The Low Down on a Blogger Contract

how to create blog contracts - The Low Down on Blog Contracts by popular DC blogger Alicia Tenise - The Low Down on a Blogger Contract by popular Washington DC blogger Alicia TeniseToday, 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!

  1. 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:

    1. What is the timeline of the campaign/when is the post due? (this is THE most important question, IMO!)
    2. What is the compensation for the campaign? (money? product? both?)
    3. How will monetary compensation be paid? (PayPal? Physical Check?)
    4. When is payment due? Do you require a deposit?
    5. What social media platforms should you amplify the post on? How many social posts will you place on each platform?
    6. Are there any social media handles and/or hashtags that the brand wants you to use for the campaign?
    7. Do you want the brand to be able to use your original images in any of their promotional materials?
    8. What is your policy if you cannot meet the timeline/continue with the campaign?
    9. 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?)
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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!

38 Comments

  1. THANK YOU for explaining this! I hear things about this floating around in general terms, but it is so much more helpful to hear someone explain it and what your options are.

    Posted 8.5.15
  2. Bree West wrote:

    Love this! I’ve been toying with finding a lawyer to help with some contracts, it’s definitely a little daunting trying to figure out all the legal lingo!

    Posted 8.5.15
  3. Emilie Burke wrote:

    I love this. It really demonstrates how seriously you take your blog. Absolute must.

    Posted 8.5.15
  4. Sonja wrote:

    Thanks for the information, Alicia! This is all very helpful stuff and something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently.

    Posted 8.5.15
  5. Ashley Vickney wrote:

    Love this! I need to save this! such great information for people who have no idea!
    xoxo

    Posted 8.5.15
  6. Mikayla wrote:

    You just gave me the 411 on blog contracts, and I love you for it! Thanks you so much for this informative post
    Mikayla | A Seersucker State of Mind.

    Posted 8.5.15
  7. Thank you SO much for writing this! I never know what to say/do when people reach out about collaborations. Of course I want to try something new, and to really gain a potential business partner or their following in the process, but how do I go about it without looking like a amateur!? This was a great resource Alicia! You have so much experience, and I am so thankful that you have been willing to share your knowledge with your followers!

    x, Jordan Taylor, petiteMODERN

    Posted 8.5.15
  8. This is such an informative post! I’m definitely bookmarking it to look back on later!

    Posted 8.5.15
  9. Jenny wrote:

    Such a great, informative post.
    No one likes to discuss the less exciting stuff like this but it’s definitely beneficial.

    xoxo, Jenny || Breakfast at Lillys

    Posted 8.5.15
  10. Great tips and ideas! Thank you for sharing these, it is a good think to note!

    Nicole // Chronicles of Home

    Posted 8.5.15
  11. Great informative post! I learned about this idea in my Accounting class and filed it away for if I ever make enough through my blog! Thanks for sharing!
    xx, Mikkaela
    The Southwestern Prepster

    Posted 8.5.15
  12. This is such an amazing post and it’s SO helpful! I’ve just begun getting approached by companies and these are all really great questions I should be asking!

    Kayla | kaylablogs.com

    Posted 8.5.15
  13. May wrote:

    Super good information for me as my blog grows! Thank you!

    Posted 8.5.15
  14. Allie Mackin wrote:

    Hey great post! Really informative and your blog is awesome too, and I um love your name : )

    Allie of ALLIENYC
    http://www.allienyc.com

    Posted 8.5.15
  15. This is super helpful! Thanks for sharing!

    Posted 8.5.15
  16. Miss ALK wrote:

    This is one of the best blog posts that I have possibly read all summer! Thank-you for sharing! This is getting pinned to my Building a Better Blog board on Pinterest ASAP!

    xoxo A
    http://www.southernbelleintraining.com

    Posted 8.5.15
  17. Jordyn wrote:

    Best post ever! I’ve actually been wondering about contracts when it comes to blogging recently. I really appreciate the resources you provided <3

    Posted 8.5.15
  18. Elana wrote:

    This is so helpful for me as a freelance writer and a blogger. I’m going to be using these tips often!

