You're an influencer. You received a lucrative offer to work with a brand creating sponsored content on your blog and social media channels. Then, they send the contract and it looks like a whole lot of legalese. Now, you're ready to hide.
Don't worry! We know the legal side can be overwhelming. We've worked on influencer campaigns for years. We've also seen the fallout when people don't get a good contract. We've created this list to help you ensure that you have the terms you need in your sponsored content contracts.
Here are five must-have legal terms for your sponsored content contracts.
Specific Payment Terms
Any contract you enter for a campaign should have specific and detailed payment provisions.
Ensure that the contract includes:
- The amount you will be paid
- How you will receive the payment
- Whether an invoice is required before payment is processed
- When you will receive the payment.
We often see confusion on when the payment will be received, so we strongly recommend that this is specifically set forth in the contract. You may be paid within ten days of submitting your invoice, but some companies take much longer to process payments, depending on their internal policies. (We've seen some as high as 6 months to pay.)
Legalese translation tip: If the contract states that you'll receive payment net 30, that means that you will receive payment within 30 days after the invoice is received.
Clear Termination Provisions
In an ideal world, you enter a sponsored content contract, both parties complete the deliverables, you get paid and the client comes back for future business. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Sometimes one of the parties needs to terminate the contract. What happens next?
Ensure that your contract has a clear and unambiguous termination provision.
At minimum, your termination provision should include:
- Who may terminate (Both parties? Just the brand?)
- How they may terminate (In writing? Via email?)
- How much notice must be given. (This is typically listed as a number of days.)
- How is payment handled in the event of a termination.
Legalese translation tip: If the contract states that you, as the influencer, will be paid pro rata if the contract is terminated, it means that you will be paid for the work performed until the time of the termination.
Most sponsored content contracts include a confidentiality provision. Very simply, it will cover what the parties can and cannot discuss publicly regarding the contract. Some contracts prohibit only discussion of the compensation, while others may be more strict. Ensure that you understand exactly what is covered by your contract's confidentiality provision. Remember, when it doubt, ask the brand for an explanation of what you can discuss.
Tip: We belong to a lot of Facebook groups for influencers and it's not unusual to see people discuss terms of their contracts. We urge you to be cautious because your contract may prohibit any disclosure regarding the terms.
Ownership of the Deliverables
This is one of the most hotly debated contract provisions for sponsored content campaigns. Whenever you create an original work, you automatically receive certain protections, which includes ownership of that work's copyright and all associated copyright rights. This includes the right to control how the work is displayed and whether it can be reproduced.
Your sponsored content contract should discuss the ownership of the deliverables.
Typically, we see a couple of variations in these clauses.
- The influencer owns the copyright, but the brand retains a license to reproduce or display the content on its channels. This license can be for certain channels (digital only) and can require that you receive attribution. If the brand is asking for a license to use your content, ensure that you know what they can and cannot do.
- The influencer will assign its copyright rights to the brand and the influencer retains a right to display the content on their social channels. This means that the brand can then do whatever they want with your content after it is published.
Tip: Your contract should address the ownership of the deliverables to prevent any future confusion over how the content may be used by the parties.
If the brand expects that you will not promote any of its potential competitors, it is extremely important to address exclusivity within your contract.
Your exclusivity provision should be clear and unambiguous. For you to ensure that you are not in breach of the provision, you must understand what other type of work is prohibited. If the brand states that you may not promote its competitors, request a specific list of the companies deemed competitors.
Additionally, if there is a category prohibited, make sure it is specific. For example, if you are being hired to represent a granola company, try to avoid an exclusivity clause that says you can't promote other breakfast foods. This is too vague since just about anything can be a breakfast food. Try to narrow the clause to ensure that you know exactly who you can't work with, like other granola companies.
Don't forget: any sponsored content contract should specifically outline the deliverables that you will complete for the campaign.
When you enter into an agreement to create sponsored content, you are agreeing to perform specific deliverables for the brand. Make sure these are explicitly covered in your contract so you know exactly what you need to create for the brand.