Agreement for content writers - My sample

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I'm starting to hire people to guest blog for my site. They will have the product in hand, and they will be writing detailed product reviews that will be valuable for my affiliate and ecommerce site.

I'm drafting an agreement, meant to be short and easy, draft quoted below, for us to sign. Maybe you will find it useful.

What do you think? Is clause 5 below ok too?


The compensation will vary and hopefully increase over time as I find their reviews to be valuable.


This Author Agreement ("Agreement") is made between the undersigned Blog Writer ("Contractor") and [redacted] ("Publisher").
In consideration of the mutual covenants herein contained, the parties hereby agree as follows:
1. Contractor grants Publisher non-exclusive, irrevocable, perpetual rights and license to Publisher for each article used by Publisher on Publisher's website, Facebook page, email newsletter and/ or other related uses.
2. Contractor warrants that all articles will be original works of authorship of Contractor and will not infringe upon or violate any intellectual property right of any third party.
3. It remains the Publishers discretion to use or not use a submitted article.
4. Contractor is under no obligation to submit additional articles.
5. As full compensation for the Services to be provided by Contractor, Publisher agrees to provide:
a. Contractor author recognition on published articles, and
b. Immediate payment or store credit. The choice of which and the amount will be negotiated.
  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    It remains the Publishers discretion to use or not use a submitted article.
    Sounds as if you would order an article and if you didn't use it (for any reason) might not pay the contractor?

    Immediate payment or store credit. The choice of which and the amount will be negotiated.
    You want freelancers to write for you and "negotiate" whether they're paid cash or credit?

    That's a very one sided "contract" - and experienced freelancers would probably take a pass (I would have).
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  • Profile picture of the author squeebo
    Ok, I'm willing to take the risk, but how would that be worded? All the agreement examples I can find are where the publisher doesn't pay for articles unless they accept and use them.
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    • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
      Originally Posted by squeebo View Post

      Ok, I'm willing to take the risk, but how would that be worded? All the agreement examples I can find are where the publisher doesn't pay for articles unless they accept and use them.
      The difference is that you're actively hiring a writer, as implied by the fact they'd already be provided with a copy of your product. In that kind of agreement, you hire, you pay - as long as the article fulfils the stipulated criteria.

      If you were just inviting contributions from anyone, you'd be entitled to pay only upon acceptance and/or publication.
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      • Profile picture of the author squeebo
        Originally Posted by Frank Donovan View Post

        The difference is that you're actively hiring a writer, as implied by the fact they'd already be provided with a copy of your product. In that kind of agreement, you hire, you pay - as long as the article fulfils the stipulated criteria.

        If you were just inviting contributions from anyone, you'd be entitled to pay only upon acceptance and/or publication.
        I'm just asking how that would be worded.
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        • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
          Originally Posted by squeebo View Post

          I'm just asking how that would be worded.
          And I'm just saying you're probably reading the wrong agreement samples.

          If you're hiring a writer for a specific project, you put in the agreement that you'll pay them when you receive the finished article as long as it meets the requirements set out in the original brief. Whether you go on to publish it, would be an editorial decision and out of the writer's control.
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  • Profile picture of the author agmccall
    Most freelancers are going to have their own agreement for you, not the other way around

    al
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    • Profile picture of the author squeebo
      Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

      Most freelancers are going to have their own agreement for you, not the other way around

      al
      These actually aren't freelancers looking for work. They are product enthusiasts who have skills in what doing a good review requires. They're just as lost as I am when it comes to the agreement.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    For example:

    If you placed a "for hire" ad on this forum you would advertise for:

    Need writers to submit articles for consideration. Any submissions used on my blog will be paid $$ or awarded a store credit at my discretion. There will be no remuneration for any articles submitted but not published.
    Then sit back and expect to be inundated by the worst quality of low end writing you've seen anywhere. No reputable freelance writer would waste time on such a project. THAT is what people are telling you.

