11 Influencer Contract Terms you Need to Know (and how to negotiate them)

by kaya@comfygirlwithcurls.com
influencer contract terms glossary | Black content creator holding up papers to sign

In the ever-evolving world of content creation, understanding and negotiating influencer contract terms can be the difference between a fulfilling partnership and one full of resentment. Let’s explore some of the terms you are most-likely to see in your contracts, ensuring you’re armed with knowledge and strategies for your next negotiation.

Must-Know Influencer Contract Terms

If you’d like the video-version of this information, check out the below! Text version is summarized beneath it as a glossary of sorts.

Related Post: How to Negotiate with Brands

1. DELIVERABLES

Definition: What you are being asked to “deliver” to or provide the brand. I.e. the specific content you are being asked to create, including the format, quantity, and platforms you will be posting on.

Get clear on:

  • If you are doing a short form video, a long form, or static image.
  • If you are doing a simple talking head video, or something that needs to be shot over multiple days.
  • How many rounds of content there are.
  • What platforms you will be posting on–are you cross-posting, or doing uniquely tailor content for each platform.
  • When does this content need to be delivered?

Clarify expectations by ensuring the deliverables outlined in your contract match your proposal or previous discussions. Make sure you aren’t agreeing to do more work than you are being compensated for.

If a brand can not meet your rates, play around with the deliverables to come up with an arrangement you are comfortable with that fits within their budget. This could look like posting on fewer platforms, creating fewer rounds of content, or doing a low-lift static image or story post instead of a 60 second reel.


2. EXCLUSIVITY

Definition: Exclusivity clauses outline restrictions on your ability to work with or engage with competitors of the brand you’re partnering with during the contract term.

Get clear on:

  • Who is considered a competitor?
    • Product — you’re promoting yogurt and can’t promote any other yogurts.
    • Company — you’re promoting yogurt and can’t promote any other brands that make yogurts.
    • Industry– you’re promoting yogurt and can’t promote any other food.
  • What actions violate exclusivity?
    • Is it just working with a competitor, or can you not talk about them organically, attend events sponsored by them, etc.?
  • How long are exclusivity terms valid for?

Exclusivity is an important contract term for content creators to look out for–because if a brand doesn’t want you to engage with competitors, there should be additional compensation involved.

If exclusivity is broad or lengthy, this should be reflected in higher compensation due to potential lost opportunities.

If a brand has a tight budget, you can offer to narrow the exclusivity from an industry level to a product level, you can shorten the duration, or negotiate what actions actually violate exclusivity so that you can come to a happy agreement.


3. TERM LENGTH

Definition: The duration or period during which the contract is active and enforceable.

Get clear on:

  • The length of the contract term
  • Any clauses that have their own time-frame that do not align with the term length
    • Example: Some rights may extend in perpetuity, exclusivity might not line up, etc.

Be wary of long-term influencer contracts without escape clauses or periodic reviews. If a long term is necessary, push for periodic renegotiation opportunities to adjust terms based on changing circumstances.

Challenge anything that says in perpetuity. (More on that below).

A shorter term with an option to extend is often preferable, providing flexibility for both parties.


4. USAGE RIGHTS

Definition: This term outlines how the brand can use your content, including on which platforms, in what formats, and for how long.

Get clear on:

  • Scope of usage rights
    • Organic usage (usually just reposting on their own platforms), Paid usage (using it as ads, potentially even on billboards and TV ads), interval vs external?
  • Geographical limitations
    • Worldwide usage? Or just limited to North America?
  • Duration of rights.
  • Irrevocable? I.e. can you not take it back?
Media that can be used for digital usage rights - content creator contract terms | Radio, press, television, internet, social media - words on wooden blocks - 3D illustration

The last thing you want is for your content to pop up somewhere you didn’t think you had consented to… or worse to find out you had accidentally allowed the brand to run ads on your content forever–allowing them to profit of your image without you collecting a dime.

Limit the duration of usage rights, ideally to a few months, and specify the types of usage allowed (e.g., social media, website, print).

Negotiate higher fees for broader rights, and always push for the right to review and approve how your content is used in paid advertising or other brand materials.


5. PERPETUITY

Definition: Quite simply, “in perpetuity” means forever. It is usually tied to other influencer contract terms to qualify how long that term is valid for.

Get clear on:

  • what clauses are being modified by the term ‘in perpetuity’
  • whether or not you are granted any further compensation as your content is used well into the future.

As a general rule, never sign anything that says “in perpetuity”.

