Saying 'No' To Brands/PR

Monday, November 16, 2015

Last month I hosted the #fblchat on Twitter discussing the topic of saying no to brands and PR. I was so overwhelmed with the response the chat received and at the same time I was also saddened to hear the number of you that have dealt with pushy PR. Of course, 95% of the brand and PR industry are absolutely lovely and are a pleasure to work with. However, I think it's important to acknowledge that some of us have had to experience some unfortunate incidents when communicating with brands. 

When I first began to gain recognition by brands I was genuinely quite scared, don't get me wrong I was overwhelmed with joy too but, it just felt very daunting having an engagement with those working in the industry online that I didn't even know. I wasn't sure whether to accept every offer, after all I needed all the experience I could get but at the same time, I wanted to review brands and companies that fitted with my blog and personal interests, and so then I had to think about 'How I could say no?'

Since the chat, I've had a couple of you also DM me regarding negotiating pricing with PR, this is always a very awkward and controversial topic to discuss. Where is the consensus on what is the right amount of money to charge for sponsored posts? Where do we draw the line? And when do we know when we're being taken advantage of? A lot of hard work goes into blogging, as I'm sure you all must know, so how do we possibly put a price on that? As you can see, I'm sure we all have a lot of questions, mostly which are unanswered. In today's post, I'd like to share with you a few tips on saying no to brands and PR. Hopefully this shall be a reassurance to any newbie bloggers that it really is okay to say no. 

"Is it 'me'?"
The first and most important thing you have to consider when being asked to review something is whether it really is for you. Would you be intrigued to buy this item if you seen it in the shop? Is it similar to items you already talk about within your blog? Would your readers benefit from hearing your thoughts on this product? If you've answered no to any of these questions then this time, the opportunity just isn't for you. 

"I've said no but the brand just won't leave it at that!" 
Sometimes, you simply just have to walk away from a situation. If a brand appears to be persistent and you're beginning to feel pressurised then simply the best thing to do is pop the e-mail straight into your spam inbox. There's no point dwelling over a decision and it's really unfair for a brand to put any blogger into this position, if you don't reply then all that's left for them to do is simply leave you alone.

"I've said no but now the brand is offering me a payment to do the post. Should I accept?"
If you have said no to reviewing a product initially then money involved shouldn't allow the situation to alter. Deep down, if you know this isn't a post you don't want to be completing without the money then don't let the prospect of a few pounds encourage you to go against posting content that you don't love. You should always stick to your gut instinct. 

"A brand approached and asked me to review their website. I've had a look and it is pretty cool but, should I expect to be paid?"
At the end of the day, blogging takes up a hell of a lot of time. You have to write your post, produce the photographs and edit them, proof read until you can read the post backwards.. Not to mention the numerous specifications a brand asks you to include within your post; links galore! Then, yes I do believe that you deserve payment. Both parties should be benefitting from this engagement. If you're receiving an expensive product then payment shouldn't really be necessary but if you have to put the time and effort into creating a post dedicated to their brand without receiving anything then, that's when it becomes unfair.

"I'm scared to ask for a payment. I don't want to sound cheeky. How much would you recommend is enough?"
The payment can definitely vary between brand. The best thing to do is send them an e-mail politely asking whether they usually offer their bloggers a payment as a means of saying thank you for completing the post. If the brand responds yes then they will usually tell you the average payment price, therefore saving you the embarrassment of having to personally ask to be paid a set amount of money. Usually if the brand often pays other bloggers then they will probably explain this to you within the initial e-mail, alongside how much they would be willing to pay you. If the brand replies no, then I personally would just leave it there and say no thank you. If you genuinely believe the post isn't worth doing without receiving a payment then the best thing you can do in that situation is to thank the brand for approaching you but this time the opportunity just wasn't for you. 

Interestingly enough, I came across a table on Marketing Magazine, which you can check out here. The chart shows which style of bloggers in fact, do quite often expect payment. Did this surprise you?

I really hope you enjoyed this post lovelies and found it somewhat useful! Working with brands and PR companies really shouldn't be a daunting and scary thing. Explore products you and your readers love, build strong relationships with brands and most importantly, always stay true to yourself. If it isn't for you then simply walk away. 
Please do remember, I am NOT an expert. This advice simply comes from my own personal experiences of working with brands and I have been lucky enough to work with such lovely and generous companies. If you can offer any other tips then please do leave them in the comments below. 
Until next time,

Have you ever had to say 'no' to a brand?!
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