How to handled being ghosted by a brand

Anyone remember the days of the Dear Abby columns? I’m thinking of dedicating a post a month to answering a FAQ so be sure to comment or reply to my weekly emails to get all your influencer questions answered! And one question I recently received was handling a situation where you are being ghosted by a brand:

Dear Krystalyn, I delivered all the content for [Brand] and now they’re ghosting me on payment. I haven’t gotten a response in weeks! Help!

We talk a lot about how to make money on my blog, in fact, it’s what every Friday post is dedicated to. From the Pinterest Creator fund, to User Generated Content, I am here to help you build the Influencer career of your dreams and build a life you love.

Unfortunately, there are a few dark corners in this industry and I’d be doing you a disservice if we didn’t talk about it (and how to handle them). 

Before Agreeing To A Collab

  • Always Have A Contract
    • Never ever agree to a paid collaboration, or any that has required deliverables, without a contract with expected dates, payment agreements, company name, etc. This protects both of you. It’s a must
  • Ask for A Partial Deposit Up Front
    • Especially for bigger brand deals, asking for 50% of the payment up front is pretty standard. Brands do not want to do this, but most are often willing to put up at least 10% to ensure good faith. It never hurts to ask when negotiating pay. 
  • Make Sure The Brand is Legit
    • If the deal seems too good to be true or you’ve never heard of this brand before, definitely do some research before agreeing to a collaboration. 

Make Sure You’ve Fulfilled Your End of the Deal

  • I can say it’s a given, but in case anyone needs to be reminded, make sure you meet your deadline and all content you’ve agreed on before expecting / asking for pay. 
  • Send an email after completion with links to content. You want a paper / digital trail. 

Uh Oh, You are being ghosted by a brand

  •  Don’t Assume The Worst
    • People go on vacations, they have sick days, life happens. The same way we’d want the brand to extend grace if we messed up, we need to start with some grace on our end and just send some courtesy follow up emails (1x a week, for 2 weeks)
  • When It’s Getting A Little Sus
    • Ask for their accounting department. Still in good faith, ask to speak to whoever is in charge of accounting so you can help clear up the confusion that seems to be holding up your payment. 
  • They’re Definitely Trying To Not Pay You
    • Have They Repurposed Your Content?
      • You have two options here, depending on the amount of money owed to you by this brand.
      • You can threaten legal action, but unless you’re willing to pursue legal services this may not lead to a response still, and cost of legal counsel might outweigh your loss.
      • You can go public, utilize your stories, twitter, linkedin, etc to bring attention to this brand trying to get away with this (definitely an option to consider especially if they’ve repurposed your content without paying you). 

And sometimes, unfortunately, after using everything at your disposal, you take the loss. Because maybe spending $350 on a lawyer for a $500 campaign doesn’t make sense. Or they watch all your stories saying “hey this brand is scamming people,” and the brand blocks you instead (this has happened to me btw). 

There aren’t a lot of protections out there for influencers. Unfortunately, it’s one of the risks of the job and being ghosted by a brand is really gut-wrenching. But hopefully, with a contract in place, and doing your due diligence when researching the brand before agreeing, you’ll rarely if ever have to run into a brand that ghosts you. 

Have you ever had to fight with a brand for payment? Let me know your stories in the comments below.

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