    Your idea of "freelancing" seems to be that many people will do work for you with no guarantee of payment and you can not only pick and choose what to accept but can also decide if/when/how writers are paid. That's nonsense unless you are looking for the cheapest possible work by "freelancers" desperate for any work they can get.

    Sorry to be so blunt - but you don't seem to "get it". Hiring freelancers is creating a partnership of a sort - you tell them what you need and they provide it - and you pay for their work.

    I always used a simple contract even for small jobs that stated when payment was due (usually 24 hrs after work was delivered) - and that all rights transferred to the buyer at the time payment was made.
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    • Profile picture of the author squeebo
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      For example:

      If you placed a "for hire" ad on this forum you would advertise for:



      Then sit back and expect to be inundated by the worst quality of low end writing you've seen anywhere. No reputable freelance writer would waste time on such a project. THAT is what people are telling you.

      Your idea of "freelancing" seems to be that many people will do work for you with no guarantee of payment and you can not only pick and choose what to accept but can also decide if/when/how writers are paid. That's nonsense unless you are looking for the cheapest possible work by "freelancers" desperate for any work they can get.

      Sorry to be so blunt - but you don't seem to "get it". Hiring freelancers is creating a partnership of a sort - you tell them what you need and they provide it - and you pay for their work.

      I always used a simple contract even for small jobs that stated when payment was due (usually 24 hrs after work was delivered) - and that all rights transferred to the buyer at the time payment was made.
      Ok, but I agreed after the first reply that for the sake of argument I would just pay them regardless. I haven't been able to find a guest blogger contract to that effect. Maybe I'm using the wrong keywords to search.

      I expect to hire good writers for multiple articles. I'm looking for a contract that wouldn't need to be rewritten and signed every time they write another one.

      Edit: Your last paragraph sounds great. So is it standard for me to own all rights to the article when I buy it, and if they ever republish it anywhere they would be in violation of my copyright?

      Thanks!
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      • Profile picture of the author agmccall
        Originally Posted by squeebo View Post

        You're repeating this, but I already agreed after the first reply that for the sake of argument I would just pay them regardless.I still don't know how it would be worded, and I haven't been able to find a guest blogger contract to that effect.

        I expect to hire good writers for multiple articles. I'm looking for a contract that wouldn't need to be rewritten and signed every time they write another one. For one thing, it seems like unnecessary work to me. For another thing, they won't do it. These are niche enthusiasts who enjoy writing, and constant contracts will put them off.
        Again, writers/freelancers will provide you with the contract. And, if you do not like the terms then look elsewhere for your articles. Why do you seem to insist on controlling someone elses business

        al
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        • Profile picture of the author squeebo
          Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

          Again, writers/freelancers will provide you with the contract. And, if you do not like the terms then look elsewhere for your articles. Why do you seem to insist on controlling someone elses business

          al
          Professional freelance writers won't be able to do these reviews. They have to be done by people heavily involved in the niche. I guess it's worth posting jobs and searching for freelance writers who might be into it, but even out of the good writers I'm guessing roughly only one out of 10,000 of them will meet that qualification. So I'm mainly finding people who are into it and then seeing if they have writing ability and interest. So they likely have no business already, except maybe some of them already have their own small blog (which would be ideal) that isn't a source of income for them.
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          • Profile picture of the author agmccall
            Originally Posted by squeebo View Post

            Professional freelance writers won't be able to do these reviews. They have to be done by people heavily involved in the niche. I guess it's worth posting jobs and searching for freelance writers who might be into it, but even out of the good writers I'm guessing roughly only one out of 10,000 of them will meet that qualification. So I'm mainly finding people who are into it and then seeing if they have writing ability and interest. So they likely have no business already, except maybe some of them already have their own small blog (which would be ideal) that isn't a source of income for them.
            OK, now I get it. You want to take advantage of people that do not know any better. You should have said so in the first place

            al
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            • Profile picture of the author squeebo
              Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

              OK, now I get it. You want to take advantage of people that do not know any better. You should have said so in the first place

              al
              You guys are educating me on what the standard is for writing contracts, which helps a lot even though I'm still not clear on some details. The guest blogger agreements I found online paint a different story, so I'm guessing those are just done by big sites that are casting such a wide and generic net that they can get cheap work that's passable.

