I often refer to the state of the internet as the wild west.
We have rolled out in covered wagons and staked our claim, but don’t exactly know what the future holds. Many of us are making this up as we go along.
The good thing about making it up as we go is that we learn a lot. And we become the experts for the next generation of settlers.
The bad thing about making it up as we go is that there are a lot of problems where there are multiple solutions – and not obvious which one might be in our best interest.
I really feel like exclusivity is one of those things.
What does being exclusive mean?
That is our first dilemma. It means different things to different companies. When I get approached with a contract or spoken agreement that includes language of exclusivity, I try to initially understand WHY it is there. What is the company afraid I might do? Who are they trying to keep me from working with?
The second part of this issue is length of time. We know that things can change drastically in a matter of months! In one situation, I signed an exclusive contract for 2 years when I had 10,000 page views a month. By the time that contract ended, I had over a million. The opportunities I had at a million page views are VERY different than the ones I was given at 10K…but I couldn’t have predicted that!
The third thing I always make clear is WHAT platform the exclusive part pertains. I would NEVER include my FB page. A company couldn’t pay me enough to make that worthwhile. I also make sure that they understand that my sidebar ads and on-image ads are NOT included – just blog content. Or in another contract, I am exclusive for video to one company, but that doesn’t include my blog.
What should I do?
You have to step back and look at it with perspective. What might be best for your blog? Once you come up with what seems reasonable, then go back to negotiate.
Everything is negotiable.
I would ALWAYS ask for a shorter time frame. I don’t care if they said 6 months. I go back with the suggestion of 3.
I would ALWAYS ask for more money. Depending on the time frame, it may be 3x my usual rate. I have to protect myself from potential income loss based on this contract.
I would ALWAYS clarify terms and mention or ask that it be removed altogether.
The goal of negotiation is not to lose the contract or play hardball, but protect what I have built. In most cases, the way I do business normally is what the company is trying to put in legal terms. Am I going to post sponsored posts for Chevy and Ford on the same day? Never. But they don’t know that and they may have run into another blogger with another philosophy so clarifying your blog vision often makes it easier to come to an agreement.
I think it is easy to let our emotions get involved especially when it is a client that we adore, but this is business. And how much are you going to adore them in 18 months if you feel like you were slighted?