I am a huge advocate for collaboration. Especially the type of collaboration that has you leaning in and wanting to learn more. We all know that we have people in our communities that we would love to connect others with and have them pour directly into our audiences. While having contributions from these influential and incredible resources, you must also consider that the content is their intellectual property. That is what is driving their contribution and you need to determine how that aligns with your short term and long term goals.
There are, of course, important considerations to address, but at the heart, it is about setting clear expectations, and setting those expectations from the start.
Continue reading as we dive into the strategic steps to inviting your closest friend, trusted colleague or community advocate to contribute to your platform.
SUPPORT THEM BY MAKING SURE YOU ARE PREPARED
There is no better way to support your contributors than making sure that you are prepared. Communication is truly key here, and having an open dialogue and a system that both anticipates their questions and your needs, will not only be respectful of their time but protective of your own.
In this system, I like to include, check-ins, reminders, and different material that you may need leading up to their contribution. But, I don’t want you to forget the follow-up. The follow-up will allow you to share the impact that they have made and any responses that you have received, plus thank them for their time.
TIPS TO SET EXPECTATIONS FROM THE START
Using not only my personal experience through my Guide My Community virtual event, but also with my clients, I want to give you a few strategic tips on how to set expectations with your contributors from the start.
- Share your vision and the topic for their contribution
- Let them know who their audience is
- Let them know what you need from them and when (*cough* in writing)
WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR COMMUNICATION
Giving your contributors a timeline upfront and letting them know what you are going to need from them, will let them know how they can show up for you. This includes information such as their bio and headshot, but if you have something else in mind, let them know what that might be and when you will need it.
This information will not only be used for the contribution itself, but to promote the contribution ahead of time, and within your admin systems.
HOW YOU INTEND TO USE THEIR CONTRIBUTION
Their contribution is not only the one piece we are thinking about, but it’s lending their picture, their name, and their bio so you can publish and promote their contribution.
Essentially this is all their intellectual property. When you invite someone as a contributor, you want to make sure that you have the rights to use the content. Without any permissions for your use of the content in place (in writing), the contributor owns the right to their intellectual property and can limit usage as they please at any time.
A FEW COMMON CONSIDERATIONS
The Right of Publicity
That is the right for you to publish their name, their photo and their bio to promote their contribution, and may happen before, during or after their contribution. I suggest a perpetual (forever) right to create the longest lifespan for the content as possible.
Whether it is in written media, live media, audio or video recorded, you will want to let them know up front and set a clear expectation as to what will be captured and how it will be used.
With that said, it’s best to keep your options open on how you might utilize that content later. Giving a more generic purpose less restrictive rights is going to give you the opportunity to re-evaluate how you originally intended to package the content and repurpose content in the future.
Exclusive rights is really when there is some type of compensation, or a particular platform is going to promote someone’s contribution in a way that needs to be exclusive to the platform. This may because it would lose value if the content was being posted at the same time on multiple platforms.
As you may think, this is not only monetary compensation, but compensation with discounts, gifted products, reimbursement for travel expenses, royalties, maybe even the ability for them to promote their product or service on your platform during your contribution.
How and When to Show Up
When it comes to how and when they “show up” for you, think about setting parameters, not only for time or length of their contribution (as applicable), but also what they share aligns with your vision.
Of course, I do prefer all of these to be in writing!
PODCAST GUEST EMAIL TEMPLATE
I want this to feel as approachable as possible, so I am going to quickly use my podcast invitations as an example on how you can accomplish all of these steps rolled up into one:
I have an email template for our team to send to our potential guests. It shares with them the vision of the podcast as a whole and the topic that I would like them to speak about. I also share with them that we will be recording audio only (what headphones to have handy), and how I intend to use it on social media and on my various platforms for the podcast.
Side note: I have no intention of taking it down, so I have a perpetual license to their content. I have no need for “exclusive rights” because often our conversation is casual or on a topic that they pour into a lot of people on, and that is just not something I need.
This initial email opens up the door for us to talk about the particulars and as the episode gets closer, but also share any feedback we have received from our audience and provide a link to schedule via Calendly.
Once they go to schedule, they are first asked to review our Podcast Guest Agreement and proceed with scheduling if they agree to the terms. Then after they select a time they are prompted to provide a short bio, any of their social tags, their website and anything specific that I should be working into or thinking about as we prepare to record the podcast episode that they may want to promote. Finally, after scheduling they are sent an automatic email requesting their headshot for us to use. I make it very clear to them that these items will not only be worked into the episode itself, but promoted on the podcast show notes as an opportunity for them to promote what they are working on and how they are serving their community.
After my guest has recorded, I always follow up with a handwritten thank you note, which I think has a lot of value these days!
While these tips were of course using podcast guests as an example, if you are inviting a speaker or another contributor to support to your business, you can check out our Speaker Agreement or Contributor Agreement templates, from the Legally Aligned Shop.
Each template comes with its own implementation guide, that gives you tips and tricks just as I did here, that allow you to effectively implement it into your system without missing a beat.
That is all for today, but I cannot wait to see how you pour into even more collaboration, all while protecting and advocating for yourself along the way!
RESOURCES SHARED IN THIS EPISODE