As a person who does blogging and youtube there will come a day where you will be offered to do a brand collaboration and there are times they just won’t ‘fit’ into your brand or you don’t believe in their values as a brand. I think when you do brand collaborations it has to come from you and what you believe in, otherwise i think viewers/readers will know straight away you are doing it for the money or just for the product. I think knowing your audience and building trust up with them is so important when doing blogging/youtube and if you start throwing brand deals out all of the time especially if you’re not really interested, the trust just won’t be there anymore and you can lose your audience and their trust. So, how can you decline brand deals in a polite way!
Let’s think reputation: does that brand have a good reputation? are there reviews good? if no, you are possibly going to ruin all trust. You want your audience to be able to trust your opinion and want to buy the product and have a good experience with the product/brand. I really dislike all the ‘skinny teas’ etc, as i don’t believe they work and if people are spending money and it doesn’t work then ore fool you!
Gifting/paid: So this is up to you. I do more gifting as i really like supporting small businesses and i don’t want them paying, i feel really guilty and i want to support them. Each to their own. I also don’t think im that much of an ‘established’ influencer as such, so i think building up a reputation with brands, brands will want to work with you as you have a good reputation and it can lead to paid ads in the future!
exposure: will the brand give you exposure? will they share your blog post on their socials/website, if no, then they’re taking advantage of you. You have worked really hard on your work to not get anything back which is ridiculous.
Explain the reasons: Explain that you will keep them in mind for up and coming blog posts/videos but at the moment you don’t see fit. Brands will tend to follow up with you if they really want to work with you, so explaining the reasons why you don’t want to work with them, will give them a chance to connect with other influencers and they are more than likely to appreciate you for taking the time to reply and giving them a reason.
Reply: Don’t be rude. If someone didn’t get back to you then you’d find it rude. Also, in the future if you did want to work with that brand then they may not choose you as they may find you rude. Just reply maybe with ‘thank you for giving me the opportunity, but unfortuantly i do not see this brand seeing fit for my up and coming projects, i hope in the future we may work together’
Negotiate: Depending on the original pitch and the brand it is representing, you may want to negotiate the collaboration before accepting or declining. Don’t be afraid to get back to them with a response of how you see the collaboration working. In fact, it’s much better for both parties to have open communication about expectations and what is required on both ends, so replying to ask for more information and negotiate is a great outcome. Negotiation is especially important if you have a rate for collaborations that take up a chunk of your time and creative talent, or if you need more resources (such as a complimentary product or experience) to complete the collaboration. Make sure they are clear on what you will be doing for them, what additional resources you need and how it can benefit the brand.
I hope this helps,