Podcast Contract

3 ways to succeed (and protect yourself) at podcasting

Episode 75 on the Business Bites Podcast

The Gist Of This Episode: So you’re ready to succeed at podcasting? Join Rachel as she talks through her specific workflow but how to keep your podcast legally protected when having guests and/or team members help!

What you will learn:

  • Why having a detailed workflow is a must have
  • How to stay consistent by using email templates
  • The ins and outs of a podcast guest agreement and why you need one
  • and more!

Expand To Read Episode Transcript

Welcome to the Business Bites podcast, the podcast for busy entrepreneurs. Whether you’re an online entrepreneur, or seeking after brick and mortar success, this podcast brings you quick bites of content so you can learn and grow anywhere you are. Now here’s your host, Rachel Brenke.

Hey guys, welcome to the Business Bites podcast. I am your host Rachel Brenke and this is episode 75. We are going to talk about three ways to succeed and protect yourself at podcasting. A podcast about a podcast, what a novel idea, but I know that many of you out there absolutely love podcasting, listening, being on it, being a guest, hosting your own, but of course, you know me, I want to make sure that you guys are being as protected as possible because there’s so many legal issues that can happen.

Now, fundamentally, like I’ve talked about on other podcasts, you guys have intellectual property when you’re running a business. A podcast is a business. Whether you are a podcaster by title, as in that’s all you do is podcasting, and I don’t mean that in a bad way, but I mean that is the main source of what you’re doing and what you make money off of, or you can be more like you who uses podcasts as an avenue to deliver information and content to your audience, but you don’t necessarily sell podcasting, like I don’t sell podcasting sponsorship spots. This is premium content for you guys to learn quickly and to grow your business in a way that fits into your time schedule. We have those that are podcasters and those that do podcasting as a supplement asset for your business. Either way it’s really important that you guys listen to this episode. Let’s go ahead and kick into the three ways to succeed and protect yourself.

Most importantly, number one, probably not most importantly because I’m probably going to say that about every one of these steps, but the very first thing you guys need to keep attention to is having a proper workflow. Guys, this is something that is common sense. You have to have workflows in anything that you do in business, and podcasting is no different. Now there’s all sorts of formats of podcasting out there. There’s solocasting like I’m doing right now to you guys. There is the interview style, which you guys have heard on the Business Bites some. It’s a very popular form of podcasting these days. Or there’s more storytelling, which for me I kind of sprinkle in my stories in my solocasting as well. But, no matter what I do I need to have a workflow.

Workflows are particularly important if you’re having team members that are helping to do things for you and you’re not the sole person that’s doing it, just to make sure that everything’s on task. I do find that workflows and tracking it in a system is extremely important when you are doing interview style podcasting and you are receiving information from your potential guests, and then getting them engaged into the podcast, and then getting information back out to them. You need to have a proper workflow. For us on our team, we utilize spreadsheet style. Now we did start by using Excel spreadsheets. We have since moved to Smart Sheets, which is a more like automated, extremely robust Excel on steroids. I absolutely love it. We absolutely enjoy utilizing it. We may evolve as technology changes, but for now we absolutely enjoy it. We have a tracker that identified from the workflow upon inquiry, people inquiring either to a topic that they want to hear on the podcast or inquiring to be on the podcast. From there I as the host get to confirm or deny that guest or the topic matter. Then it goes all the way through.

Let’s take for example that we’re having a guest coming in. They’re going to inquire or we’re going to request for them to come on. We get them confirmed. They submit a inquiry form, which gives us some really important information to know whether that they meet our Ava the avatar. If you guys don’t know what that means, head over to episode 12, rachelbrenke.com/epi12, The Magic of a Client Avatar, and that will walk you through the entire exercise for identifying that. But from there we confirm them and we get them signed into guest agreement, which we’ll talk about because that’s going to be one of the top three tips here. From there they sign the agreement, they get scheduled, we create a list of questions, they get on the calendar.

We have a whole workflow with that within a Smart sheet that has checkoffs. It also tags who is responsible for what tasks, et cetera. We all can see this live sheet at one time so that we know what each person is doing, where we’re at in the process. In fact, we even had a change multiple times in the last year, which is great with a growing business. We had a change in individuals that manage these different tasks. By having the workflow written out in Smart Sheets allowed for us not to miss any steps, but also to be able to hand it over and tag it to somebody else and they could pick right up where the last person left off.

