Influencer Contracts & Agreements – How To
Once you’re ready to hit the ground running with your influencer campaign, it’s time to put all terms in writing. This critical step protects your brand and your influencer from mismanagement, unforeseen circumstances, and more.
As you begin to build an influencer contract, how do you know what you to include? This is an important question. There are a few high-level issues to consider (such as your influencer relationship objectives) and many staple items that every influencer agreement ought to include.
After Influencer Negotiations – What Next?
Once you and your influencer agree on terms, you are ready to write up contracts. If you’ve not yet initiated negotiations with your influencers, check out “Top 10 Influencer Negotiation Tips” to guide you during the influencer negotiation process.
Launching the contract phase of your brand-influencer relationship requires that your campaign goals and budget are finalized.
Refine Your Campaign Goals
Any undefined goals and KPIs associated with a particular campaign (or series of campaigns) can derail the contract phase. At this point in the process, there should be no surprises for your influencer or your marketing team.
If necessary, spend a little extra time refining your influencer marketing goals and asking any further clarifying questions of your influencer.
Refine Your Budget
Influencer compensation is one of the most critical portions to any influencer contract. Any piece of your influencer budget that remains ambiguous could cause your influencer to relaunch negotiations or back out of a campaign.
What Do Influencer Partnerships Look Like?
In the world of influencer marketing, there are a few relationship ground rules the most brands and influencers follow.
For example, experienced brands know that they shouldn’t micromanage their influencers. These brands carefully vet their influencers, provide clear guidelines, and then lean upon their influencers to showcase the brand as they see fit.
That said, successful brand-influencer relationships can manifest in many different ways. Ideally, you should nurture long-term relationships with your top-performing influencers. They clearly love your products/services, and they’ve successfully endeared your brand to their audience.
Short-term, or “one-off” relationships can help you expand your influencer search, generate greater brand awareness, and expand your audience.
What are Your Influencer Partnership Objectives?
When you begin constructing and sending influencers a contract, you’ll want to pay careful attention to the future of every influencer relationship. If you’re signing the same influencer for the tenth time, you might ask yourself whether it makes more sense to create more comprehensive agreements and streamline the process.
Your influencers are an extension of your marketing team, and they deserve to be treated as such. Identifying your influencer partnership objectives and then initiating a conversation with your influencers about those objectives is one of the first steps to nurturing long-term relationships.
However, if your goal is only short-term, it’s important to know that upfront and to construct your contract accordingly. But even if your partnership goal is short-term, be sure to treat your influencer with respect, because you may want to partner with them again down the road.
What Should You Include in Your Influencer Contract?
What you ought to include in your influencer contract could vary depending on the nature of the brand-influencer relationship, the nature of the campaign, and your industry. That said, the following ten items are common in nearly every influencer agreement.
1. Non-disclosure and Confidentiality Agreement
Some campaigns (such as whitelisting or Instagram takeovers) require participants to share login information. Other times, participants disclose sensitive information related to one’s business or personal brand.
A thriving business relationship requires individuals to adhere to a reasonable confidentiality understanding and agreement.
2. Compensation Model
Influencer compensation could include flat fees, commissions, product seeding, or a combination of all three. Your brand-influencer contract should clearly spell out how and when you will pay your influencer.
Influencers are usually considered independent contractors. As such, it is often customary to secure 1099s and independent contractor agreements from your influencers.
3. Timelines and Milestones
Any specifics on which you and your influencer agreed with regards to how they will post, when they will post, and how often they will post should be present in your contract. If your agreement is campaign specific, be sure to set the necessary date/time parameters.
4. Brand Campaign Guidelines
If you are like most brands, you are naturally very concerned about your brand image. You should clearly spell out any tone, language, or style guidelines that you have for your influencers.
5. Influencer Campaign Guidelines
Typically, influencers also have guidelines that protect their personal brand and sustain their social media authenticity. You should also include these demands within your influencer contract.
6. Consumer Privacy Law
While more often an issue within affiliate marketing rather than influencer marketing, there are some scenarios where influencers may gather, manage, or share consumer information. If this is the case, you can be held liable if the influencer mismanages consumer data during a campaign.
CCPA, PIPEDA, and GDPR consumer privacy agencies will prosecute those brands/individuals found guilty of violating consumer privacy law. Your influencer agreement should reinforce relevant consumer data privacy compliance standards.
7. Campaign Deliverables
Your campaign objectives dictate whether your influencer is posting a blog, video, image, product review, or a mixture. Your contract should itemize any specifics related to campaign deliverables for which your influencer is responsible.
8. Brand Exclusivity
It’s not uncommon for brands to require exclusivity from their influencers for a certain period of time during and after a campaign. You should include an exclusivity clause if you’re concerned about your influencer working with a competitor.
It’s important that you set a time period for this exclusivity. You cannot insist on exclusivity indefinitely, but you can require it of your influencers for a reasonable period of time.
9. Content Rights
Influencer posts make great repurposed content for branded posts and PPC campaigns. However, you cannot use your influencer posts in this way without securing content rights. You may need to discuss exact terms and verbiage with your attorney to ensure that you are allowed to use influencer posts for other purposes.
Content Rights Example
There are many influencer contract templates that meet minimum legal requirements and allow you to customize them to your company and campaign. For example, GRIN clients have access to content right agreements that can be tailored to specific influencer relationships.
To give you an idea of what content rights looks like, we’ve included an example below.
The following excerpt below is an example only and should not be considered legal advice or a contract template.
[Influencer Name] grants [brand name] a worldwide, irrevocable, royalty-free, fully paid-up, transferrable, sub-licensable and perpetual right and license to reproduce, publish, distribute, display, repost, share and edit all Content created for or on behalf of [brand name] in any media now known or developed in the future, including the right to create derivative works; which includes but is not limited to: [Some examples of what you would want to be sure to include might be…
- Posting to social media platforms.
- Paid support of social media posts.
- Publishing to [brand] website [or other placements]
- Use in [brand] digital, email or text message communication.
- Use in online advertising within social media platforms.
- Use in general online advertising (i.e. search, websites, digital, etc)
- Use in off-line advertising (i.e. broadcast, print, display, etc.)
- Combination with other content for any of the above uses.]
10. Grounds for Termination
A critical – albeit unpleasant – piece of your influencer contract should indicate what constitutes grounds for termination during an influencer campaign. This section ensures that you and your influencer are not locked into an agreement with which both parties wished to be released.
That said, neither party should be permitted to break the agreement at will. Your grounds for termination clause protects you and the influencer from clear breaches of trust.
How to Identify What You’ll Need in Your Contract
Much of what you’ll need to include will resemble the list above. The key is to have the influencer acknowledge the contract obligations and content rights. That said, it’s likely that you or your influencer may have additional liability issues to consider.
Consult a Business or Marketing Attorney
Anytime your marketing team is discussing legal matters, it’s critical that you seek help from a business or marketing attorney. They are the most qualified individuals to keep you safe from unforeseen legal issues. One wrong move could mean regulatory fines or civil lawsuits.
Once again, we at GRIN strongly recommend that you partner with a business attorney when building contracts for your influencers.
Conclusion: Create the Right Influencer Partnerships from the Beginning
Many potentially great brand-influencer relationships sour from day one because the brand failed to create a sustainable contract. It is discouraging for you and your team to go through the entire influencer recruitment process and then lose what could have been a successful, long-term influencer relationship.
That’s why your influencer agreement is so important. If you’re new to influencer marketing, spend a little extra time making sure your influencer contract is complete. As you gain more experience, you’ll begin to anticipate when and how an influencer agreement may need tweaking from one campaign to another.