Creating an influencer contract or creator agreement is an essential component of influencer marketing campaigns. Where once campaigns were based on informal agreements and loose terms, brands are now investing a significant amount of time, money, and resources into influencer campaigns, and contracts are needed to minimize risks and maximize results.
When planning an influencer campaign an important question emerges: How can I make sure that I’m getting high-quality influencer content out of my investment? You’ll probably ask yourself what do I do when what I get wasn’t what I paid for? The answer is simple: creating an influencer contract!
After all, your relationship with your influencers should be a lot like your relationship with freelancers or other service providers. You’re essentially hiring an independent creative to produce marketing materials for your brand. Because of this contractual relationship, everyone (including you) needs a clear and concise agreement for flawless execution.
Below we answer your top questions about influencer contracts, so you can walk away knowing exactly what you need to construct one:
- What is an influencer contract?
- When do I send the contract to influencers?
- What should I include in an influencer contract?
- Do I need a contract if I don’t pay influencers?
What is an influencer contract?
A contract is a written agreement signed by both parties (the brand and the influencer) which signifies that they agree to all the terms set out in the document. An influencer contract establishes important details such as what content is expected, delivery dates, compensation, content distribution, content ownership, exclusivity and grounds for termination.
As influencer marketing becomes an incredibly robust industry, a contract signifies transparency and professionalism.
You will find that most influencers expect a contract, and some even require one in order to make sure they get compensated properly for their work. For that reason, don’t be intimidated – a good contract will help establish guidelines, terms, and expectations for everyone involved. It’s a key lever to ensure brand safety as you enter into new influencer partnerships. In other words, it ensures you get the content you need on time, and the influencers get the agreed-upon compensation. Less headache, confusion, and uncertainty for all!
When do I send a contract to influencers?
This depends on how involved your campaign is. You might send the contract as early as the second email, or wait until you and the influencers have discussed certain terms like payment, content ownership, or exclusivity (more on that later!)
In general, brands don’t need to send a contract in the initial email. It can take time to develop the beginnings of a relationship with your influencers, therefore be mindful that they may not be interested from the start of the process. Instead, in the first email, you should focus on initiating a relationship and getting the influencers’ interest in the campaign instead.
Some brands send influencer contracts in the second email, or along with their influencer briefs. If your brand is sending out products to influencers in exchange for a post, the campaign itself might be simple enough for the contract to be sent out earlier rather than later.
If your campaign involves many more elements and requirements – such as content ownership (whether your brand can use the influencers’ content for other marketing purposes such as whitelisting,) exclusivity (influencers can’t work with your competitors while working with you), etc. – you might need to discuss these terms with the influencers before handing over the contract for signature. This will allow you to negotiate terms with influencers, and alter any elements to best reflect the agreement.
What should I include in an influencer contract?
There are many different ways you can construct a contract, depending on the type of campaign you run, how intensive it is, your expectations, and of course – the compensation involved. These are some crucial points to include in your contract:
- The basics: Your company’s name, address, emails, as well as the influencers’, contract date, description of what the contract is about.
- Expectations about content: This is an important part that outlines the campaign deliverables, such as how many posts, on which platform, which hashtags to include, etc.
- FTC guidelines reminder: To ensure that both you and the influencer comply with the FTC guidelines, a disclosure needs to appear properly in the branded content. Example: #ad, #sponsorship, or #brandpartnership
- Content approval: Do you need to approve influencer’s content before it goes live? Make sure you include this clause to avoid any premature publications.
- Content ownership: If you would like to reuse influencers’ content for your other marketing purposes (Reposting their content on your social media, creating whitelisted ads etc), you will need to include this term for their agreement.
- Timeline of the campaign: Establish a clear deadline for posting, or at least a rough period of time so the influencers can schedule accordingly.
- Proof of success: Influencers have access to certain insights such as Instagram story views or blog visits, which are not visible to the public. If you need screenshots or reports of these analytics, make sure to include submission details.
- Confidentiality and exclusivity: A lot of influencers are working with more than one brand. Want to avoid clashing with one of your competitors? You can also add a clause for influencers to not work with certain brands, at least for a period of time. However, as with everything, exclusivity can cost you more.
- Payment amount, method, terms and conditions: Specify the specific amount for each influencer so everyone has a reference. You can also specify the payment method, the information influencers need to submit before payment (W9, W8, etc.), and other terms and conditions.
- Clauses for cancellation or poor performance: In case of poor performance, late submission, or cancellation, what would happen to the agreed-upon payment
- Signature and date.
If you’d like more guidance on creating a influencer contract, top tips for negotiations and outreach, check out Chapter 4 of The Ultimate Influencer Marketing Guide which covers this important influencer campaign milestone.
Do I need a contract when I don’t pay influencers?
Due to the new FTC guidelines, influencers still need to disclose brand relationships even when the products are gifted, and no payment is made. Even if your campaign is smaller and follows a free format, you should continue to implement best practices. By providing an agreement you’re making sure influencers comply and there are no legal hiccups with the FTC.
Other than that, it truly depends on managing expectations. Without a contract, you risk the possibility of influencers never posting, late posting, or giving you a negative review. Whatever the agreement, be prepared for all eventualities. Whether they are participating in a paid or free campaign, a contract is beneficial for both influencers and creators.
We encourage clear and committed agreement, even when it’s a gifting campaign. In this contract, it can simply mention the minimum requirements:
- Include #ad to satisfy the FTC guidelines
- Include important hashtags or other company tags
- A rough timeline of post date
- Agreement on language use
- Cancellation policy
Creating an influencer contract lays the foundation for a successful campaign and helps to strengthen partnerships. When influencers and brands are on the same page and communication is clear, there is less chance of disappointment and unsatisfactory results.
Now you’ve mastered influencer contracts, it’s time to dive into campaign tactics. Check out the guide below for campaign insights and implementation:
Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog article does not, and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The content and materials provided in this article are for general informational purposes only.