Bloggers: How to Know When to Say, “No!”


Picture an inbox full of event invites, product pitches, requests for coffee dates and sugary sweet pleas to try the latest and greatest fashion app or shopping site. Each one of those emails starts out with a compliment on your blog, then the sender does their best to convince you to give them your time. Does this sound like your inbox?

‘Tis the season for holiday parties, gift guides, Black Friday deals and giveaways and brands are on the lookout for bloggers to help get the word out on their goods – usually for free or trade. At first, it can be downright exhilarating to get all that attention. You've said ‘yes' to this, this and that; then all of a sudden you've got triple-booked evenings, stress over new sites to review and an apartment full of gifted product you're not sure you totally like (as Julia alluded to last week.) This is where saying ‘no' becomes essential. If we let ourselves, we can rationalize all day why we need to be all things to all brands and people, but strengthening that ‘no' muscle is your best defense in creating a blog that's truly, genuinely, authentically you at all times.

So how do you decide what to say ‘no' to? Here are a couple of questions to guide you:

What's in it for you?

I know at first glance it might sound awfully selfish to look at things with this question in mind, but who better to keep your best interests at the forefront than you? Look at what's being asked of you and really take into consideration the time, energy and potential money you're likely to spend. Perhaps it's worth sending over your media kit, and asking for or negotiating a paid review or appearance. Other times it might make sense to do things for free – like attending events to support other bloggers, or to meet brand/PR contacts you'd eventually like to work more with.

Does it make sense to cover on your blog? 

If it's not something you wouldn't want to write about had you not been invited or paid to do so, that's a pretty clear indicator you're not really into it and a ‘no' is in order.

Does it pique your interest?

Maybe you're being pitched about a brand or app you've never heard of before. Is it appealing to you to give it a look? Before responding to that email, take a look at the brand or app's website and social media profiles. If you can picture yourself shopping that brand or using that app regularly, it's worth a look!

What are you giving up in place?

Sometimes we get so excited about attending an event that we forget what's really important to us. We convince ourselves to go because it's an excuse to shop a new collection first; because other bloggers will be there; because we're among the first to get access. But if you find yourself regularly skipping out on friends & family, workouts, sleep or some good ol' down time – it might be time to re-evaluate what goes on your calendar.

Five years into the game, I still have a hard time saying no, and still find myself getting overwhelmed. While it's flattering to be noticed by brands, there's no way to do/be/see everything and saying ‘no' is the fastest way to maintain control over my blog life.

How do you determine when to say ‘no'?

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14 Responses

  1. Peter Machalski

    Definitely woman should learn how to say no.

    There is nothing more annoying then you ask them about something and they say YES, but when the time come to do it its always.
    I have migraine, I’m busy, my grandma is sick, my battery died and so on.

    Just learn one magic word no, will be so much easier.

  2. Jeanine Marie

    I am just starting to get things/opportunities offered to me. It is exciting to wake up everyday and see what is in my Inbox.

    Before I accept anything offer I always do my research first. I especially value the opinion of other bloggers who share their experience with others. I learn what is worth my time and to see if it is a good fit for me/blog.

    The one problem I have run into is that I have been offered some really cool things but never receive them. Is this a common problem?

    Jeanine Marie

    • Catherine Summers

      Not receiving stuff has happened to me several times – I even had one company offer to make me a pair of (gorgeous) made-to-measure heels, then kept chasing me for the post. I kept telling them I’d not received them, but got no answers to my emails… I even Tweeted them, but still got no answer?! They looked reputable, but who can tell. But generally companies are pretty good 🙂

      Catherine x

    • The Style Goddess

      Hi Jeanine,
      To speak to not receiving things that were offered to you, was there any follow up involved in the form of an email or phone call? Some businesses are just so busy sending out millions of emails daily that they might miss a few. I actually had that happen before, so I did a follow up to make sure my email was received and it was smooth from there on out. As Catherine says, the majority of companies are reputable, so don’t be afraid to check up on them to see if your goodies are on the way! 🙂

  3. Rathana

    This is a good topic to think about. It is definitely flattering to be noticed – especially when you are pretty new to fashion blogging. Since I’m a newbie it is hard to say no. I think at the beginning into the game you should do collaborations as much as you can to experience until you can judge, what is a good fit for you & your blog.

    Yeah, I know what you are talking about. I’ve had it once. That’s disappointing 🙁 Well I don’t get their strategy, what they intended to do.

  4. Catherine Summers

    I really, really need to take this advice – mostly for accepting products for review. I’m unfortunately like a magpie (what fashion blogger isn’t) so find it hard to resist the attraction of shiny things (and fur, and tweed, and silk things…)! But I feel mean saying no, but you HAVE to be selective. Sometimes I ask them to contact me six months later or so, but often find I’m still just as busy!

    Thanks for this post, I think I need to follow it to the letter and remind myself of it every time I’m umming and ahhing over an offer 😉


    • Catherine Summers

      I meant to add: if you really don’t like the product being offered, be honest but pleasant about it (e.g. “I’m afraid it’s just not my style”). Companies really appreciate you being honest and getting to the point – I’ve been told a few times it’s good as it saves everyone time.

  5. Alyssa

    I am just now starting to get a few offers and that is always awesome. Love having this advice early on, it is truly important. Now what I want to know is how exactly do you say no without coming off wrong or saying no for now but still may like to work with them in the future????

  6. The Style Goddess

    When I first started my blog, I said yes to everything to get exposure, build my posts and readers, etc. Now, I am more selective in what I choose to attend and or cover because it represents what I’m interested in and passionate about. Since I love anything colorful, if I am going to write about a brand I need to find items that catch my eye. Events are always fun, but it has to pique my interest somehow. That allows me to fill my day with different things and not feed into the social norm of everything!

  7. audrey

    Thanks for the reminder. I think we all know this, but its great to hear it again. Its always important to be reminded.

  8. Catherine Ollsen

    There’s nothing more annoying or irritating than when a rich girl whines about the intensity of her privileges. “Oh what am I going to do about all these cool parties I’ve been invited to? It’s getting ridiculously out of hand, oh no what do I do?” Is this really a serious post?

    Remember what it was like in the beginning? When readers trickled in, your eyes were glued to Google analytics and there was no attention from any company whatsoever. Now that you’re lucky enough to have gotten this far, count yourself blessed, enjoy it and don’t complain about having too much attention and ‘learning when to say know’.

    If you want to know when to say no then you’re not ready to say it. You’ll say NO, when the excitement of it all wears away or you receive an offer that you don’t want. It’s like knowing when to stop eating – when your tummy is full!

  9. knivesliao

    I would be interested to know what is the proper and polite etiquette to decline an offer? Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated.