Today’s post is from #IFBC18 speaker, Stacy Brooks from Tangled Up in Food. Stacy will be sharing the importance of understanding FTC rules for bloggers and influencers at the 10th anniversary conference this month and she’ll share takeaways we can implement immediately! Join us in New Orleans to learn more! Register here.
I’m honored to be speaking at the 2018 International Food Blogger Conference! It was the first blogging conference I attended back in 2014, and I’m looking forward to presenting about the FTC’s disclosure rules for bloggers.
I’ve been blogging since 2011, and I also freelance as a food and travel journalist. Before making the leap to writing full time, I worked in the legal field for several years as an intellectual property paralegal—I’m fluent in legal jargon and enjoy delving into government rules and regulations like the FTC’s disclosure guidelines.
But what is the FTC, and why do they care about your blog? FTC stands for the Federal Trade Commission, a government agency that’s in charge of protecting consumers and maintaining competition. Part of how they do this is by ensuring that statements made to consumers are truthful and not deceptive—it’s commonly referred to as the “truth-in-advertising principle.”
What does this mean for bloggers? Like magazines, newspapers, TV, and radio, your blog is a form of media that the FTC’s rules cover. If you have a relationship with a brand—you were given a free product, you’re receiving compensation for a blog post, you’re part of a brand ambassador program—you’re considered an “endorser.”
There are specific rules about what endorsers can and can’t say. Most importantly, you need to tell your readers that you have a relationship with a brand (a “disclosure”). The FTC has specific guidelines for how to do that, and in my presentation I’ll outline best practices and common mistakes.
If you’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or another social media platform (and what blogger isn’t?) the FTC has guidelines for social media disclosures to your followers, which I’ll also discuss in my presentation.
But why bother? It’s unlikely that the FTC is monitoring your food blog or Instagram feed. However, most contracts with brands and PR firms require that your posts include a disclosure in compliance with FTC guidelines—it’s up to you to be informed and make sure you’re meeting the terms of your contract. In addition, the FTC disclosure rules ensure an even playing field, and most importantly, they’re the law.
I’m looking forward to sharing more information at my breakout session on Friday, August 24 at 2:15 pm. Whether you’re currently working with brands and destinations or would like to in the future, this session will fill you in on everything you need to know in order to follow the FTC’s guidelines. We’ll also work through some hands-on case studies so that you can practice what you’ve learned.
See you in New Orleans!