Second tip for success, and that is going to make sure that your email templates, because you don’t want to be reinventing the wheel all time, your email templates and your automated forms, that we’re going to put those together as one tip, all of those are part of the workflow. This way it is consistent over and over and over. Everyone receives the exact same information. They receive the same consistent experience, and these are guests that are coming on the podcast again. They receive the exact same experience all the way through. This is from the inquiry form that we talked about where they put their information, who they are, what they can give to the podcast, what the benefit is going to be, to who their audience avatar is, whoever they recommend maybe to come on, and how they plan to promote the podcast as well. We then get them into having, they sign their agreement. Then we walk through.

We also send an email template that has a link to a gravity form, which is a Word Press plugin. They can upload all of their assets. What I mean by assets is they can give me their bio, their headshot, their social media links, any other freemium links, any promos. All that information goes right into this form so that they don’t have to be hand jamming it in an email. It’s automatedly done through our website. They get a notification of it, we get a notification of it, and everything is stored for access by anyone else and don’t have to dig through emails. What’s great about that is if you are working with a third party company or a person in order to manage all this for you, they don’t have to be digging through your email inbox to find all the guest assets. Having email templates in there, just know that the streamline process, they are dated and numbered as number one, number two, number three, the entire step, and it mirrors the workflow that is on our workflow chart.

You guys are probably thinking absolutely common sense. Yeah, it is pretty much common sense, but guys how many of you are probably just off the cuff picking things that you need to get done for your podcast and having no consistent workflow. I highly, strongly suggest that you sit down and write out the steps and the information, and guide your guest along the way. We use the sandwich method in our email templates. We’ve got some niceties at the front because we are so excited for them to come on. We’ve got the meat of the content, anything action items that they need to do. Then we close it with letting them know what the next steps are going to be. That mirrors the entire workflow.

All right, quick and easy for point one and two. Let’s dig in specifically to the podcast guest agreement because I feel like many podcasters out there understand the need for a workflow, they understand the need for these email templates and these automated forms, but they don’t really have a grasp on having a legal document in place for any guests that you’re having coming on your podcast. What we need to be aware of with this is having a legal document that’s going to outline the requirements of your guest, set the expectation, and then just have contractual provisions needed for having a guest on your podcast. What we’re going to walk through in the legal document, not only is it giving you legal protection, but it is going to tell them a variety of things.

Now before I dig into actually what should be in the document, let me just give you a little context here. It is important when you are developing content with somebody else, such as creating a podcast, you need to make sure you identify who is going to own the specific content. With a guest you’re going to use a podcast services agreement. Even if you’re not paying them to come on the podcast, you need to outline who is actually going to own that content. If you guys head over to episode 45, rachelbrenke.com/epi45, it talks about hiring people, but we also can take the same information regarding employees and independent contractors and apply it to those that you are collaborating with. The basic rundown of that is that if they’re an independent contractor, which your guests that are coming on the podcast are not going to be your employees probably, so by default anything that they create without you having a legal written agreement they own. That can also be them delivering content on the podcast.

In the inverse, if you’re creating content, you want to make sure that you own, if you’re going on to somebody else’s podcast or doing a webinar with someone else, you want to identify who’s going to own that specific content. One of the downfalls is you might have a guest, everything is great, you don’t sign any documents, you keep promoting this one popular episode for a long time, then all of a sudden that guest gets upset and they want you to stop using that content. Well you don’t want to lose all that marketing steam and that audience, but you may have to if you don’t have any written rights to continue using that podcast recording, even if it is on your podcast if there were no legal documentation in play. So, I’m going to run over the other things that you guys need to have in a podcast guest agreement, but that is really probably the most important aspect that we want to identify.

On top of that, we want to talk about the services. The guest is going to present or talk for how long, what is that going to include. Maybe you’re not doing just audio podcasting, maybe you’re doing a video podcasting or webinar style, keynote slides, et cetera. You want to make sure that identifies that they know they need to create that sort of stuff. Second, maybe you are compensating them and you identify if they’re going to receive any sort of compensation, or maybe you guys are doing an exchange, exchange for I’ll go on your podcast, you come on mine, or maybe that you’re going to exchange some sort of services.

Now, getting into a little bit more specifics, who is going to promote this podcast. Is it the host, or is it the guest? If you’re going to put it on your guest to require them to do some promotion, then you need to put it into an expectations document, into a legal document for them to follow. Now you can identify how many times, the method, how many days that they should do it from the date of publication of the podcast. You can also put additional requirements for advertising in there, or you simply can put guest is not required to promote the event, promotion by guest is encouraged.

