Do you remember the first time you received a contract from a brand? I do, and I didn’t even bother to read through it. I didn’t start reading my Influencer contracts until later on in my journey, and I can’t imagine how many things I signed over to brands without even knowing it!
Many creators can’t stand contracts because of the legal jargon and long paragraphs of terms and conditions. And let’s not forget how pressured you may feel to sign it immediately so you can start the partnership.
You shouldn’t sign anything that you don’t fully understand. It’s important to read through your contracts and make sure that you’re comfortable with everything in it.
After reviewing many Influencer contracts of my own and investing in my knowledge, I know which terminology to look out for before signing it.
In this post, I want to share important terms to look for in Influencer contracts. Learning these will help you have more confidence in what you’re signing and potentially negotiate more money.
Disclosure: I’m not a lawyer and this post shouldn’t be taken as legal advice. These are terms I’ve learned through signing contracts, negotiating, and investing in courses.
Terms In Influencer Contracts:
The first things you should look for are your effective date and term length. The effective date is when you’re bound by the terms in the contract. Make sure that it reflects the date you’re signing it.
Term length refers to how long the contract will be in effect. This is important to know and will determine when the other terms and conditions in the contract will end. Make sure that the brand specifies how long it will be. Will it last for 3 months or one year?
This section includes the type of content you agree to provide for the partnership. While reviewing this, you want to make sure that the number of deliverables is correct. What you agreed to create during the negotiation process is what should be listed.
Examples of deliverables: (1) Blog post, (2) Instagram Posts, (1) Instagram Story Series, etc.
Will the brand need to receive your content by a certain date to approve it? How many revisions or reshoots can they request? This information should also be listed within your deliverables section so you can stay on track with deadlines.
Normally, your Influencer contracts will say that you have to follow the creative guidelines provided by the brand. Following the guidelines will lessen the chance of you having to do a reshoot or revise your content.
You want to make sure that you have a copy of the guidelines or that it’s listed on a separate document. The last thing you want to do is sign a contract when you aren’t sure what the brand is expecting.
Related Post: How to Negotiate Brand Deals as an Influencer
Contract Payment Terms
One of the most important sections is your compensation. You should always check to make sure the rate you agreed on is correct. Mistakes can happen on the brand’s end, and you don’t want to end up not getting paid what you deserve by overlooking this.
You also want to look for payment terms. Payment terms refer to how long it’ll take for you to receive compensation after a partnership is over. You may notice NET 30 which means that the brand has 30 days to pay you. This is usually the standard you’ll see in most Influencer contracts.
If you’re working on a long-term partnership with a brand, you can negotiate a schedule to receive monthly payments. For example, if you’re working on a 3-month campaign, you can ask to be paid NET 30 after your content goes live each month. You can even ask for a 50% deposit upfront.
How will the brand pay your rate for the campaign? Will they use direct deposit, mail a check, or send your money through PayPal? This should be specified in the contract so you can know what information to provide on your invoice.
Speaking of invoices, you want to know whether or not you’ll have to send an invoice to the brand after your content is live! Some contracts may state that payment won’t process until your invoice is received.
The Money-Makers in a Contract
The two upcoming terms that we’re about to discuss are huge and can increase your fee when working with brands. It’s important to know the purpose of each one and how to negotiate these provisions.
Usage rights refer to the rights you grant a brand to use your content for marketing purposes. It defines who owns the content and where it can be used for promotion.
This should be discussed before you receive a contract because you want to make sure that you provide an accurate rate for licensing your content. Sometimes, brands may sneak this provision into your contract. This is why it’s important to read each line and understand what you’re signing.
One thing you want to avoid when it comes to licensing is “in perpetuity”. If you see those words in your contract, that means you’re giving the brand rights to use your content forever, and we don’t want that to happen!
You should always retain full rights over your content. This will help you be more specific about your fees, where your content can be used, and how long it can be used.
For more information about usage rights, check out this post on my IG:
Exclusivity is when you aren’t able to work with or publish a brand’s competitors for a certain amount of time. To eliminate confusion, make sure the brand states exactly who its competitors are. This is also something that can be discussed before receiving a contract and requires an extra fee.
You want to charge accordingly for this provision because every month that you’re exclusive to the brand, you’re missing out on potential compensation from others. Imagine if you have to turn down a 5-figure campaign from their competitor because you signed this agreement?!
From what I’ve learned, it’s best to charge your rate for the scope of work each month. For example, if a brand agreed to your rate of $1000 and wants you to be exclusive to them for 6 months, you would charge them a total of $7000. ($1000 for each month on top of your initial rate).
If a brand tries to give you push back, negotiate this part of the contract to either be removed or change the exclusivity timeframe until you’re able to meet in the middle.
Related Post: How to Increase Your Income as a Content Creator
The FTC, also known as Federal Trade Commission, has specific guidelines for Influencers to follow when working with brands. You should always disclose when you’re being compensated for content by using #AD and/or the Paid Partnership tool in Instagram.
Not only do you want to disclose this information for the FTC, but it’s also important to remain authentic to your audience. You want to be honest when you’ve been paid to promote a product but still provide your honest opinions.
I look for this section in each contract and make sure that I know how to properly disclose the sponsored content and relationship with the brand I’m partnering with.
You want to make sure that you understand what you can or cannot share with others so you don’t end up with a lawsuit from a brand and/or agency. This section will discuss your obligation to keep private information in the contract confidential.
I haven’t seen this talked about much within the influencer industry, but it’s just as important as any other term. Force Majeure refers to an unforeseen event that may prevent obligations in the agreement from being completed. It’s important to know what will happen if something out of your control affected the campaign.
Here are examples that could be listed in this section:
- Acts of God
Let’s say you’re working on a long-term partnership and you’ve completed most of the content, however, due to an unforeseen event, the contract has to be canceled or put on hold. Will you be able to receive compensation for what you’ve done so far or will you have to wait? Is there a specific date that the campaign will resume?
It’s important to ask questions so you and the brand can have an understanding of how to move forward if something like this happened.
To indemnify means you promise to cover losses if something is done to cause a brand/agency harm or if a 3rd-party sues them.
Normally, this clause is only protecting the brand and not you as an Influencer. It’s important to negotiate this section of the contract and make it mutual – both you and the brand should hold each other harmless.
If a customer wants to sue a brand because of a product they saw you post on Instagram, you would be liable for any costs that the brand/agency has to provide for this incident. Make sure that you’re protected in this clause because you never know what could happen!
Related Post: Brand Partnerships: When You Should Decline Them
The termination section defines how you and the brand can get out of a contract. You want to ensure that you’re covered just in case you have to end a contract before the term. In this section, you also want to make sure that you receive written notice within a sufficient amount of time if the brand has to cancel it.
Once again, if you’re in a long-term partnership and the brand has to end the contract early, will you receive the fees that are owed to you? This should be stated in the termination section.
I know this was a long one, but when you start working with brands as an Influencer, knowing these contract terms is important.
One person that has helped me a lot with Influencer contracts is @advisedbysteph. She’s a brand deal consultant and lawyer that teaches influencers how to negotiate brand partnerships so they can get paid more. I purchased her Brand Deal Negotiation Playbook which has proven to be money well spent!
I highly recommend checking her out if you’re looking for someone knowledgeable to review your contracts and ensure you’re getting paid your worth.