All types of businesses have contracts. If you sign up to Facebook or Gmail, you will have to agree to Terms of Service. When you hire a photographer or accountant, you’ll sign a contract. The same applies to hiring a blogger. You and your blogger need a contract.
You may be surprised to hear that many freelance bloggers don’t actually send contracts. They agree to terms within an email or through a Skype message and then hope for the best.
Both you and your blogger may think that everything is fine. But then there are problems in the future and neither really have a legal leg to stand on. You see writing contracts aren’t just good for the blogger, but they’re also good for you.
Here’s why you need a contract from the beginning of your business relationship and why I will always send one to you to sign when you hire me.
The Content Details Are Laid Out
The contract will set out all the content details. You’ll see the number of blog posts/articles/type of content you’re going to get each month and the length of those articles. In some cases, the length with state the minimum or a window of length. I tend to state either a minimum of 500 words or a window of 500 and 800 words, with extra lengths to be discussed.
The price will also be included, along with payment terms. This isn’t just about the amount to pay, but the time the payment should be expected. I set out a set day of the month that I expect payment to be made. There will also be terms to protect you, such as returns of deposits or money paid upfront should there be problems with the content.
If you don’t have these details, the freelance blogger could reduce the number of posts you’re given or reduce (or even increase) the word count without warning. While you can withhold payment, you could find yourself without content at all with no legal recourse for any money that you have paid upfront (and most bloggers will ask for some of the costs upfront).
You don’t have to agree to all the terms. You and your blogger can discuss other terms that you both want added. Of course, if you can’t come to an agreement, then there will be no business relationship.
Deadlines Are Clear and Set
The freelance blogger will use the contract to set out the deadlines. This is important so you know when you’re going to get the content and whether it will be usable right away.
Some bloggers will create the writing and then it is up to you do to all the formatting, find images, and post the content on your own blog. This will be stated within the contract, so you know exactly what to expect when you get your content.
The deadlines should be clear in the contract. Ambiguity causes problems in courts of law, so clear and precise dates are essential. I usually state X day of the month to remove ambiguity.
Rights and Licenses Are Clear
What types of rights and licenses are you getting with the content? Will you have all copyright or will the writer retain some? Will you need to put the bloggers name on the content or is it ghost writing?
Don’t assume that you will get all rights. I see a lot of people claiming the “work for hire” when they order blog posts from bloggers. That “work for hire” recourse isn’t necessarily going to extend across international borders,
The contract will state which country (and even state) the contract covers. You will then a clear breakdown of all rights and licenses you are purchasing.
Look out for terms like “moral rights,” “usage rights,” and “exclusive rights.” These can help give you an idea as to whether the content will show up else online.
Refund Policy and Expectations from You
Contracts can also go into the details of the refund policy. May writers will be strict with this type of policy due to the work already being put in and writing being of a subjective. However, you can expect refunds if the content is not to the standard promised or if incorrect facts are reported.
The section that includes expectations from you is another important factor and reason you need a contract. You will need to provide certain information so your blogger can get to work. Without this information, the blogger will be stuck and may not be able to deliver by the stated deadline due to your delay.
Contracts need to be signed by both parties. This won’t just protect your blogger, but will also protect you. Either one of you can create a contract, although it should be the blogger. You can then both negotiate until you have terms that both of you agree upon. Make sure you have a contract in place before you and your blogger start work. You need a contract for an easy and positive relationship.
Note: This content was originally published on July 24, 2014. It was updated on July 17, 2017.