If you have previously read my blog post, It’s OK to Say No To Brand Collaborations? I shared my experience of how I turned down a $2,000 worth of campaign just because the deliverables were beyond realistic to accomplish in a short time.
In the influencer world, brand collaborations are as abundant as avocado toast on Instagram feeds, making it easy to get caught up in the allure of shiny partnerships. But, what happens when you’re not feeling the vibe? When the thought of promoting yet another detox tea leaves a bitter taste in your mouth? Fear not, dear influencer, for your favourite blogger ‘Inspired by Cherisha’ has your back!
Whether you are a budding influencer or blogger, in this column, I’ll explain how to turn down a brand collaboration without compromising your integrity, breaking down any bridges or jeopardising your social media following. So brace yourself against rejection and get ready to politely and stylishly say “thanks, but no thanks”!
Picture this: You’re scrolling through your emails, and there it is – an exciting proposal from a brand. Brand collaborations, my friends, are all about the beautiful dance between creators like us and the brands that want to partner with us. It’s like a mutual admiration society, with a little give and take involved.
So, what’s the deal with brand collaborations, you ask? Well, it’s a fancy term for a pretty straightforward concept. It’s when we, the creators, team up with a brand to give them a shoutout, a nod, or sometimes even a full-blown endorsement of their product or service. In return, we get some sweet perks, which can either be good old cash (monetary benefits) or some nifty non-cash product goodies.
What are brand collaborations?
It’s an agreement between the content creator, influencer or digital creator and the brand. Wherein the creator endorses a brand’s product or service in exchange for benefits, which can be monetary or non-monetary.
Monetary entails a payment to the creator; non-monetary includes sending you the product or service as a gift. At times, non-monetary benefits can also be as simple as a promise of increased visibility.
More is always better with collaborations because they are a creator’s bread and butter. But, as you well know, there are times when you’re not extremely keen on taking up one.
When does declining a brand collaboration make sense?
A clash of schedules.
A feeling of undervaluation of your worth.
A lack of synergy between you and the brand’s values.
The agency you’d be working with gives you pause about how horrible/tricky/annoying it would be to work with them on the project,
All of these are some moments when a brand collaboration doesn’t make sense, and you should politely decline it.
For instance, a creator who is passionate about body positivity and inclusivity must not endorse a brand that restricts its sizing to suit only certain body types.
Declining a blog brand collaboration from a blogger’s perspective?
Perpetuity Usage Rights
When a brand has the rights to your content in perpetuity, that basically means they own it from the contract date until the end of time. They can resell your content to other companies, use your photos on billboards, commercials, and magazines- and you’ll never see a dime. I’ve seen so many bloggers unwittingly sign away their rights and have seen their photos blown up to be in an advertisement in retail storefronts. These would usually cost the model thousands of dollars but brands were able to sneak them into their contracts and get them for free. If this is non-negotiable, the rate offered should come with a very large dollar amount. If not, then I suggest you politely decline.
Quick Turnaround Times
As a blogger, in order for me to write a decent blog post from start to finish, I need to have at least 5 days. That includes receiving and shooting the product, writing out 300-500 words, preparing SEO, adding alt text to my images, and the copy is set up for any social shares that are in relation to the campaign. Ideally, I would like to have at least 10-14 days for a brand campaign. I’m typically juggling multiple projects at once as well as creating non-sponsored content for my audience.
There have been times when the brand would like to meet my rate but would like a timeline that is just not possible if they’re looking for the quality of work that they are hiring me for. In the past, I’ve accepted these collaborations and in the end, I always regret them. It’s stressful for me to submit by such a rushed deadline and can affect the quality of my work. If I’m putting my name on it, I want it to be something I’m proud to keep up on my channels! Write down how long it takes you to develop your top services from start to finish. The next time you negotiate, be sure to reference that timeline before you say yes!
The Art of Saying “No”
Being an influencer is all about building trust with your audience. That means always being honest and not pretending to love something you don’t. Your audience can sniff out if you’re just reading a script, not really into the product, or willing to overlook shady stuff for a big paycheck. The bottom line, it’s all about that genuine connection.
Sometimes, the decision to decline a campaign is purely practical. If you find yourself overwhelmed with commitments and the new campaign would stretch your bandwidth too thin, it’s okay to say no. It’s essential to maintain your sanity and deliver quality work to your audience, after all.
Once you’ve worked through all your questions and determined that the brand collaboration isn’t the right fit for you, I have a few examples of how you can let them know.
How to Politely Decline a Paid Collaboration Offer — Email Examples
You may wonder, “how do I say no without any explanations?” I got you! These are example emails that I have used for my clients in the past:
Thank you so much for reaching out and inviting me to be considered for this campaign with (brand name/brand campaign). I really appreciate you sharing all the details with me, but unfortunately, it’s not going to work out for me this time. Best of luck for a great campaign and I look forward to staying in touch for future things. I’ve attached my media kit for you to have handy for anything that pops up down the road.
— Your name”
That’s one option, short, sweet and right to the point.
Here’s another option.
Thank you so much for reaching out and inviting me to be considered for this campaign with (brand name/brand campaign). I’ve been working with this brand on my vision board for a couple of years now and I was so flattered to receive your email. I appreciate you sharing all the details with me, but unfortunately, it’s not going to work out for me. I have to respectfully decline this offer. Best of luck for a great campaign and I look forward to staying in touch for future things.
— Your name”
And here’s another option that goes a bit more into detail as to why you’re saying no.
Thank you so much for reaching out and inviting me to be considered for this campaign with (brand name/brand campaign). I’ve been working with this brand on my vision board for a couple of years now and I was so flattered to receive your email. I really appreciate you sharing all the details with me, but unfortunately, it’s not going to work out for me.
This coming month when the campaign starts, my calendar is already packed with projects and I just don’t have the creative bandwidth to give this one the time and energy it deserves
This coming month when the campaign starts, I’m on the road for a couple of client projects (or personal things) and logistically this is a really quick time frame that doesn’t work for me.
After all, we went back and forth regarding the budget and SOW, I’m not at a place where it works out for me financially.
I’m so bummed and would love to find a way to make it work in the future.
Best of luck for a great campaign and I look forward to staying in touch for future things.
— Your name”
That second paragraph gives you some options on how to bow out.
It goes without saying, make sure you give a reason that’s true if you choose to go that route. You might wonder if you really have to explain why you’re saying no, and the truth is, you don’t have to.
However, I do recommend providing some context, especially if you’ve had extensive discussions or negotiations with the brand. Offering a reason can be helpful as they might ask for an explanation to share with their team or superiors about your decision.
Sometimes, I’ve had instances where I had to decline on behalf of a client due to budget constraints. Surprisingly, in some cases, the brand has come back with an additional budget, which is fantastic! I share this to show you that negotiating brand partnerships is possible, even when the initial offer might not seem like the right fit.
So, remember, honesty is key, and providing a reason can lead to better understanding and potential opportunities in the future. Negotiating is part of the game, and you never know what positive outcomes it might bring!
The boundaries and possibilities are endless in social media because this industry is constantly evolving. And, remember opportunities will come again and they will be bigger and better.
Remember that sweets! Till we meet again in the next blog.