Part of being a social media influencer includes pitching, emailing, and negotiating with brands. With that said, landing a collaboration is a great feeling but what happens next? Brand contracts. In this post, we are going to talk about actually reading brand contracts before signing them and what to keep an eye out for when a brand sends one your way. Knowing key brand contract terms can help you and the brand have a smooth collaboration process. Remember, everything is negotiable and you’re allowed to walk away if something doesn’t feel right or it’s not what you originally agreed to.
When working with brands, I’ll be the first to say that every single collaboration and partnership needs a contract. Even if you’re only doing gifted collaborations, this can often result in brands asking for more content after the fact, or you both being unclear about what exactly the deliverables and terms really were; and for paid partnerships, it’s really a must for any legitimate collaboration – and if the brand isn’t trying to provide one, it’s easy enough to find on sites like RocketLawyer to make your own.
What are brand contract terms that I should look out for?
When you grant a brand partner advertising permissions to your social media accounts. This allows brands to use your handle for their ads.
Non-Compete Agreement / Exclusivity
AKA an “nda”. Oftentimes, brands have competitor companies and products that they don’t want creators to partner with for a certain period of time. This makes sense and isn’t a bad thing so long as the brand understands exclusivity is an additional fee to properly compensate you for the time you’re not able to take other collaborations.
This will be a small excerpt on the brand contract that states that you won’t say anything negative about the company or its products, services, or leaders—in any form of communication. Personally, this is not something you want to get stuck in as an influencer, especially if you end up not liking the product! You can always ask the brand to remove this clause just in case.
Intellectual Property (IP) Rights
Simply put, who owns the IP and the content created.
Penalties for a breach of contract
Life happens, so make sure you pay attention to the terms for breach of contract. They sometimes are 10x the fee you would be getting paid! It could include a docked pay, such as XX% less of the agreed upon rate if you submit content XY days late.
Termination without a chance to remedy breach of contract
This is where the brand can terminate for any reason, with no chance for the creator to remedy said breach or receive any payment for previous work. It’s honestly a sneaky way to get deliverables out of you and then duck out without paying!
Usage of your name and likeness in perpetuity
This essentially means that brands could use your image FOREVER, even after the deal ends–without additional compensation! Nuh-uh!
Pay close attention to the required deliverables listed in a brand contract, or lack thereof. You want to ensure the deliverables and all aspects of a brand collaboration are listed in the contract so that all parties involved are on the same page, and no one does less or asks for more without additional pay.
Always review the compensation terms in a brand contract. When will you be receiving payment? Is it a big project? Ask for 50% up front. Check for those Net 30, 60, 75, 90 and even 180 payment dates! And how will you be receiving payment? Paypal charges fees and you want to ensure you’re not responsible for those. Direct Deposit? I always recommend using bill.com. Make sure you have the details to the compensation written into the contract.
Rights to Content
I already talked about this in the beginning of the blog, but always try to eliminate the inclusion of “in perpetuity” in your contract. This is honestly easier than requesting additional compensation, which is a good alternative.
Usage and rights to content go right in hand, but have wording you might miss; maybe during the email you agreed for them to use your photos on social media but the contract now says they can use your photo in print advertising, billboards and even TV commercials. Never give your rights away!
Always check for all of these brand contract terms before signing the contract because it’ll be too late once you sign, and I’d hate for you to be one of those content creators walking the aisles of Target and seeing your gorgeous children’s faces on a billboard that you didn’t even get compensated for. If you’re looking to elevate your pitching and negotiation skills, check out my signature course, Product to Paid.
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