Now maybe a guest is coming on your podcast who wants to know that you the host are going to commit to promoting in order for it to be even worth their time because maybe they’re coming on a podcast to receive more audience members. They’re not getting compensation. Well, they don’t want to spend their time preparing and recording only for you not to actually promote the podcast. You can, as the host, write in there how often you’re going to promote it, or not put any obligation in there at all. Your guest may not care. However, promotion by host is more than just what you’re going to do. It’s making sure you get the right permissions from your guest in order to publicize this individual and utilize other content, including approved biographical data that is used and distributed in promotion of the podcast.

You might want to identify if there’s going to be any sponsors that are going to be on the podcast episode, and whether the guest can receive sponsorship support by external vendors. What does that look like? Maybe this guest is coming on your podcast and all of a sudden they are dropping into the episode that such and such company this, such and such company that, that guest is receiving sponsorship. Well guys, that may also have some legal requirements on you, so you need to identify in there whether or not there’s going to be sponsors in play, especially if you the host haven’t approved those sponsors or not received any compensation for it.

You can outline things like guest conduct, whether or not you want to allow them to go explicit, non-explicit, how you want them to act on the podcast as well. All the way down through very specifically the copyright and intellectual property ownership and use of audio, texts, and images provided or presented by the guest, who is going to own that and who is going to receive a license. Typically in these contexts the guest is going to retain the copyright of all of the audio, texts and images they provide, and the host will receive a license to use the content in accordance with promoting and use of the podcast, which is super common.

Other things that we can put in there as well, in the guest appearance agreement, a lot of legal miscellany that just helps to support the legal relationship and if there’s any issues that come down the line later on. Keep in mind that it’s really important for you guys to have this document. If you just put it into your workflow, email template, they submit an inquiry, it gets approved, you send back the guest agreement, they sign the guest agreement, then it just is a seamless thing. Like I said, I use Gravity Forms as a Word Press plugin. There’s other contract signing ways. You can do that online. I just love the way that it can redirect and send them to another form, or to a confirmation page, and give the guest more data and information without it necessarily requiring a team member or myself to do it.

Three main tips are make sure you have a right workflow, you have the email templates and the automated forms, and also the guest contributor or the podcast guest agreement. Now just a little bonus for you guys, please keep in mind that anybody that works and touches on the podcast, whether they are a W-2 employee or an independent contractor, still falls under a lot of what I talked about before and with episode 45. Let’s say you’re having one off person, maybe off of Upwork or Fiber, or something come on to help create the assets, like the podcast cover art, or the creating of when a guest comes on, the Twitter image, the Facebook image and all of that, and they’re designing and creating these graphics for you. If they are a contractor, by default in the United States they retain ownership of all of that.

You want to make sure that all of that is actually owned by you, the podcast host, for many of the reasons that I listed in, but most importantly so that you can keep using it so that that copyright owner doesn’t stop you from using, and that way you have full ownership and control. I strongly recommend that you have anybody that’s working on your podcast, whether they’re W-2’d or not, although under W-2 be default, as you guys have heard in episode 45, it’s going to be your property, your business’s property, by operation of that employment status. However, I still recommend that you have contractors and employees alike sign what’s called an intellectual property acknowledgement form. That’s acknowledging anything that they create in the course of the relationship for your podcast is owned by you the podcast host and/or your business legal entity.

Just keep in mind that’s three tips, one little bonus for you guys to stay legally protected and get strategic. It’s a lot of information packed in a really small business bite, but if you guys have any questions at all please feel free to jump over into our Facebook group, The Business Bites, and just remember that this is episode 75. You can find the show notes at rachelbrenke.com/epi75. I’m going to link all of the other episodes and the information as well as the podcaster bundle that goes along with all of these tips to help you guys stay successful and protected so you can be strategic in growing your podcast and get it to where you want it to be. Good luck guys.

Thanks for joining Rachel on this episode of The Business Bites. For show notes, a list of recommended tools, or referenced episodes, you can find them at businessbitespodcast.com. Until next time.

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About the author

Rachel Brenke is a lawyer, author and business consultant. She is currently helping professionals all over the world initiate, strategize and implement strategic business and marketing plans through various mediums of consulting resources and legal direction.

Hi, I’m Rachel Brenke

Rachel Brenke

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