When a brand comes knocking and flashes the magic word “partnership,” it’s easy to let your excitement get the best of you. But before you say yes, STOP AND THINK! Is this brand partnership really in your best interest or should you politely pass on the opportunity and say “No”?
You heard us right, “No” is an absolutely acceptable answer to a brand partnership request!
We completely understand that it’s really hard to say no to money and flashy opportunities (trust us we’ve been there too) but if a brand partnership isn’t a good fit, it can actually do more harm than it does good to your personal brand in the long run.
Seriously though, don’t be desperate! You should treat brand partnerships like you treat dating – you don’t have to say yes to everyone that asks you out.
Navigating brand partnerships is like the dating game, you have to make sure they’re the right fit.
When you’re approached by a brand to do a partnership or collaboration, the first question to ask yourself is, “Do I even like this product, hotel or destination?” If the answer is “no,” then there you go. That was easy!
You should never promote, endorse or sell something you don’t like or believe in. Followers can smell inauthenticity from a 100 miles away and it’s just not worth it to have to fake enthusiasm for a few extra bucks.
If the answer is “Yes, I do like this product,” or you find it at least interesting then let’s go over other things to consider that may cause you to think twice about accepting the opportunity.
Reason 1: The brand partnership DOES NOT resonate with your current brand and overall messaging.
We know you’ve heard it time and time again, but being niche and tailoring your images and messaging to a specific audience makes all the difference when you’re trying to take your travel influence to the next level. As marketing experts say, if you’re speaking to everyone then you’re really speaking to no one.
It’s easy to be torn in tons of different directions because you like travel, yoga, fashion, working out and want to show your followers you’re not just a one trick pony, right? Please don’t! It’s great to be good at a lot of things but just do it behind the scenes or you may confuse your followers (we struggle with this too so totally get it).
For example, if you’re a travel and fashion blogger and your instagram feed is full of pictures of you in beautiful flowing dresses holding coconuts on the shores of Thailand, then accepting a brand partnership for a cooking company wouldn’t really make sense. People follow food bloggers for cooking tips, not you.
Staying true to yourself is also very important to your brand’s future and stability because it weeds out the clutter. Loyal followers who really believe in you and enjoy your content will stick around and everyone else who is on the fence may walk away…but thats OK! The truth is that people who aren’t supportive won’t really do you much good in the long run anyways.
So if your followers typically like what you like and enjoy the things you do then promoting something that isn’t authentic to you pretty much means your audience won’t like it either.
And that can be dangerous…
Why? Because the bottom line is brand’s hire influencers because they want to make a good impression on the influencer’s followers and inevitably leverage that influence to help them with sales. If chances are the product, service or destination is not something your followers would like (and possibly buy) then it’s probably better to pass on the opportunity.
Reason 2: The brand partnership DOES NOT fit within your long-term brand strategy and overall business goals.
If you’ve already started blogging or a travel account on Insta then you probably should already know where you want to take your travel influence (or at least be in the process of figuring that out). If you don’t have a long term brand strategy in place then you need to get one ASAP. Every decision you make now will affect your future because small things affect big things and it’s important you never forget that.
Before taking on any brand partnerships, evaluate your goals and long term strategy (and timeline) to see if it fits with your end game. If the partnership in question doesn’t support where you want to go with your brand then you may want to pass.
For example, if you’re a fashion blogger and want to build a platform to do more nonprofit work to help children in the future, accepting a brand partnership with a sexy lingerie company probably isn’t a good idea, you feel us? Or, if your long term goal is to be a travel blogger then daily promotion of items like gummy vitamins, food delivery and workout gear – all of which are unrelated to travel- can hinder your brand’s ability to grow in the right direction.
There are so many influencers whose only focus is making quick cash and they end up accepting anything that comes their way. Don’t get us wrong, that’s totally fine but if you want to build a sustainable business then that probably isn’t the best approach.
Trust us, if you act desperate then you’ll look desperate and your followers will be the first to notice. We know it’s easier said than done because we all need to make an income to survive but there are other ways to monetize your influence without having to accept brand partnerships that aren’t the right fit.
Respecting yourself, your followers and your brand goals will definitely pay off in the long run.
Reason 3: The company DOES NOT align with your ideal brand partner criteria.
Before you can tackle this question, you first need to know what criteria make up your “ideal brand partner.” It’s basically like creating the ultimate checklist for your future life partner – does this brand partner check off most of the boxes? This will help you steer clear of situations that look like a good idea but in reality would turn out to be bad news.
For example, do you like to have creative input from a brand or do you like to wear the pants? Do you need hard deadlines to get your work done, or you prefer the flexibility of an open schedule? Would you like to negotiate as you go along or sign a definite contract before you expend any effort? It would be a huge nightmare to produce content only to have the brand’s representative come back and disagree with your vision or accept a partnership only to find out they are going to make you take really corny pictures and post lame captions that your followers would not relate to.
Knowing yourself and your work style will help you find the best match for a brand partner. Of course, not everyone who comes around will check off all your boxes so know the points you’d be willing to compromise on before the negotiation process. You want to work with brand partners who let you shine and be yourself – that&rs