How Much Are Big Fashion Bloggers Making | FTC Blogger Guidelines



Last week I talked about how Edelman is changing the data analytics game for bloggers- an ever growing subject considering that is how blogger fees are calculated.

In 2013, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released updated guidelines and regulations for advertising in relation to social media and bloggers. When the guidelines were first released, there was not much talk of it- why would bloggers need the same rules as advertisers? Last year, blog readers raised eyebrows when 50 bloggers coincidentally wore the same Lord & Taylor Design Lab dress on Instagram. As it turns out, it was not a coincidence and Lord & Taylor had sponsored the posts and gifted the dress to each blogger. None of the influencers disclosed that they had been paid for the posts, leaving followers confused.  The goal was to cause a social media frenzy, and it worked: the dress sold out by the end of the weekend.

While there is no proven statistical correlation between Instagram and ROI, there is no denying the influential power of social media as the latest advertising tool. With social media being unregulated, it is difficult for the Federal Trade Commission to keep an eye on.

If you were to see a contract with real, big- time blogger fees- I think you would die a little inside. Instagram has become a powerful sales tool for brands- just look at Pink Peonies founder Rachel Parcel. Parcel made 960K in 2014 from RewardStyle ALONE, so I can only imagine what she is making now in 2017.

This past Spring while doing Influencer outreach for a client, I had offered to send Dani Song a 7k painting. Her manager emailed me back saying that it would be 5k for her to simply just post the photo, and an additional amount for the brand to be tagged in the photo. Crazy! For comparison, just two years ago Rumi Neely was charging 3k per Instagram photo on her personal account.


With the recent rules coming to light, here is what you need to know:

  • The largest point: All endorsements, sponsored pieces, and gifted items need to be disclosed on all forms of media, including Instagram and Twitter.
  • The disclosure must be made close to the original post (ex. If you promote a bag on Instagram, it must say “sponsored” in the same post.) This gets tricks: sometimes you may embed videos in your post. If the video is sponsored, you should be including a quick bit at the end mentioning the partnership.
  • Brand relations teams sometimes feel icky when bloggers simply post “this post was sponsored by…” It makes them feel like all of their work of getting your partnership is cancelled out by the fact they they “bought” your endorsement. To keep the brand happy, try to disclose your sponsorship in an eloquent way.
  • The FTC leaves it up to the brand to make it clear that they require the proper citations, and will ultimately go after the brand if the blogger enlisted to endorse their product does not follow the rules. This may not seem like a huge deal, but if a brand gets in trouble with the FTC over YOUR post it is most likely that they will not work with you again.
  • According to The Shelf: “Any writer who fails to mention that they’ve received free items that might sway their coverage is liable for up to an $11,000 fine.”
  • When gifted an item with no additional payment “c/o” meets the FTS guidelines.
  • #Ad is considered sufficient for Instagram + Twitter posts as a disclosure.



If you are looking for more information on brand/blogger relationships and disclosures, I recommend you check out this link. To roll with the Digital/PR trend, next week I’ll be publishing a post on how to pitch brands for partnerships. If you have any specific questions about that, please leave them in the comments!

Here are some well worded exampled of how to disclose a sponsored post:

“I was SO thrilled when [brand name] reached out to me about presenting their newest collection…” or “[brand name] gave me the opportunity to try out [product] and I’m beyond excited to share it with you.”

Thanks to [brand name] for partnering with me for this post!”

“This post was brought to you by [brand name], but opinions are all my own.”


<3 Al

PS: How do you disclose and how do your readers react to the hashtag #Ad? Personally I have seen a lot of negative comments under other accounts that use the work- as a PR professional I am always curious to hear what others see.

37 Comments on “How Much Are Big Fashion Bloggers Making | FTC Blogger Guidelines

  1. This is so helpful! I honestly don’t enjoy others posts as much when there is a #ad on the end of it. I have been asked my companies to use that hashtag as well when promoting their items & it feels super forced to me! I want my followers to truly believe I love the product sent to me, and know that I am being honest. (Which, I will always be honest.) so this post helps because now I can word it in different ways! Thanks for this girl! This post will for sure b bookmarked! Cheers!

  2. Personally, I use the hashtag #sp which means sponsored post.

    It’s much more subtle and probably less offensive to readers.
    I guess no one likes to feel like they were being sold to.

    Great insightful post, keep it up!

