Recently a few of our blogger friends were invited to an event. The event was being held to introduce the bloggers to a company, but the thing that caught our attention was that they were being required to sign a contract before the event.
The contract was fairly basic, setting out what the company wanted from the bloggers, but putting this into such a formal manner set us off thinking – should this be more of a standard requirement?
First – and if you only take one thing away from this post, make sure it’s this point – never sign any legal document if you are unsure about it without speaking to someone more qualified first.
A contract is not an especially bad idea in this case. As anyone who has worked with bloggers before will tell you, sometimes you won’t get all the blog posts and social media coverage that you hope for. Obviously, this is going to be unique to each situation – the blogger may have personal issues preventing them from writing a post, they may have technical issues or quite simply, they might not have enjoyed the event or item to review and don’t want to publish anything negative.
In all these situations, we as bloggers should be informing our contacts what the situation is. Bloggers should work together with the brand representatives to make sure an end result that suits all involved can be reached. Brands should be setting out what they want from bloggers before any invite or products are accepted – it’s no use sending something out to be reviewed then saying “Actually, you need to promote this product 5 times a day for a week”. If the brand isn’t forthcoming with this, then bloggers should be bringing up the questions before saying yes to anything.
Ultimately, the most important thing for brands and bloggers to do here is to communicate clearly what each side will do for the benefit of all involved. Have you even been in this situation?