say no to a brand collaboration - blog tips - brand campaigns - how to work with brands - influencer marketing - how to decline a partnership proposal

At the end of 2019, I had a large brand campaign pop up. The
brand was asking for an extensive amount of deliverables that included an
in-person event, images to be released to the brand for their website and
social media, blog posts, and other social media posts. This brand campaign
would have extended over a two month period.

How much was the brand offering for this brand collaboration?


Did I accept this brand collaboration?


Atulea Capitol Hill - Emma's Edition

If you had told me a year ago that I would have turned down a $4,000 brand collaboration, I wouldn’t have believed you. But I turned the campaign because the brand and I did not see eye to eye with the budget and number of deliverables they were asking for within that budget.

I wanted to share this story because I want to remind other bloggers and content creatives out there that it’s OKAY TO SAY NO. There are times when brand collaborations are worth it – even gifted brand collaborations. But there are times when you have to determine that the brand collaboration isn’t worth it – even if it’s a paid brand collaboration.

If you’re on the fence about whether or not you should say
no to a brand collaboration, this blog post is for you.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind before you say yes or no to a brand collaboration:

say no to a brand collaboration - blog tips - brand campaigns - how to work with brands - influencer marketing - how to decline a partnership proposal

1. If you can’t agree to the price or number of deliverables, you can say no.

Just because a brand offers some budget towards a brand
campaign doesn’t mean the brand campaign is going to be worth your time. If the
time spent creating content for the campaign or the number of assets released
to the brand outweighs the budget,
you should say no.


XXX brand offers you $100 for 4 Instagram posts, 4 IG stories, a swipe up link in your bio and you can’t work with competitive brands for a month.

You’re going to have to factor the time spent taking photos for the campaign, creating the Instagram stories, writing the captions, and you have to pass up opportunities to work with other brands. That may not be worth it for $100. I highly recommend thinking about your opportunity cost in this case.

Atulea - Capitol Hill - Seattle WA - Emma's Edition

2. If the brand and their products/services don’t fit your lifestyle, you can say no to the brand collaboration.

If you can’t see the brand’s products or services in your life, you can say no to working with the brand. You don’t want to make a product or service fit into your life just because a brand offers you a blog/Instagram collaboration.

For example, if a brand ever reached out to me about fly fishing, I would probably turn it down. Emma’s Edition isn’t focused on any type of fishing, camping, or hiking.

3. If the brand is asking the collaboration completed in a quick time frame, it’s okay to say no to the brand.

If you’re balancing your blog and Instagram with a full time job like me, supporting a timeline that’s less than 7 days is basically impossible. I’ve had brands ask me to post in 3 days about a brand’s products and I have to turn down the campaign – even if it’s paid.

Because I work full time, I batch all my photo shoots on the
weekends and give my photographers at least a week to edit photos because they
also work full time.

I recommend asking the brand what their timeline is for their campaign when you first start corresponding with the brand over email. If they’re timeline can’t be adjusted, it’s okay to pass up working with the brand.

Atulea - Matcha Shop in Capitol Hill Seattle - Emma's Edition

4. Saying no to one opportunity will leave you open for the next opportunity.

In 2016-2017, I pretty much said yes to every brand collaboration that came my way. I was trying to build my Instagram and credibility with brands.

But I learned after 6 months that I was getting burnt out and working with brands was starting to feel like a chore. Initially, I was afraid to say no the brands. But after saying no and turning down gifted campaigns, other brand campaigns emerged that I was way more excited about.

When you say no to one opportunity, you’re creating space for other opportunities to come your way. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of brands out there putting side a piece of their marketing budgets to influencer marketing.

What tips do you have for saying no to brand campaigns?

say no to a brand collaboration - blog tips - brand campaigns - how to work with brands - influencer marketing - how to decline a partnership proposal

For more blogging tips, check out:

7 Tips for New Bloggers & Influencers in 2020

5 Lessons I’ve Learned from my Top Brand Collaborations of 2019

How to Respond to a Brand when they “don’t have budget” for an influencer campaign

Thank you for reading!



Photos: Holly Phan