Getting a blog sponsorship is a BIG deal. But should you say yes to every sponsorship that comes your way? Here are 5 Reasons to Walk Away From a Blog Sponsorship…
Getting a blog sponsorship is a BIG deal. Especially in the beginning. Truth be told, it's still a big deal even when you're experienced and making a steady income. There is nothing like landing a great brand sponsorship – I know I am always grateful when sponsorships come through. Whether you are looking to become a professional blogger or not, blog sponsorships are one of the best ways to keep your blogger adventures in the black. Wondering how to get sponsored as a blogger? We've got all the details HERE.
However, just because someone starts waving cash around doesn't mean that they would be a good fit for your blog. Even if you adore the brand, and if you would write about them anyway, sometimes a partnership isn't the right fit. Sometimes, it might be best to walk away. Just like the Blog Maven says, “Taking on ‘vanity projects' that aren’t actually a good fit for your readers doesn’t help anyone.”
In the almost 7 years I've been blogging, I've never regretted walking away from a deal. There have been times (albeit rarely) I've regretted saying “yes” and trying to make something work that just wasn't a good fit.
Here are five reasons you should walk away from a blog sponsorship or collaboration…
5 Reasons to Walk Away From a Blog Sponsorship
The Brand Does Not or Will Not Understand Your Blog's Mission
What if a brand comes to you, wishing for you to create content that does not fit with your blog's mission? What if they do not understand what your blog is about? In this case, it's probably not going to be a good fit.
Brands who go after blogs, that are not a good fit for their brands, do not understand why they are working with bloggers. No matter what, they will be disappointed with the results. Your readers will see right away the collaboration is not a good fit and will not respond the way the brand is hoping. It's better just to nip it in the bud and walk away, if a brand keeps asking you to do things that do not fit into your mission.
The Brand Doesn't Know What They Want
When you are talking with a brand about working together, the VERY FIRST question you ask them, is “What are your goals for this project?” If they can't answer this question with clarity, then follow with them more questions to try to get to the root of what they want.
And don't just accept flattery. They may tell you, “We love your blog!” Reply with, “Thank you!” and ask them again what they want out of the partnership.
When you think you have their needs figured out, repeat it back to them and put it in writing. This way, if they come back to you and say they are unhappy, you can show them your discussion.
Chances are either they don't know what they want, or they don't want to tell you, i.e. “boosting sales” is a common expectation for blogger collaborations and it doesn't always translate in a direct way. If they can't tell you why they want to work with you, then it's not going to be a good fit.
The Brand Has Unrealistic Expectations
People have all kinds of wild expectations when they enter negotiations. If a brand has unrealistic expectations (ex. they want 20,000 entries to your contest or they want 10,000 users to sign up for their startup with a single post) then you should walk away. Unless you can do that, then take the deal. However, get as many case studies as you can to set realistic expectations, that way both of you enter into the deal having an idea of what to expect. Of course things can go either way, but at least the expectations are in the neighbourhood!
The Pay Is Not Enough
If your sponsored post rate is X, you've been selling consistently at that rate, and the brand offers you 10% of that, just say no. They may even come back and offer to write for free, so you don't have to do any work. But you've already done the hard work of building an audience, and the brand is paying for that. If the payment is beyond what you would normally do, it's taking away from the time you can spend developing your own brand. Your time is valuable, don't say yes to a deal that doesn't work for you.
Note: If your rate is X, and you've never sold a service for that price, then maybe your rates are too high. Experiment to find a rate you are comfortable with that brands feel comfortable investing in as well. If your rate is X, and you are selling it more than you have time to do a great job on it, then your rate is too low, and you should raise it. There are no “set” rates for anything!
The Brand Does Not Respect Your Agreement
Let's say you and the brand come to a negotiation. The terms of the sponsorship have been put in writing. Then, the brand keeps pushing you to give them more services without paying for them. In this case, it's time to walk away.
Once I negotiated a sponsored workshop, then the brand wanted me to produce a fashion show and host a giveaway on top of the workshop without raising the price. It would have added at least 20 more hours to the job and there were hard costs involved (i.e. renting tables for hair and makeup, and giving them space that I had paid for). I told them no, but they kept pushing for it. So, I decided to cancel their sponsorship. This is an extreme example, but it happens on all levels. If the brand asks for something small that is not much more effort for you to throw in, go ahead. Do it in a gesture of good will. But if it's extensive, time consuming, costly, and the brand won't drop it, then walk away.
Bonus Tip: ALWAYS Trust Your Instincts
If you heart is telling you, “This is not a good fit” it's not a good fit. Your intuition is evidence enough. Sometimes even good deals can go south if you can't work well together. This includes anything that gives you a bad feeling about the person you are working with. When in doubt, just politely decline and move on.
Remember, this is a partnership. You want it to be beneficial for BOTH you AND the brand.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published on May 14th, 2013 and was updated on September 29th, 2017.