Today, I’m talking about the non-sexy part of blogging: blog contracts! As you progress further and further into your blogging career, companies will want to work with you. Score! For most of my campaigns I landed in the early days of my blogging career, I would go through media groups such as Clever Girls or Social Fabric to apply for sponsored posts. Networks like this are awesome because they prepare blog contracts for you to sign, give you the exact requirements for a campaign, and ensure that you get paid. Win/win!
But what if you’re approached to do a sponsored post/social media mention/other type of collaboration on your own? What if a brand wants to gift you a product to be featured on the blog? My friends, it is a really fantastic idea to create a blog contract for all of the scenarios mentioned above. Blog contacts are great because you are protected legally just in case a collaboration goes sour and you hash out all the details about a campaign beforehand, so a company knows exactly what to expect from you. Blog contracts are a win/win scenario all around, if I do say so myself.
How should you go about creating a contact? Here are some tips I have below!
- New to brand collaborations? Set expectations via Email.
First things first: before you draft any sort of blog contracts or letters of understanding, talk to the brand first, figure out what their expectations are and compare it to what you can provide. Some things you need to clarify with the brand before drafting the contract are:
- What is the timeline of the campaign/when is the post due? (this is THE most important question, IMO!)
- What is the compensation for the campaign? (money? product? both?)
- How will monetary compensation be paid? (PayPal? Physical Check?)
- When is payment due? Do you require a deposit?
- What social media platforms should you amplify the post on? How many social posts will you place on each platform?
- Are there any social media handles and/or hashtags that the brand wants you to use for the campaign?
- Do you want the brand to be able to use your original images in any of their promotional materials?
- What is your policy if you cannot meet the timeline/continue with the campaign?
- What is your policy if a brand backs out of a campaign? (how long do they have to cancel? Will they lose their deposit if they cancel a campaign?)
- Use a Freelance Writing Contract Template
I’m going to preface this with the fact that this may or may not hold up in court, however, this is the cheapest (free!) way to create a blog contract. Once you establish and agree upon terms for the collaboration, you can use a freelance writer’s template to detail all of the campaign expectations into a document. Once you’ve created this, send it over to a company for review and to sign. Do not start any projects before receiving a signed contract!
- Hire a Lawyer
If you’re making enough dinero to consult a lawyer, I would highly advise that you go ahead and do this. I found a lawyer who had experience with other bloggers via UpCounsel to draft several different blog contract templates that are sure to hold up in court. No offense to the freelance templates you see floating around the internet, but there’s a lot of legal lingo that I’m not savvy in, and there isn’t any amount of Googling that can make me an expert in contract law. UpCounsel is a great, affordable way to obtain a lawyer. All of the local lawyers I requested quotes from had crazy high rates (doesn’t help that I happen to live in one of the most expensive areas in the nation!). By working with a lawyer electronically, I was able to cut down on some of the costs of legal expenses.
- Make Your Blog an LLC
If you make enough money from your blog each year that you need to pay taxes on it, I would highly suggest you make your blog an LLC. I’ve said this before in my SBScon Recap post, but I cannot stress this enough. Basically, if you continue to be a Individual/Sole Proprietor and a brand decides that they want to take you to court, if you lose, not only can you lose your business assets, but there is a chance that you could lose your personal assets as well. I’m talking about your car. Your house. Your investments. Everything. Becoming an LLC separates you and your possessions from your business. It varies from state to state how much it costs to become an LLC, so folks, you’ll have to do your homework on this one.
Phew, I know this was a bit long-winded of a post y’all, but please please please, Look into protecting yourself and your brand with a contract for your next collaboration!