There are many benefits to working with content creators, but one of the best value adds of working with a content creator is their ability to create content for your brand. With this in mind, much like working with a traditional production company or photographer, if you want to use an influencer’s content for your own marketing purposes, you must add the terms “usage” and “exclusivity” into your strategy vernacular.
So what is “usage” and “exclusivity”? Simply put, if you are going to use an influencer’s piece of content for an ad (this would include things like billboards, Facebook or Google ads, or print) you’ll need to disclose how you are going to use their piece of content, and how long you are going to use the content creator’s piece of content as an ad.
Why should you do this? Ethics. The normal price of a sponsorship is priced based on the impressions, clicks or reach your team can expect to see from working with the content creator. That said, once you start using their image for anything outside of organic social (that means anything that you “boost” or put ad spend behind) you need to tell that creator how you are using that photo, because you don’t own it. They do. It’s their piece of work.
How brands should pay for usage
When approaching an influencer for a campaign, they will ask you how you plan on using that asset. If they don’t it’s your responsibility as a marketer to tell the content creator how you will be using their images. Again, you don’t own the image, they do.
If you want to “own the image” or use it as you please, you must let the influencer know. If it says you own the images that are produced by the influencer in your contract, tell them how you will be using the assets, this will dictate the total “rate” or fee of your project.
How to pay for monthly usage
Go by the rule of threes: To pay a content creator for usage, we recommend going by the “rule of threes”. For each month that you use their image for email, web usage, paid social etc… you must pay that content creator 30% of the sponsored rate.
- For example, if the sponsored post was $1,000, industry standard is you should pay them $300 for each month you use the image as an ad.
- If you tell them you are going to use the image for two months but end up using it for three, be upfront with them. They may say it’s OK, you don’t need to pay anything else, or they will request another month of usage.
Perpetuity and the “rule of threes”
Next up, say you want to use the image forever, and you want to own the rights to the image the content creator produced for you, that means you want to buy that asset in “perpetuity”. Perpetuity means you own that image forever and can do whatever you want with it.
So how do you pay for perpetuity? In this case, you would pay the content creator 3x the sponsored rate.
- For example, if the sponsored post was $1,000, you would then pay the content creator $3,000 to own the image in full.
Next up, is exclusivity.
As a company, you may be running a campaign with a content creator and you want to make sure they don’t talk about any competitive brands over a certain period of time. That makes complete sense, as you want the post to feel as authentic and genuine as possible. You don’t want them endorsing other products like yours right after the sponsored post you did together.
With that said, you must acknowledge that this is how content creators make money, and implementing tight exclusivity terms will come with an added fee. Why, do you ask? Well because limiting who they can partner means less money going towards their yearly earnings. Running a blog, YouTube channel, Instagram account etc, is a full time job for many, and restricting their earnings due to an exclusivity clause means that you will need to pay them for the partnerships that they need to turn down.
So how do you price for exclusivity? We recommend first being upfront with the content creator and telling them about the exclusivity terms you hope to implement. From there, ask them how much you would need to pay for these terms.
Transparency is everything when it comes to exclusivity.
One of the biggest issues we see in the industry is there is no standardization for usage and exclusivity. Of course, these rates are subject to change based on budget, but we hope at the minimum both brands and content creators are able to be on the same page about how their images are being used.
As a company, if you are making money from an image that you don’t own, you must pay the person who made that photo for the rights to use that image as an ad.
*If you ever have questions about usage, or how much to pay for usage and exclusivity don’t hesitate to reach out to our team directly. We are here to help!