure template you can use at the top of every blog you publish.
It doesn’t need to be long.
And it doesn’t need to be annoying.
It only needs to be something like this:
Why it works: Even if your audience only reads one of your blogs, they’ll see your affiliate link disclosure. It doesn’t have to be any longer than this, plus a link to your full disclosure page.
How to Disclose Affiliate Links (The Creative and Honest Way)
A ton of people think affiliate marketing is a hack to earn truckloads of money overnight.
But it’s not.
In truth, it’s just like any other business.
Which means, there are rules on what you can and can’t do.
One thing you can’t do is deceive your audience (obviously).
This means if you make money from any of their purchases, you have to tell them that.
Because having read this brief guide, you now know exactly how to disclose affiliate links.
You know why it’s important to do so + some best practices and inspirational ideas you can use for your own blog.
So go on!
If you haven’t been disclosing your affiliate links until now, it’s time to do so.
Because the truth is, you might go undiscovered for years to come.
Or someone might sue you tomorrow.
So don’t waste time.
Dig out that creativity and show your audience how honest you are by disclosing your affiliate earnings to them!