75% of marketers were using influencer marketing as of 2015. 84% are planning to include it in their marketing mix moving forward. But there's been quite a bit of debate as to whether the budgets being spent on these programs are worth it. What can you do to help ensure that the next time you work with an influencer you get the results you're looking for?
You’ve identified the right influencers to help spread the word about your new product. They’ve been briefed, terms of payment have been agreed to, and you’re feeling good about making a big splash.
But then launch day comes and goes, and you’re not seeing results considering your influencer marketing investment. So what went wrong? In many cases, it’s the scope of work (or lack thereof) specified in your influencer marketing agreement.
Yes, you had a great conversation with the influencer, brainstorming a dozen possible ideas. But did you put any of them in writing, in the contract, as an expected deliverable? Influencers may be great at what they do, but they can’t read minds. If you leave it up to them to identify what constitutes “creating content” that “supports the product launch,” you’re likely to be disappointed when a key channel or activity gets omitted.
9 Elements Influencer Agreements Must Include
So what should you include in an influencer marketing contract? Nine elements are essential:
- A clear start and end date. Yes, you’ll want to have an ongoing relationship with your influencer, but for any specific paid and contracted engagement, it’s important for both parties to agree upon when the activities start, and the completion date. If you’re paying for a post on the influencer’s website, specify the minimum timeframe the post must be live on their site.
- A scope of work with concrete and specific deliverables. Instead of a generic statement about “creating content” or “promoting on social,” a scope of work needs to include the specific deliverables the influencer must produce to satisfy the agreement. For example, “one 750-900 word blog post”, “a 1-hour webinar and accompanying slides”, or “one 3,000-word e-book.”
- The rights you’re purchasing. Are you asking for all rights to the work? Or just first publication? Is the influencer allowed to republish the content on their social and owned channels after a specific amount of time? Spell this all out.
- The delivery format. If you’re purchasing written copy, do you want to receive it as a Word or Google doc? Or is the influencer expected to put it into WordPress, with formatting and links included?
- Edit approvals. Everyone can benefit from a good editor. But no one likes to have edits they don’t approve that accidentally change their content’s meaning. So, make sure to include details on how the edit and approval process will be managed.
- Derivative content. Do you plan to create derivative content from the author’s work? For instance, chopping the e-book up into a SlideShare, an infographic, and a few blog posts, all with their name on it? Or to translate the content into other languages? And if so, does the author have the right to review and request edits on these pieces of content based upon their work?
- Advertisements. Imagine seeing your face following you around on the web, next to a product endorsement, as a result of writing a blog post. Not cool! If you plan on promoting the content through advertising and paid promotion, include that in the contract, so the author doesn’t have any unwelcome retargeting ad surprises.
- Content distribution. Spell out which channels you expect the influencer to promote their content on, and how many times. Is duplicate social content OK? Be specific, down to including days/times, if appropriate. For example, for promoting a webinar, you might have a very specific, agreed-upon promotion schedule that ramps up in the days immediately before the webinar, followed by a few posts promoting the archive availability, which is only available after a specific date.
- Metrics. How will you define success for this partnership? Is it number of leads generated? Number of social shares? Getting a social share by a specific influencer you haven’t previously engaged with? Be transparent about what results you are looking for, and that will result in continuing your collaboration.
Ideas for Influencer Content Collaboration
Influencers have numerous ways they can help share your story, depending upon their strengths and their audience interests. Here are a few ideas of how to leverage influencers to help fill out your scope of work:
- Guest on your podcast.
- Co-host a webinar with your brand.
- Write a post on your blog or theirs.
- Speak at your customer conference.
- Attend your VIP industry conference event.
- Live-tweet/Facebook livestream/live-blog from your event.
- Share your content on their social channels.
- Participate in an influencer round-up e-book or SlideShare.
- Create original visual content inspired by or featuring your brand.
- Share your content with their mailing list.
- Test out your product and write a review.
- Host an Instagram/Twitter/Facebook “takeover” of your brand channels.
- Promote their collaboration with your brand on their website and in their social channels.
- Talk to the media about your product as a brand advocate.
- Host a focus group.
- Giveaway product to their audience.
- Co-host a social media contest.
Now that you have your influencer marketing agreements in place, get more on how to make the most of your influencer marketing program, by downloading The Communication Pro’s Guide to Influencer Marketing and by downloading a free social influencer contract template.