What to Include in an Influencer Contract (For Bloggers)
Influencers love to talk about how to pitch brands, but we’re not superrrrrr good at talking about contracts.
Contracts are intimidating! All that legalese?! It can be hard to know what to include in a contract, and also to know if you’re getting taken advantage of.
Let’s Talk about Contracts
I help brands partner with influencers, so this blog post is specifically from my perspective as a brand rep. I work mostly in ecommerce, such as fashion and beauty products, and tech, software and app downloads.
NOTE: I am NOTTTTTT a lawyer! I have no legal training! There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to contracts, and there’s no way I could fit everything in a Medium post. If you’re about to sign a contract, hire a lawyer to review it! You can hire a lawyer by the hour on a variety of platforms — use Google Search or ask friends for a recommendation!
(There are general contract lawyers for media, as well as lawyers specializing in influencer work.$
#1: Read the WHOLE CONTRACT — My Hack to Avoid Skimming
When I send contracts to influencers on behalf of brands, I cannot BELIEVE the number of times I see that an influencer has signed a 10–15 page document, 5 minutes after I’ve sent the email.
I get the desire to move forward, but THIS IS THE WORST THING TO DO. You’re assuming that the brand has your best intentions at heart, and you’re also assuming that everything you’ve negotiated is in the contract. Brands are run by people, who make mistakes.
It is your job to protect your interests!
I realize that a contract can be overwhelming, so I recommend printing out the contract and using a highlighter to review it. Go line by line and highlight as you read. I only read 1–2 pages max at a time, before taking a break. DO NOT SKIM!!
Also, fun fact: Sometimes I’ll put an “Easter Egg” in the contract, and use a sentence like, “After you sign the contract, email (xxxx) the phrase ‘Green Egg and Ham.” That lets me know the influencer really read the dang thing!
#2: Check DATES
Check dates for payment terms (how long after sending an invoice do you get paid)? Have you agreed to leave the content up forever?
Other things to check:
- Do you have a creative brief and timeline (with dates) of when the brand needs the assets?
- Do you know when to submit content?
- Does the brand include verbiage on how long they have to review the content before approving/rejecting it?
Make sure to put alllll these dates on your calendar!
#3: Forced Arbitration & Lawsuits
In recent news stories, we’ve seen companies get called out for including “forced arbitration” in their contracts. Basically, this means that their employees can’t sue them in court- they have to go through a mediator.
From Nolo.com: “Arbitration is an out-of-court proceeding in which a neutral third party called an arbitrator hears evidence and then makes a binding decision. Arbitration is the most commonly used method of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), and you’ll find an arbitration clause in the fine print of all kinds of contracts these days.”
Some companies make it so only YOU can use arbitration, but then include verbiage that allows the company to sue you in court. WTF? I would say to make it equal, either way.
Note: If you’re okay with arbitration, cool! Just know what you’re signing.
Most influencers have niches that they talk about, which is what makes a sponsor company want to work with you! However, a brand isn’t going to want you to review/endorse their products, and then have the next post review their direct competitor.
Makes sense, right?
Because of this, brands will sometimes ask for exclusivity, or stipulate that you can’t review specific types of products in your next X # of posts. If you review a mascara for a brand, they may give you a number of days or posts you have to wait before reviewing another company’s.
THAT SAID, some brands can be real vague in their exclusivity statements. This is the most common thing I push back on, as a blogger. I ask brand partners to send me a specific list of companies or product types that I can’t post.
Example: A brand may say, “Influencer agrees to not post about a shoe company for 90 days.”
ERMMMMM NO?! Do you know how many companies make shoes?! A LOT. I would push back on this and ask for a list of specific companies, and even then I may not sign.
#5: Swear Words & Nudity
Many contracts will include rules about what kind of things you must leave out of the post. As someone who enjoys f-bombs, this is very important! Be sure to understand your brand partner’s stance on this — and check the contract!
BONUS: Abide by FTC Regulations (USA)
When working with a brand (even if it’s for gifted product), you are legally required to disclose your relationship! More info on this can be found here.
How to Become an Instagram Influencer — Book for $7.99!
I’ve coached a TON of people on how to become an influencer, and I found that people had the same questions:
- How do I make an invoice as an influencer?
- What do I charge as an influencer?
- How do instagram influencers make money?
- How do I plan a photoshoot?
- How do I pitch brands as an influencer?