A contract should never last forever, as things can change petty quickly.

Usually ‘in perpetuity’ is tacked on to usage rights, which usually means you are agreeing to the brand can using your content indefinitely, without further compensation.

Ask questions to get at the heart of what the brand wants to use forever and why. If it is usage, negotiate on a 3 – 6 month basis, offering to extend usage rights for an additional fee or upon negotiation when the term expires.


6. WHITELISTING

Definition: Whitelisting allows the brand to run customized ads using your content, and using your profile to generate ‘like-audiences’ to target beyond just your followers.

Get clear on:

  • The term length of whitelisting
  • What is the course of action when things go wrong
    • Whitelisting is different from tapping the ‘boost’ button on your IG post, and can put your likeliness in front of people who do not know or trust you. Speaking from experience, this brings on a higher level of negativity and hate. Have a course of action for when things get nasty.

Clearly define the scope, duration, and budget for any whitelisting campaigns. Negotiate compensation separately for whitelisting, considering the potential impact on your personal brand and audience perception. Establish boundaries for how and where your image and content can be used in ads.

And just like other usage rights, this can be negotiated to accomodate different budgets. Influencers should limit and extend the term length for whitelisting as needed to come to a happy agreement.

Influencer Contract awaiting signature

7. CONFIDENTIALITY

Definition: This clause defines what information about the partnership you’re not allowed to share publicly and/or with competitors.

Get clear on:

  • What aspects of your contract and partnership are confidential
  • For how long? (Embargos require you to keep product information confidential until a specific date and time).

There is usually not too much flexibility when it comes to confidentiality, but it’s important to ensure the confidentiality requirements of your influencer contract are reciprocal, protecting your information as well.

Clarify what is considered confidential and negotiate terms that allow you to share your work and partnership experiences in a way that supports your brand and transparency values.


8. PAYMENT SCHEDULE

Definition: The breakdown of when you can invoice and expect to receive payment for your services.

Get clear on:

  • if you are being paid in one chunk or in pieces
  • if you can invoice upon signing the contract, upon posting, or even upon submission of final analytics

For longer-term contracts, advocate for a payment schedule that aligns with deliverable milestones (i.e. upon submitting content or posting) rather than a lump sum at the end. Alternatively, request partial upfront payment or regular instalments to ensure steady cash flow. I


9. NET PAY

Definition: This specifies the time frame in which the brand must pay you after receiving an invoice. Usually communicated in a number representing the amount of days (ex. NET 30 means 30 days upon invoicing).

Get clear on:

  • How many days it will take to get paid
  • The consequences if they do not pay on time

Aim for the shortest net pay period possible to improve your cash flow.

If faced with long net terms like net 60 or net 90, negotiate for a portion of the payment upfront or upon content delivery as mentioned above. This ensures you aren’t financially strained while waiting for payment.

And despite having clear Net Pay terms in the contracts, brands still pay late. Consider including late payment penalties to encourage timely payments.


10. FORCE MAJEURE

Definition: This clause frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond their control occurs.

While Force Majeure is an important contract term to understand as an influencer, there usually isn’t much else to know or negotiate.

That being said, ideally it is not the only way to get out of a contract. Look for other ways to end your relationship such as by providing 2 weeks written notice.

Ensure the definition of force majeure events is not overly broad, potentially excusing the brand from their obligations too easily. Consider negotiateing terms that allow for contract suspension or extension rather than termination under these circumstances.


11. INDEMNIFICATION

Definition: This addresses who is responsible for legal costs and damages if there’s a lawsuit related to the content you create.

Get clear on:

  • Who is liable when things go south
  • Whether or not you will be taking the fall for things that are outside your control.

Push for mutual indemnification, ensuring that both you and the brand are protected against third-party claims. Limit your liability to actions within your control, ensuring you’re not held responsible for the brand’s use of your content beyond the agreed terms.


Final Thoughts on Content Creator Contract Terms

Navigating the ins and outs of influencer contracts can initially seem daunting, but with a deeper understanding and the right negotiation tactics, you can secure terms that respect your value and protect your interests.

Bookmark this page so that as you approach your next contract, this list can guide your negotiations toward more favorable outcomes. Your content and brand are valuable assets; treat them as such in every partnership.

Let’s keep the conversation going! Share which term you find most challenging to negotiate or any tips you’ve discovered in your own experiences. Together, we can demystify the business side of content creation, ensuring we all win in this rapidly-growing industry!

More Content Creation tips can be found over on YouTube!

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