There’s no greater feeling than when your blog finally starts to take off. After many long nights of writing, editing, and planning out your social media schedule, your blog has finally got enough for consistent traffic for other income opportunities, brand partnerships. But before you start signing up for any brand partnership agreement, affiliate programs, and sponsored posts, here are some critical things to keep in mind.
Business Is All About Partnerships
We all understand how powerful business alliances can be. For new bloggers, securing a good partnership can thrust your blog income and visibility. Brand partnerships also offer the added benefits of credibility and marketing for your blog. Studies have shown that a business can gain four times as much attention when it has a powerful brand backing the venture.
Case in point? In business, we need each other; however, knowing what you’re signing up for before diving headfirst into the pit can save you from a monster of a headache in the long run.
Types of Partnership Agreements
There are multiple types of brand partnerships your blog can engage in, some as simple as affiliate link placement to more complex deals like charitable awareness. Here’s a list of common brand partnerships out there for bloggers:
Affiliate Marketing Partnerships
Simply put, affiliate partnerships are partnerships when there’s a promotion of a company’s product in exchange for a monetary benefit. A perfect example of this is when Big Company pays Betty Blogger an agreed-upon amount of money in exchange for every referral that Betty Blogger sends to their website that purchases a product. These affiliate marketing programs are typically easy to join and range in compensation.
For example, Amazon pays its affiliates up to 10% commission. I have an affiliate program for my blog’s products in which affiliates are paid a generous 50% commission.
Brand Influencer Partnerships
More and more companies are starting to make room in their advertising budget for influencer partnerships. ‘Influencers’ are individuals who already have a following of their own.
Brands looking to advertise their products, partner with these influencers, with the hopes of tapping into their audience. This highly coveted agreement can boost a company’s exposure practically overnight. It can be a long-term beneficial opportunity for both blogger and brand.
Like influencer partnerships, media sponsorships are typically ad campaigns where the company or individual signs an agreement to promote certain products or services to an audience through a media channel (TV, Radio, Online, Social Media, etc.). Bloggers and content creators may charge a fee for an advertisement to be placed on their sites to reach the intended audience. Many use this as a passive income stream.
What To Keep In Mind Before Signing a Partnership Agreement
Now that you know a few of the ways partnerships can benefit your blog, here’s what you need to know to keep you out of a crossfire legally. You want to be careful what you agree to; because, more often than not, what you’re presented with initially may not be what you sign up for in the fine print.
#1- Have All Brand Partnership Agreements in Writing
I cannot stress this enough. For influencers, bloggers, really all content creators, have a contract in writing. Many initial proposals are sent through social media direct messaging or email trying to establish contact.
Sometimes, they are then followed up with a phone call and depending on how well that call went. You might be tempted to give your consent to move forward in taking on the brand. Before you do, ask for a contract.
You may then be sent a lengthy contract detailing the deal’s specifics. Check and double-check that everything required of you and important things like compensation are all there in writing.
Always be sure to have everything that you discussed in writing. Not only will this benefit both parties when a dispute arises, but when the time comes to (hopefully) renew the contract, you have a sounding board of what can and cannot be offered. From there, you can assess the ROI (return on investment) the partnership has on your brand. And decide if it is worth continuing.
If the company tells you that they do not have a contract that is not ok. Offer to give them one. Too often, I have seen bloggers and influencers just agree to things, do their part, and never get paid.
That is why I drafted my Sponsored Post/Influencer Agreement. It has been written by me, a real lawyer and blogger then turned into a fully customizable, easy-to-use, legal template that you reuse as many times as you like.
Because contracts are drafted in legal jargon that most people are unfamiliar with, I have seen bloggers get screwed. They tend to overlook conducting a thorough review of the offer. If you are handed a lengthy contract and you are unsure about what is being asked of you or what to expect, speak to an attorney.
#2- Outline How Customer Data Will Be Presented
I wish there was more discussion around this, as customer data is a crucial piece of partnership agreements. Let’s say that you decide to take on a far-reaching brand partnership where your blog will be exposed to thousands if not millions of current and potential customers. Let’s also say that said agreement requires product placement and access to the company’s media channels- WIN!
Now, you’ve done your part: created the content, provided the product placement, hyped up the brand, and you see the content take off. You go back to the company, show them the screenshots of the results, and then almost instantly, you get hit with the pushback of providing additional customer data before being paid out – excuse me?
Brand partnerships are solely a numbers game- drill this in. Each side wants to see how well the agreement is doing within the target audience, and this assessment determines how lucrative the partnership is. Most times, sending over screenshots of follower (or viewer) counts, audience reach, email signups, etc., can suffice. But not all companies will accept screenshots.
Make sure when discussing the contract with your lawyer (or schedule a discovery call with me should you not have one) that it clearly outlines how customer data will be shared, how often to submit information, and any additional details that need to be included. You will be surprised at the amount of leg work required to keep up with this, and depending on your agreement, your business may be solely responsible for providing all data.
#3- Handle A Breach of Contract With Grace
You may have heard a horror story or two of a company partnering with a well-known brand or celebrity, having contracts signed and details flushed out, only to be shortchanged in the end and their product or service not placed correctly to the intended audience. As viewers, we usually catch wind of this happening when the offended party takes to social media to air their grievances and provide ‘receipts’ of the issues. It’s usually a messy situation.
Should you enter into an agreement with a brand and the content requested has not been created or reached its target audience as it should have, then that may be grounds for a breach in contract. However, before you head to social media to fume and air out dirty laundry, I ask that you first pause, reflect and get your attorney on the phone. This is because there are extreme consequences should you disclose information that you are legally bound to keep hush.
For example, your contract may have an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) attached to it or may come with other disclosure agreements that may be grounds for a defamation or slander lawsuit to be filed against you -ouch!
I will always recommend that should you come against any breach of contract to discuss this with your legal counsel before going to social media. Not only will it protect both you and your brand, but it will also protect your reputation, as we all know that nothing ever dies once it’s been made public on the internet.
Brand partnerships, if done correctly, can be a beautiful and life-changing opportunity for your business, and no two agreements are the same. Keep these three legal tips in mind, (you can bookmark this post or Pin it!) when deciding to move forward on a partnership agreement, and as always, please keep all agreements in writing.