  3. How interesting. I just always make sure to put an #ad on all my sponsored posts. But I’m not a fashion blogger. Some people get annoyed when they see it’s sponsored, but hey, they aren’t the ones paying my bills so…

  4. I lived in Europe, and the law are not the same regarding how to work with a Brant as a Blogger, your article is helpful for me as new blogger, I am not in Fashion blogger but still i find it very informative , thanks

  5. This helpful when it comes to knowing what to do when you are running an ad. I’m also very curious what the negative response is when people know that you are running an ad.

  6. This was super helpful to read! As a new blogger it often feels like stumbling around in the dark! Or the blind leading the blind if you’re friends with other new bloggers!

  7. It’s so important to be familiar with FTC guidelines before you start doing sponsored posts! I like your example disclaimers, that’s super helpful to anyone just starting out

  8. That’s so crazy how much these people make. It is important to know FTC guidelines or you might mess up and there’s no way that you can get to where you want to get!

  9. I’ve been opening my blog to the possibility of ads and sponsorships this year, so this was actually a timely post for me to come across in my reading! Thanks for updating me about the recent changes!

  10. This helps a lot. it’s always tricky to figure our how much to charge. This is so motivating…Yes, I’ll just keep plugging away!

  11. So interesting! I had no idea about these regulations and how they pertained to bloggers. Well written and informative – thanks!

  12. Would I love to be making these kinds of figures off my blog? Absolutely! However, one of the comments you made is exactly why I am not. I want to be original in my thought and content. So often in doing my daily rounds, I see the same content over and over on blogs. They might be making money but the blogs are unappealing to me.

  13. Thanks for these good tips on working with sponsors and wording the notice. Wording the sponsorship notice well is so important. Your examples are great.

  14. Great information on how to work with sponsors and how to place the notice. I believe that any posts that the blogger received an item free or was paid for the post should be disclosed.,

  15. I am so glad I don’t have a fashion blog. It seems like there is just to many rules about it. Thank you for posting this though. I am a new blogger, so it’s interesting, learn something new every day about blogging.

  16. This is such a great, informative post! As a newbie fashion blogger, I’ve noticed the #ad and sponsored by notes on posts recently and wondered what it was all about. I’ms glad I read this and will be pinning it to reference again and again. Also, I love that you concluded the post with creative and eloquent examples. I can’t wait to read your pitch post!

  17. This was very interesting. It’s incredible the amount of money some people are paying for promotions but I think the example of the dress proves that as much as it can look bad, it works!

  18. it’s very important to disclose. it can be as simple as #ad and only takes a second. On the flip side, some people think that we get paid to snap a quick pic and that’s in. sometimes yes and sometimes, no. it take time and effort to make sure it’s just as we want it.

  19. There is a wealth of helpful information in this post. A lot of bloggers are not really sure of the rules about disclosure. I think you have made them perfectly clear.

  20. I guess it’s pretty much the same when it comes to regular blogging, we all have rules to follow when we’re advertising products from a company. It’s just that we get a different set of products to advertise, some bloggers receive home products and fashion bloggers receive clothes and accessories.

  21. Very informative article! I didn’t know a lot of this, and it’s really interesting has blogging has transformed into an advertising platform. Great tips, thanks for sharing!

  22. I am just now beginning to work with brands and monetize my blog, so this post couldn’t have come at a better time. I really appreciate how clearly you explain things – I’m unfamiliar with a lot of industry jargon + info, so this was super helpful. 🙂

    Pinning for future reference!

  23. I’ve always admired fashion bloggers. They work really hard for what they do. It’s not easy to come up with different outfits and search for good places to shoot all the time. It’s nice to see how fashion bloggers usually make it work. This is an awesome post, thanks!

  24. Pingback: How To Pitch Brands and Influence Media: The Basics | AL + LEX

  25. Very informative. Thanks. Call me crazy but when I see great menswear Instagrams, I couldn’t care less if it’s sponsored or not. In other words: When an outfit looks good it looks good, period end of story.

    Now with things like tech (just one example) (I mean phones, tablets, etc) I definitely want to see disclosures on THOSE Instagrams because a niche like tech requires expertise. You can’t just pose with stuff like that and not give expertise/details. ….. If a phone is pretty on the outside, well, great, but I personally need expert details about it, so yes I have beef with phones and tablets being gifted to FASHION bloggers who think they can simply pose with tech products (or write a plagiarized blog post) minus any details which would prove that they have expert knowledge about it. Clothes and shoes and bags – pose away. Again, if something looks good it looks good and I don’t care about disclosure as much as I would with tech. Sorry for the long comment.

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