I’ve been a professional blogger for five years now, and over the past several months, I’ve seen the trend of blogging exclusivity taking steam. Basically, brands are asking bloggers to sign exclusivity clauses to stop them from writing about or working with other competing brands. From the surface, this may look harmless, but with closer inspection, this can be a lose/lose situation for bloggers.
From a business standpoint, I’ve personally been affected by this practice and had to turn down or renegotiate contracts based on this clause. As a content creator, I make an income delivering tips, tools, and resources to my readers and followers. Brands pay me for my influence to share their message and work as an advocate. An exclusivity clause can be a pro or a con to a blogging or influencer business.
If a brand is asking for exclusivity for a substantial period, you can charge them more because you aren’t able to work with any other brands in that genre. This could prove as a wise business move and allow you to triple or quadruple your rate based on the length of exclusivity.
A brand may be more likely to work with you on additional ambassadorships or campaigns based on the fact that you have worked with them exclusively and have shown loyalty to them as a brand and client. Your readers may also be more inclined to “buy” from said brand because you aren’t working with any other competitors.
If you are unable to work with competing brands, then it could also cut into your income. That is definitely something that most of us are against.
Length of Service
I’ve heard some brands asking for a year exclusivity, which can be a rather long time in this business. Over time, your numbers could go up and your traffic could grow, causing you to be more attractive to other competing brands. But because of your contract, you must turn any other offers down.
Stifles Your Voice
For some, not being able to work with certain brands could feel like a type of censorship.
New Media vs Traditional Media
Do magazines and newspapers get asked to sign exclusivity contracts for the brands/advertorials they cover? The answer is no. It’s common practice to see two to three competing brands within an issue of a magazine. No one cries foul because of this.
So What Should You Do?
Before you sign an exclusivity clause, make sure that the length of time is suitable and worth the amount they are paying. Know your value. Get a full list of things you can and cannot do or discuss (can you geotag at a competing brand on Instagram? Does it include retweets and shares from other bloggers of whom may be in your network?)
Be smart about signing any contract, whether exclusive or not, and make sure to consult legal counsel if need be to make sure you understand it before you sign on the bottom line.