    Posted 8.5.15
  19. This is absolutely excellent. Thank you for sharing, I will definitely be looking into these items more seriously as I continue to go further with blogging

    Posted 8.5.15
  20. Lauren Ashley wrote:

    I’m in the process of becoming an LLC but it takes FOREVER! Soon, though… kinda scaring me about the court thing! I need to find a lawyer. My dad’s really good friend is a lawyer and he’s the one doing all of the LLC stuff for me so I might have to go to him. I really need to hire someone that can work with me on a monthly basis on legal stuff!

    Lauren

    The Fashionista’s Diary

    Posted 8.6.15
  21. As a newbie blogger this is SUPER helpful. Most of this stuff I wouldn’t have even ever considered doing, let alone known how to do. Awesome post!

    xoxo Alexis @
    alexis-reliford.com

    Posted 8.6.15
  22. Great informative post! This post is really helpful for bloggers!!

    Posted 8.6.15
  23. This is such a helpful post! I really appreciate you putting this together. Adding it to my bookmarks & repinning for good measure!

    XX, SS || A Little Seersucker Sass

    Posted 8.6.15
  24. Allison Ellzey wrote:

    This is seriously so scary. Like how do you know if you are a big enough blogger to hire a lawyer and be an LLC Ah! As my blog grows I get into more and more complicated stuff that I know nothing about!

    Posted 8.6.15
  25. Marie Huang wrote:

    This is such a great post! I will definitely be bookmarking this for later use! Very informative and useful! Thanks lady!

    XOXO

    Marie H.

    Progression By Design

    Posted 8.6.15
  26. Erica wrote:

    I. LOVE. Thank you for this, Alicia! I quickly learned the importance of writing contracts when I was dealing with a sketchy PR rep who kept “promising” and saying “But you have my word”…something felt off. Sure enough, when I sent the contract over (after she had said she would sign it), she reported back that she couldn’t and didn’t have that authority. Some people try to pull fast ones, so it’s so important to be prepared!

    Coming Up Roses

    Posted 8.6.15
  27. Seriously, SUCH a good post!

    Xx Taylor
    http://lightscameracatwalk.com

    Posted 8.7.15
  28. Great post! I am definitely going to look into UpCounsel. It sounds like a great fit for my legal needs. Thanks!!

    Posted 8.7.15
  29. Ally Gagliardo wrote:

    Great post! I definitely need to start taking more precautionary actions for my blog!

    Posted 8.8.15
  30. Marisa wrote:

    This is such a great post! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Posted 8.9.15
  31. Gina Alyse wrote:

    SUCH an insightful post, Alicia! Thank you so much for this info—I was just going through some of my blogging spreadsheets today, and I would love to establish some of my rates and make contracts to have just in case of an opportunity. Thank you for sharing these tips, girl!

    Posted 8.9.15
  32. This is amazing! Thank you SO much for sharing this!

    Cynthia
    http://www.darlingdownsouth.com

    Posted 9.8.15
  33. Dia wrote:

    This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for sharing.

    Posted 1.17.16
  34. Atena Majd wrote:

    God bless you for sharing. Thank you so much!

    Posted 2.10.16
  35. Jean wrote:

    This is so helpful.

    Posted 5.9.16
  36. debbie_savage wrote:

    This is helpful information! Thanks, doll!
    xo Debbie | http://www.tothineownstylebetrue.com

    Posted 2.8.17
  37. Rivka Amar wrote:

    this was very helpful …. thank you so much

    Posted 5.28.17
  38. This is such a helpful post, thank you so much for writing. Those questions are a great checklist too. You’re a star!

    Sincerely, Sarah xx
    http://www.sincerelysarah.net

    Posted 10.6.17

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