Guys: I am in disbelief that my 7 Year Blogiversary is in a few weeks and that I’ve been blogging full time for 1.5 years now. How time flies! When I first started blogging in 2011, A. I was still learning and a bit inconsistent, and B. I don’t think that brands knew how to work with bloggers. Fast forward to 2018. Whether you’re a microinfluencer or have tens of thousands of followers, there’s a chance for bloggers large and small to partner with brands.
While it’s exciting to work with a brand on a campaign, it’s important to read the fine print and not sign your life away in the process. I’ve spotted some crazy things in contracts over the last seven years that I think some influencers would skip right on over! Here are five blogging tips of things you should ask a brand before signing on to a blog collaboration.
The 5 Blogging Tips:
What is the Scope of Work?
Nine times out of 10, the brand will state the scope of work for a campaign in their initial email. However, on rare occasions, they don’t. The scope of work refers to what deliverables you owe the brand for a particular project. Sometimes I’ll collaborate with brands on 1 Instagram Post; sometimes they want the full blog post package with mentions on all my social networks. Ask the brand exactly how many posts they’re looking for, and on what platforms.
Also, sometimes the brand will ask for analytics after the campaign has ended. Pulling this data does take additional time, so keep this in mind when giving brands your rate for a project!
What is the Timeline?
Now that you have the scope of work, it’s time to ask what the desired due date for the project is. This is important for a few reasons. For starters, even though I do this full-time, I travel a lot, I have a life outside of blogging, and I’m not always available to shoot a campaign. If a brand is requesting a quick turnaround time, I have to plan this out with my photographer accordingly.
Second, I try not to have any campaigns overlap with each other. My ultimate goal is not to post back-to-back sponsored content posted on any of my channels, however, sometimes it happens: campaign timelines might shift, or a brand might be late sending over approval for a post.
I also ask if the brand requires a draft, and when that draft is due. Sometimes, brands can review a draft within 48 hours; sometimes, it takes a month to receive revisions/approval. Something to keep in mind while planning out your edit calendar!
Is there exclusivity involved?
While a brand should express any exclusivity clauses up front, sometimes they fail to mention this when you’re signing on to a campaign — and instead, they’ll place it in a teeny, tiny clause in an 8-page contract. Exclusivity is a major thing to consider, especially if you’re a niche blogger. For example, I partner with fashion, beauty, alcohol and travel brands on a regular basis. Yes, I know the alcohol is random, but this hey — I’m a wine enthusiast! An exclusivity period for any of these categories could hinder my income.
If there is any sort of exclusivity clause, ask how long the term is and what category/retailers would be excluded. Sometimes, an exclusivity clause can cause you to lose business. If you predict that an exclusivity clause will limit the number of campaigns you can take on, you can either try to negotiate it out of the deal or ask for additional compensation for potential campaigns lost.
What usage rights is the brand requesting?
Hands down, this is the #1 thing I think bloggers fail to consider when signing on to a campaign. This is also something that brands usually don’t mention while negotiating a deal, and quietly slip in a contract.
Wondering how to word this question? I usually ask “What usage rights are you requesting for the content produced in this campaign?” Sometimes, all the brand wants to do is have the ability to repost your content on social media, and give you credit. That’s pretty standard. If the brand requests a photo license or requests ownership/copyright to your work, that’s when you need to either charge more or try to negotiate that part out of your contract. I wrote a whole post about content licensing a few months back that breaks down the do’s and don’ts of usage rights.
What is the budget/payment terms?
Last, but certainly not least: compensation! I’m sure this is one of the first questions a blogger will ask a brand before signing on to a collab. However, I like to ask all of the above questions to a brand first before sending over my rates. Every collaboration is going to be different, and there’s no “one-size fits all” price tag for campaigns. I calculate my desired rate based on the following factors: scope of work, turn-around time, exclusivity clauses, photo licenses, analytics reporting, and if the campaign requires me to travel and/or purchase a product.
Another thing to ask about? Payment terms. In my experience, Net-30 or Net-45 is pretty standard, but I have signed on to a few campaigns that paid as quick as 15 days, and as long as 75 days. It’s definitely something to consider!
What questions do you ask brands before collaborating? What are some of your blogging tips?
Photos by Tom McGovern