From time to time, big projects come across your desk that require large amounts of content. Obviously you can’t create thousands of articles over night, so you do the next best thing: Hire a content vendor. But before you sign on the dotted line, you want to make sure your contract works for both parties.
While it’s obviously important to include pricing details in your contract, you also want to cover the types of services you need. Here are questions to ask yourself before you commit to a vendor contract.
- What do you want from your vendor? If expedient customer service is important to you, be sure to outline the terms of service in your contract. What level of copyright are you buying — do you want to own the work outright [most expensive option] or just license it for use for a while? If you need to reserve the right to make grammar or style changes to content provided by a vendor, add that to the contract, as well. Determine what you need to complete your work, and make sure the vendor you hire can meet those needs.
- Who will facilitate the implementation? Do you want your vendor to provide the content and put it in a usable form for your content needs? Perhaps you’re willing to edit and format the content to save some money. Before you pay for a content service, work with your vendor to determine how the product will be implemented. Ideally, your vendor is writing to your defined content strategy, right?
- What is your liability? Obviously both parties will want to limit their liability in the event of a problem — plagiarism, copyright violation, garden-variety errors. Be sure to add a section about liability to your contract, and negotiate for the terms that will best suit you. Liability issues will include who is responsible for a delay in service, potential damages and attorney’s fees.
- What are the terms for pricing? While you’ll certainly want to agree on a standard price for your vendor’s services, keep in mind that you might need extra services at some point. Will the vendor charge a fee for extra content? Are the rates locked in for a certain period of time? Your contract should include any potential pricing issues.
- What are the grounds for termination? Mistakes are one thing — but what about Really Big Mistakes? Before you sign a contract, identify your dealbreakers, and include them in a termination section of your contract.
While you know what your content needs are right now, be sure to include a clause that specifies your vendor’s responsibility for additional programming or other changes that could be necessary to meet your standards. A good contract uses flexible language that will keep it relevant throughout your relationship with your vendor.