Collaborations & Sponsorships | My Experience + Tips for New Bloggers

by - March 01, 2018

Disclaimer: I won't be naming any brands in this post but if you eventually figure them out, please don't talk about it the comment section, your comment will be deleted.
I've been blogging for a little over two years now and I've had my fair share of bad experiences with companies wanting to work with me. It's easy to get carried away and then end up having a bad experience. Not only does it make you feel like you've wasted your time and effort but also makes you have a negative opinion about a company you might've had in good consideration and in worst case scenario, it makes you learn not to trust everyone the hard way which is never nice.
My first bad experience wasn't even that bad. This clothing brand contacted me and asked me to do a sponsored post. I didn't know the brand so I declined since I didn't know if it was reliable or not or if it was any good. They proceeded to email me again after a week with the same proposal and again, I declined. About two weeks later, they emailed again. I was getting tired of it so I just looked it up on Google and read some reviews. It wasn't too bad so I thought it'd be a nice opportunity to find a new clothing brand. The deal was, I'd write one blog post and then they would send me some clothes from their website. Everything went well until I asked them what the guidelines for the post were and guess what? They never replied. Until today, they've never sent me the guidelines for the blog post. They were so eager to work with me until it was actually time to work, then they bailed. And since then it has happened a couple more times with other companies who will send me emails and when I reply with a positive answer, they never contact me again.
Another experience, happening with more than one company and probably gonna happen again in the future many more times is rude replies after I've declined their proposal. I obviously won't work with companies that I don't trust or don't use myself unless it's something interesting that I'd like to try. In this case, they were clothing brands from sketchy websites with awful reviews. Whether I accept or decline, I always reply to emails and when it comes to declining I have a very short, polite and simple way of saying it. I say that I'm not interested, although thankful for thinking of me. Some companies never contact again, others (not that many) reply back thanking me for my time or asking why I said no and in those cases, I declined simply because I wasn't interested and they understood. Now these cases, of the websites with terrible reviews, they would reply back to my email and demand to know why I didn't want to work with them in a rude, aggressive way. I didn't know whether to ignore them and not reply or be an honest bitch and say their company sucks and had terrible reviews. I opted for the first one. I never replied back and luckily I've never been contacted again.
The last experience I have to tell you was a far more recent one and definitely one of a kind. It hadn't been the first time I had worked with this clothing brand and everything had always gone smoothly but this time there were a lot of problems. There were some communication issues regarding simple things. Usually what I do when a company asks me for a post is I'll write it and then post it on a really old date so that no one that comes to my blog can see it unless they go looking for it (but who the hell would have the patience to go over to the first few posts on the blog?) and I'll send the link for approval. It was the only way I found for companies to see the posts without everybody else seeing them too. This person got super confused as to why I had sent a post from 2010 and no matter how much I explained the situation, they still wouldn't understand why I had sent them an "old post". Eventually, we got somewhere and the deal was that after this post they'd send me clothes from their website and then once I got the clothes, I'd write another post. In previous times, the clothes had gotten to me super quickly but this time, they were taking their sweet time to get to me. I headed to the website and saw that my order was cancelled. I emailed the person who had contacted me and never got a reply. Contacted customer service explaining the situation, they told me to email someone else. I emailed someone else and never got a reply. At this point, it seems like I might've been scammed. I took down the first post and will never work with this company again, that's for sure.
Due to these and other experiences I've gathered some advice for new bloggers who are just starting to get contacted for collaborations or sponsorships. Here are my tips, if you have any others feel free to comment down below.

You can say no
No matter how many rude replies you may get, you can't let yourself fear to say no. You can't listen to those people, if you don't want to work with them don't be afraid to say no. It's your blog, your platform, you're the boss. You're the one that has freedom of choice in what you post about. And remember freedom isn't saying yes to everything, freedom is being able to say no.

When you do get these rude replies it's easy to think of witty and sassy comebacks but you can't let that happen. You might feel like you own the world and that there's no way they'll reply back but the thing is, that witty and sassy email can come back to bite you. You don't know these people, you don't know what they might do and your reputation can get ruined because of one stupid email. Even if you think of a smart and polite way to reply back to them, don't give them the satisfaction of knowing they got to you and that you felt the need to defend yourself. Ignore them, don't reply back, let them know you couldn't care less about them without having to say a word.

Don't work with what you don't know
Even if it seems like a good opportunity, don't be so quick to say yes. Do a little research on the company contacting you. If you already know the brand and use it yourself, try to find out if other bloggers have had problems while working with them. If you don't know them, look up reviews, what other bloggers had to say. Never say yes not knowing what you're in for or who you're working with.

Too many times is too many times
Building a relationship with a brand can be great if you love the brand you're working with but sometimes it can get a bit too much. People's opinions change all the time and brands themselves can sometimes change for the worst so don't feel like you have to say yes to a brand just because you've worked together before. If you don't feel inclined to work with them again for whatever reason it may be, don't be afraid to decline their offer.

I get what I deserve
Companies can sometimes underestimate you. They won't offer you what you deserve. If you feel like you need a bit more of what they're giving you or you want something else, don't be afraid to say it. In the beginning, you'll get a lot of offers of store credit, gift cards and other things. That's not a bad deal but if you feel like it's not enough or that it's not worth it and you'd much rather get money instead of an Amazon gift card then come clean and say it. The worst thing that can happen is that they say no and then you choose to comply with their offer or decline completely and don't work with them. They're not gonna get mad at you for asking for what you feel like you deserve.

Standard emails
Whether is declining or accepting, you need to have a standard email to reply to these companies. When accepting, it may vary from brand to brand but it's important to always have the same greeting and goodbye as to show consistency and professionalism. When declining, the email doesn't have to be different from brand to brand as all you'll be saying is basically "thanks but no thanks". You don't have to explain why you're declining, simply thank them, politely decline and thank them again. It's simple, easy and you don't have to think much about it. Again, don't forget to be professional and polite, no matter what.

I hope you're having a great day,
Marta Ribeiro xx

Picture above taken from Pixabay.

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  1. It can definitely be frustrating when communicating with brands sometimes! I've started to say "no" more often and only accept collaborations for money and not just free product. And I'm much happier! Thanks for the tips!
    Jeans and a Teacup

    1. I've started doing the same thing and it's so worth it. Thank you for stopping by!


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