Brand Collaborations: Knowing When To Say No

When you know, you know…right? Saying no to brand collaborations is tough, especially when they promise exposure! free product! and (perhaps even) payment! Yet, it’s important to say no to some of those potential collaborations under a few circumstances. If you want to retain an engaged audience and share authentic content, not every brand collab is going to be the right fit and that’s okay. In a time when so many of us hear “always say yes and figure it out later” to opportunities like these, it is still important to know when to say no.

Brand Collaborations: Knowing when and how to say no to sponsored/collaborative opportunities |

It’s not the right fit

Yes, it’s overwhelmingly exciting to have a brand want to work with you! I still get all giddy when there’s a potential brand collaboration on the horizon – or even when I get those initial outreach emails! It’s flattering in every sense of the word. Yet, sometimes it doesn’t feel right. Perhaps it’s the brand’s aesthetic, or their blog post requirements, or maybe even their product line. Either way, you know it’s not the best fit. When you get that feeling, don’t guilt yourself into taking on the collaboration. Instead, focus your time and energy on bringing brand collaborations to fruition that are the right fit.

Your plate’s too full

When you take on a brand collaboration, you not only have an obligation to yourself/your blogging schedule, you also have an obligation to that brand. If you’ve got a full plate (it happens, don’t be too hard on yourself) and are struggling to find the time to fulfill your part of the bargain, say no. Or if it’s something you’d really love to pursue, ask about an extension! Be upfront and realistic with the brand. They’ll appreciate it. For real.

And if you’re unsure of how to turn down the pitch – again – be straightforward! Let them know that at this time you are unable to take on any collaboration/sponsored requests, and that you’d circle back with them for future opportunities. The key here is actually following through with it.

You won’t be able to deliver

Don’t let that header throw you off. I’m not saying you won’t be able to deliver quality content, but rather, delivering content per the brand’s asking. I’ve had some pitches sent my way where I knew I wasn’t going to be able to offer what they were asking for. Whether that be me physically getting to a location to take photos for the collab, attending an event, or delivering more than what I know I can do. Don’t leave a brand hanging, it’s not a good look! Instead, use that straightforward approach we talked about. Let them know you’d like to work with them (if it’s true), and perhaps this isn’t the right capacity for it, but that you’d like to find a way to make something else work. Don’t be afraid to pitch them an idea for a future collab! The worst that could happen is they say no.

What’s your take? Do you jump at every opportunity for brand collaborations to gain the experience or do you weed out the ones that don’t seem to make sense for you? I’m so curious to hear what your creative process is!


image via unsplash!

Author: gabriella

Gabriella is a blogger, Director of Social Media in Boston, and City Manager for the BOS Lady Project. You'll typically find her with an iced chai in one hand and a book in the other.

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  • Great advice! I used to say yes to every inquiry i got because i was so eager and excited – but lesson learned 🙂 These days feels like i turn most of them down, but at least i know what i’m doing!

  • Love this post! Like Corina’s post above, I used to always just be a “yes” person because I wanted to add all these brands to my resume. Not only did I accept several campaigns that now I’m disappointed in myself for taking, but I also didn’t deliver the best results for a few campaigns either. It’s a growing process for sure, and I’m glad I’m learning how to say no sometimes haha!