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What does your contract really mean?

What does your contract really mean?

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What do content creation and legal advice have in common? An awful lot. And far too often, we shy away from all “the legal stuff” and don’t correctly check what we are signing up for. Not to worry, help is at hand. Lucy Legal offers her tips and tricks to make sure you stay one step ahead.

Lucy Legal provides template legal contracts and policies to female entrepreneurs. She has experience supporting business coaches health and wellness coaches, including nutritionists, life coaches and social media managers. By taking an education-based approach, Lucy helps her clients to feel confident when taking on new projects or signing agreements. Lucy empowers others to create business opportunities on their terms by sharing tips and guidance.

Lucy disrupts the legal industry by offering specialist template legal documents and support for online businesses at affordable prices. In this piece, we ask her to help us unpack core steps to take once you agree on a partnership with a brand, sponsor or partner.

It’s finally happened!

You’ve been growing your Instagram account and brand for almost a year now. Your community feels like a family, and your engagement is consistently increasing. You check your emails, and there’s one that looks super exciting. 

As you open it, you hold your breath and read that one of your favourite brands is looking to partner with you on their upcoming campaign. Within the next couple of hours, you’ve agreed in principle to take part in it, there are more details to finalise, but the agent plans to be in touch next week with a contract.

  • Your heart drops into your stomach. A contract? Of course, there’s a contract this is a household brand, you suddenly begin to doubt yourself. 
  • What will the contract say? Do you agree with the terms and conditions in the agreement? 
  • What are the key contract terms you need to be looking out for? Will the PR agency be able to tell you’ve never done this before?

Where to start with a contract

Take a deep breath. That’s where I come in. I’m Lucy, and I support entrepreneurs with their legal needs. I worked as a lawyer full-time and blogged about fitness, running and adventures. It has led me to work with huge brands such as The North Face, New Balance and Red Bull. This mix of experience puts me in a unique position to help creators just like you.

Three things you should be considering before you sign a contract

For almost a year, I was helping friends who blog with contracts they received to explain what specific wording meant, which clauses they needed to look out for and how to ensure they got paid. In doing so, I realised that there wasn’t much support for creators who couldn’t afford to invest in legal advice, so I set up Lucy Legal.

A lawyer may not have drafted the contract you are receiving

In my experience (often PR agencies tell me), there is a high chance that someone in the PR agency has “combined a few recent contracts” before sending over the contract to you. 

That doesn’t mean that the contract isn’t any good. Far from it, PR companies have heaps of experience. It means that if something doesn’t read quite right in the agreement, you can have the courage to question it, as it may not be correct.

 Check the contract term

The contract will set out the performance dates when you need to deliver your content. It will also have a contract term, the duration over which the agreement applies.

If a brand is looking for exclusivity, then the contract term may be for an extended period, such as a month. Depending on the other clauses, it may prevent you from working with different brands during that time.

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You won’t always get a contract

You could put forward your version of an agreement in situations like these, setting out the terms and conditions. If you’re starting, you may not feel confident doing that. Instead, you can look to make sure the terms are clear and agreed upon.

50% of campaigns still do not have a contract.

It’s crucial you have something to safeguard you, in case the brand does not have terms in place. There can be a lot of back and forth over the phone or email fixing the key terms. Once that has ended, take the time to summarise the key points in one email, send it over and ask the agency to agree that those terms are correct. It is essential to have the words in writing to avoid any uncertainty later on.

If you’ve found this helpful, then you’re going to love Lucy’s checklist with five key contract terms, which you can download for free on Lucy’s resources page on her website.

Read more about creating trustworthy content, too, and why it is essential.

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