Not long ago, I wrote a post about a brand that offered to “collaborate” with me–but in a way that didn’t benefit me at all. They wanted me to put together a post to promote their product, but they wouldn’t give me anything in return. It’s not fair, and it’s so frustrating when this happens. Us bloggers pour our hearts and souls into this work, and it’s not right for a company to try to take advantage of our drive and passion.
So what should you do when this happens? Well, there are a few options. Let’s dive in.
- Ignore it or say no. If a brand reaches out to you with a collaboration proposal but doesn’t include any mention of compensation or a gift, there’s nothing wrong with deleting that email or responding with a polite “No.” Write a template so you can have it readily available for this kind of thing. All you need to say is something like, “Hi, Brand. Thanks so much for reaching out. Unfortunately, I don’t think this would be a good fit for me.” Fluff it up however you want, but keep the sentiment the same.
- Explain how it’s unfair. You can also choose to explain further about why you’re declining the brand’s collaboration. This is the route I normally take because I want to inform brands that their practice harms bloggers. Be tactful! You never know when this brand could become a good partner, and you don’t want to burn any bridges. If you go this route, you can say, “I’d love a chance to work with you, but since putting together this post requires a bit of work on my end, I would ask that I’m compensated in some way.” It’s polite, but it’s assertive.
- Ask to get in touch with the sponsorship team. Something I learned about the bra company (referenced in this post) is that their marketing department–the folks who sent the original collab proposal–is separate from their sponsorship department. The marketing team may have no control over your compensation or freebies, so see if you can get in touch with the right people! In this case, you can build off of step 2 and ask for some contacts on the brand’s sponsorship team. You also might want to link to your media kit if you have one.
The only thing I’d strongly caution against is actually taking up the brand’s offer. Doing so means you will be putting in hard work and getting absolutely no payout.
What do you guys think? How do you respond to uncompensated collaboration proposals?