              The reason finding professional freelance writers isn't the right approach for this isn't because they know how contracts work (that would save me from having to come here and fumble my way through this) but because they lack the kind of niche knowledge and experience required to properly write about these types of products. Whoever I do hire, I want to find several of them and give them a good enough deal to keep them interested in writing more.

              From my perspective, even though in one respect the contract sample in the OP isn't good enough for the writer because it doesn't guarantee payment (I can see how that would de-motivate a writer), in another respect it sounds like I was conceding too much in getting a license with no exclusive rights, when it sounds like I should be buying the copyright to ensure nobody else can use it.
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              • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
                Originally Posted by squeebo View Post

                From my perspective, even though in one respect the contract sample in the OP isn't good enough for the writer because it doesn't guarantee payment (I can see how that would de-motivate a writer), in another respect it sounds like I was conceding too much in getting a license with no exclusive rights, when it sounds like I should be buying the copyright to ensure nobody else can use it.
                You could certainly ask for and expect the exclusive rights to any article you commission. So in any contract, the gist of the wording in clause 1 in your OP would work. Also, you'd be sensible to include the points mentioned in clause 2, especially if you're dealing with amateur or inexperienced contributors.

                Other than that, you should stipulate when and how you'll pay them. I'd recommend payment on delivery of the article assuming it fulfilled the criteria set out and agreed to in the original brief.

                You might want to consider offering a bonus payment (or store credit?) for any article you publish, but then you probably don't want to discourage honest reviews - if a reviewer was paid solely on publication, the temptation for the contributor would be to hold back on any criticism.

                I doubt that offering amateur or first-time reviewers any author recognition would be much of a selling point. And personally, I wouldn't bother with negotiation. Just tell them how much you'll pay.
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                • Profile picture of the author squeebo
                  Originally Posted by Frank Donovan View Post

                  You could certainly ask for and expect the exclusive rights to any article you commission. So in any contract, the gist of the wording in clause 1 in your OP would work. Also, you'd be sensible to include the points mentioned in clause 2, especially if you're dealing with amateur or inexperienced contributors.

                  Other than that, you should stipulate when and how you'll pay them. I'd recommend payment on delivery of the article assuming it fulfilled the criteria set out and agreed to in the original brief.

                  You might want to consider offering a bonus payment (or store credit?) for any article you publish, but then you probably don't want to discourage honest reviews - if a reviewer was paid solely on publication, the temptation for the contributor would be to hold back on any criticism.

                  I doubt that offering amateur or first-time reviewers any author recognition would be much of a selling point. And personally, I wouldn't bother with negotiation. Just tell them how much you'll pay.
                  Sounds great! This is starting to come together.

                  I actually was thinking about bonuses for really good ones too, but I figured it's easiest to pay it to him by just raising his pay for futurearticles instead.

                  I like to encourage them to include any negative points in the reviews so we can all feel good. I expect if I'm careful I won't be buying too many negative reviews and it will work out fine.
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  • Profile picture of the author squeebo
    Sorry, I know you guys are just trying to help. Once I have my coffee I'm in a better mood.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    Why assume that "professional writers" will have no knowledge of your chosen niche? I have specialties and I know other writers do as well.
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    • Profile picture of the author squeebo
      Originally Posted by laurencewins View Post

      Why assume that "professional writers" will have no knowledge of your chosen niche? I have specialties and I know other writers do as well.
      The more I think about that, you might be right. It's worth trying, anyway. The niche isn't THAT small.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    Your last paragraph sounds great. So is it standard for me to own all rights to the article when I buy it, and if they ever republish it anywhere they would be in violation of my copyright?
    Yup, sure is.
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