How many times have you done a collaboration and afterwards you get upset with yourself because you could have done a much better job at negotiating? Maybe you are a much better negotiator than I am, but I certainly had my days where I could have done a better job with setting the guidelines with a brand and looking more closely to my influencer agreement. Brands will usually give you an agreement along with their expectations, but the brand will give you an agreement with items that benefit or protect them as a brand. It is up to you to ensure that the clauses found in the agreement also protect you and the content you are going to create. If you’re collaborating with a brand its important to look through your contract thoroughly. In this post I wanted to share my tips for collaborating with a brand the right way, and what to look for before signing your influencer contract agreement.
Read The Contract
This is a no brainer you guys! I know you have done it! I have done it too.Do not skim through the contract. This is not a joke. Yes, they are super long and annoying to read, but so are potential lawsuits. Contract language can be rather intimidating, but depending on the brand contract language changes too.
Timeline of Collaboration
Straightforward but tricky if you do not check your calendar first to ensure that there is no conflict in your posting dates with another brand collaboration, or simply ensuring that you will be able to produce the content by the time it is due. Check the period that the entire agreement covers. Know the exact date/dates when content must be delivered for approval, posted, and the time frame content will be live. Sometimes there is a clause in the agreement that says you cannot delete the content if 6 months have not passed. This is also important for Instagram, a platform which we are prone to delete photos from here and there.
Scope of Work
The contract will go over what kind of content you are expected to create. The more specific the contract is the better. As for clarification when wording is vague and all it says is 2 social media posts. Inquiry which social media channels the brand is referring to. Facebook? Instagram? Also, inquire about hashtags the brand wants to be used or which additional account they want you to mention in your social media post captions.
Drafts and Re-shoots
Look if the brand requires to approve the content you create before you post. Usually most brands require 72 hours to review the draft. Sometimes I have gotten 24 hours which is even better. This is totally normal, but ensure you are aware of this beforehand so that you can time yourself. Also, think if you will allow revisions your captions in terms of wording. It is standard for a brand to ask you to tag someone or make minor changes here and there, but if they ask you to make changes in your sentences that are not something you would say then let the brand know.
Dedicated Post vs Non dedicated Post
I have been blogging for almost 3 years now and I just recently discovered there is such thing as a dedicated vs non dedicated post. I don’t know. I have been living under a rock I guess, but none of the blogging conferences I have been to covered there is such a thing. It boggles my mind. I always assume that when a brand reaches out to me with compensation being offered that the blog post is going to be a dedicated blog post. This means that the only brand I am mentioning and promoting in my post is the own I am working with. Usually if I am only receiving product and there is no monetary value involved I do a non-dedicated blog post. This means I am mentioning other brands as well. It is up to you if you choose to go with dedicated or non-dedicated, just know that there are options.
Sometimes the brand will go a step further and ask that the influencer cannot work with any other competitor brands for a period before and after the project is done. Read the fine print and look for a section indicating an Exclusivity Clause. As a principal I always choose not to promote a similar brand for 3 weeks anyways, but sometimes it so happens that you truly like 2 different brands of the same product. For example, I love Estee Lauder mascaras, but I also happen to love Clinique mascaras. If I want my lashes to be fuller I opt for the Clinique mascara. If I want longer lashes I opt for the Estee Lauder one. I can see why brands have the exclusivity clause in there, but I am also a human being that enjoys similar products from different brands. It is standard for the brand either to indicate 2 weeks exclusivity or give you a specific time frame within a month for the exclusivity, but the exclusivity needs to be reasonable. If a brand requests an exclusivity for more than 3 weeks then your fees should increase to reflect the income that would be lost during the exclusivity period.
Copyright – Who Owns What?
Copyright can get very complicated. Typically the brand you are collaborating with has partial rights to repost on social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook etc.). But clarify to the brand that you want to be credited for the photo when they are reposting /promoting your images on their social media platforms. Look through the influencer agreement to see if it indicated that the brand wants full licencing rights and be able to create derivative content across their website, newsletters, ads (either printed or digital). If that is the case then you should certainly be charging a very large sum as your fee. I personally always opt to only give a brand partial rights, so I usually ask the brand to change the copyright section of our agreement, but it is up to you which avenue you decide to take. Full copyright gets even trickier when you work with a photographer. Look for work for hire language. This means that the work you do in completion of the contract belongs to the other party and not you. Clarify expectations regarding social media promotions with the brand! Getty images has a helpful calculator to give you an estimate for what various high-quality images are sold for.
Be Aware of VAT/Customs Charges
I learned my lesson the hard way. Please be aware that if you are receiving packages from outside Canada or your home country your package is subject to VAT/Customs charges. You just assume that the brand you are working with will cover all costs, but unfortunately this is not always the case. Before accepting to receive any product, clarify either in email or in your agreement that the brand is to pay for all shipping charges including VAT and/or custom charges.
You agreed on the amount of payment, but there is more to payment than just a dollar amount. Payment schedules and in what form payment will be issued are just as important in discussing when it comes to signing your influecner agreement. If these items are not on your influencer agreement ensure that they are added. Ask the brand if you are required to invoice them before payment is sent to you. Some companies will issue payment automatically without an invoice while others will not pay you until the invoice is received. Is the brand paying you 30 days after the campaign is completed, 30 days after the contract is signed or 30 days after your invoice is received? Understand the time frame so that you can get your payment as quickly as possible. Always know that payments terms are negotiable and you can request changes in your influencer contract.
Agreements are no joke. Read your influencer agreement very carefully before singing so that you can protect yourself and your brand. Let me know if there is anything else that I missed that you always read carefully before signing your influncer agreement.