I learned so much when I attended the Mediavine conference, and one of the best sessions was about contracts. I used to review contracts as part of my job as a paralegal on a corporate legal team, so I feel comfortable reviewing contracts, but during the session I learned that there are a few things I should consider negotiating into a contract.
If the client is responsible for sending you product to include in a blog post, you want to add in language saying that product must be received by x date or x days before the first draft is due. There have been times when I waited weeks for product, and received it two days before the project was due – which didn’t really give me much time to complete the project. Set a deadline for receiving product just to protect yourself. You may also want to say that if product is not received by the deadline the blog post’s publishing date will be adjusted.
The wording on this can be tricky. Contracts last for a certain term. The term can be for any amount of time, generally it is as short as 30 days or as long as 6 months. Here is what you need to pay attention to: are you going to be paid x number of days after the completion of the project, or are you going to be paid x number of days after the end of the term. If you are being paid 60 days after the end of a 30 day term – you will be waiting 90 days for payment. If the term is 6 months, and payment is 60 days after the end of the term, you will be waiting 8 months for payment. Pay attention to this language, and ask for it to be changed to x number of days after the completion of the project if the term seems too long.
This is a whole can of worms. Who has rights to the images? If the client wants to use your images, they should be paying more for the image rights. You can also define how the images can be used. For example, the images can be used on social media only but not on the website or in advertisements. You can use the Getty Images Pricing Calculator to determine how to price image rights.
If you are in the images, you may want to carefully review the agreement to make sure that the brand cannot alter the images. This blog post recounts a situation where a brand with image rights altered the blogger’s nose in images and then used them in a catalogue!
Another key consideration is which company has the image rights. For example, if you worked on a project for Aveeno, which is owned by Johnson & Johnson, you may want to make sure that the image rights only allow Aveeno to use the images.
Reviewing the Blog Post:
The contract should outline whether the client wants to review the blog post prior to publishing or not. If they do want to review the blog post, set up a timeline saying that the post needs to be submitted for review by x date, and that the client has x number of days to review, and that the post will be published on x date.
So now you might be wondering, how do you bring this up? I recommend doing it before the client sends you a contract. Just say that there are some terms that you would like to have included in the terms of the contract. Then write them out. This way the client can send these along to their legal team when they ask for the contract. It is easier to present these terms upfront, than for the client to have to go back to their legal team with new terms. This also speeds things up.