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Get paid what you are worth as a content creator

Exposure doesn’t pay rent. If you have a blog, Instagram profile, or some other user on a platform you are trying to grow to a point where you can live off it, you will experience that payment in exposure or product samples is often what companies offer as payment. This can be great if you are just getting started but when should you start getting paid for your content? In this article, we dive into your rights, as well as some reflection on the problems content creators face when growing their platform.

Table of Contents

Payment in general

If content creation is your primary source of income, getting monetary compensation for your work is obviously the best form of payment. Neither product, nor exposure pays the rent, so, if a company offers you anything other than money, you should always ask for real payment for your content and/or work. The problem with asking for money when you have a small following is that many companies are reluctant to pay you. They are used to content creators accepting alternative forms of payment, with some creators even accepting to have their content used by others just for exposure. So how do you get companies to pay?

We have talked with multiple Instagram influencers, who say that, in the beginning when they had a small following, they accepted products and exposure as payment. As their following grew, they started asking for actual payment. This was, at first, not especially well-received, as most companies declined to pay. Some companies, however, started paying. So when you have a small following, you might lose some opportunities to work with certain companies but you never get paid if you don’t assert your worth. 

As a rule of thumb, when your following starts growing beyond 20.000 followers, getting paid is easier. Companies are more aware of the value a content creator of that size can bring. 

When you start getting paid for your content, how should you manage the payment?

From a legal perspective, there are generally two typical deals you make as a content creator. The first is licensing your content. This means that you let someone use some of your content for a fee. Depending on the deal you make, they are then allowed to use an image from your Instagram or pay you to take a picture with their product, which they then own the rights to. This way of selling a license is the norm for photographers but it is gradually getting more normal for other types of content creators on social media platforms. 

When making a licensing deal with a company, you should be aware of how the company is allowed to use your content. Are they just allowed to use your image on Instagram or can they also post it on their website and print it in other types of commercials? Are they allowed to alter the image? Is the license deal limited for a certain period of time? Or are they allowed to use it for all eternity?

Generally, the broader the use you allow, the higher the claim you can make for the price. 

The second method is you making sponsored content on social media. This is the most common deal that content creators make with companies. Setting the price for these types of deals is easy. Multiple websites offer calculators that, based on your follower amount and engagement, calculate an average price you can take for posts and stories on Instagram. One of the more popular calculators is on Inzpire.me. These calculators can help you set a price when companies reach out to you and you want to know what your work is worth to them. Of course, you are still free to set a different price, if you think your brand is worth more. Alternatively, if you think the mere collaboration with certain companies is beneficial for you, you can also lower your price. 

The legal aspect

The first and most important thing to remember is this: you own your content. You are the sole owner of the copyright to your content. So, from a legal perspective, no one can use your content without your consent. If you want payment for your content, you can always demand it, and if a company is not willing to pay, don’t let them use your content. If a company chooses to use your content without your consent, you are entitled to compensation and can demand payment. 

If you discover illegal use of your content, we are here to help you. When you are logged in, you can contact us about stolen images and we will handle the case for you. We offer to get you compensation for the illegal use of your content and we make sure the content is removed.

As for enforcement of license agreements, you can make a CatchScan account for free. We then monitor where your content is used online and warn you about potential theft or misuse of your content. When we find illegal use of your content, we let you decide how the case should be handled. We are here to help you take back control of your content.

Christian Bredvig Fjordside
Christian Bredvig Fjordside
Christian Bredvig Fjordside is CatchScan's communications consultant. His job is to talk to the legal department and translate the law jargon into what we fellow mortals refer to as "English".
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