Are you trying to decide to accept or deny a brand collaboration? If so, this blog post is for you.
“When should you say YES or NO to a brand collaboration?”
When brands started reaching out to me in 2016, I pretty much said yes to everything. I was so excited that brands were finding me on Instagram and wanting to work together.
But in the spring of 2017, I realized that I had taken on too much. I think I worked with about a dozen brands in ONE month. Instead of taking the time to thoughtfully plan out how I would showcase the brands, I had to rush through them. After that stressful month, I realized that I couldn’t say yes to every single brand. I had to figure out what was aligned for my brand, audience, and lifestyle.
So today I wanted to share a checklist and blog post about when to accept or deny a brand collaboration. I’ve been getting this question a lot on Instagram Stories and I realized it was time to give this question some thought and create a blog post.
So when should you say yes or no to a brand collaboration?
Decide your answer after you review these 7 things:
1. Is the brand aligned with your mission statement and values?
If you’ve set a mission statement for your blog, you’ve made it really easy for yourself to determine whether or not to work with the brand. For instance, my mission statement is: inspiring the modern woman to explore, create, and live life with style. If the brand aligns with exploring, creating, or being stylish, then I’d probably move forward with the brand collaboration.
If your mission statement and values are focused on bringing fitness tips or everyday cooking recipes, then brands in the fitness and food category will probably make sense to work with.
2. Are you already a fan of the brand? Are you already using the brand’s products or services?
It’s easy to support a brand if you’re already using their products and services. If you’re already familiar with the brand and love what they do, then it’s easy to move into a brand collaboration with them.
3. Does the brand, product, or service relate or your serve your audience?
If the brand and their products/services relate or serve your audience, it might be a good idea to move into a partnership with them.
For example, I worked with Alaska Airlines last winter to promote the Seattle to Pittsburgh direct route. I know that travel and new experiences are important to my college to young professional audience. I also knew that giving away 2 free flights on Instagram would make my audience really excited since it would enable them to travel.
4.Does the brand fit your lifestyle or stage of life?
If a product fits my busy lifestyle, I’m more open to moving forward with a brand collaboration. If a product or service fits my stage of life – like graduating from my master’s program or paying off my student loans as a post graduate, I’m also more open to agreeing to work with a brand.
If a brand fits your lifestyle or stage of life, it’s so much easier to create content and come from a really genuine space about the brand.
For instance, I’ve been working with BECU this past year to promote financial health and wellbeing. I was so excited for this campaign because understanding and owning my finances is really important to me in my mid-late 20s. I’m working on paying off my student loans while still saving. I’ve also realized and reflected on how I improved my relationship with money. I knew that this campaign would fit well into my lifestyle as well as my other peers who are in the same boat with me about student loans and attitudes towards money.
5. Will this brand collaboration help you gain credibility, exposure, or experience?
If you’re just starting out and trying to make it in the blogging industry, you’re probably hungry for brand collaborations (like I was a few years ago). If you’ve been blogging for a year or less, taking gifted collaborations can give you the experience and teach you how to start working with brands. I realized after two years that the gifted brand collaborations I did also built my credibility as a blogger.
If you’re wanting to grow your following, sometimes brands will offer to repost your content on their feed or Instagram stories. If a brand doesn’t initially offer being reposted, you can always ask!
6. Does the monetary offer or gifted products match your prices/values?
There are some brands who offer a 25% discount code to purchase their $100 t-shirt and you have to cover the cost of shipping. To me, this is NOT worth it.
It’s really important to remember your worth as an influencer. It was truly a journey for me learning to recognize and ask for my value. If the brand is offer monetary compensation, does the rate cover your cost of photography, time spent writing the copy, and time spent engaging with the audience? If the brand is offering product, does the value of the product offset the costs listed above for you?
If you’re interested in learning more about how to price and negotiate as a blogger, you can check out: 15 Tips for Pricing & Negotiating as a Blogger.
7. Does the brand and collaboration make you excited?
If you see that email or DM in your inbox and you get excited when you see which brand it’s from, it’s probably a good sign. Brand collaborations are already hard work and if the brand doesn’t make you excited or bring you joy, I would definitely pass on the brand collaboration.
So when should you say YES or NO to a brand collaboration?
You should say yes if a majority of your boxes are checked off.
There will definitely be compromises but its up to you to decide what you’re going to be firm about and what you’re going to be flexible about.
Thank you for reading!
Photos: Holly Phan