One of the most common questions and sentiments I come across as an influencer coach and influencer manager is, “How can I land paid collaborations when brands keep declining my offer?” If you’ve been in the influencer space for any amount of time you’ve probably heard a brand say that they’ll “keep you in mind,” or that they “don’t have a budget.”
Here’s a hard truth: Many times when brands say no to a paid collaboration, it’s not because they don’t have the budget – it’s actually because the timing isn’t right or you’re not the right person. However, sometimes it comes down to brands or agencies that represent brands not wanting to pay creators what they’re worth.
And because I’m always here to help, I have something that will help you learn how to get paid fairly! Let’s take a look into the reasons that you might be rejected when looking for brands to collab with on a paid basis.
Reaching out to brands at the right time is key. Most of the time budgets are allocated and laid out a year in advance. These budgets are specific to the brand’s goals such as wanting people to purchase holiday sets, trying to get more people to shop for their product at a certain retailer or wanting a new launch to sell out in a certain length of time.
Not only do brands allocate their budgets for paid collaborations a year in advance, but the time of the year you are pitching also matters. You have to ask yourself, “Did I reach out early enough?” For example, if you’re trying to work with brands for winter or Christmas, you can’t be reaching out in November or December. You already have to be reaching out to them at the end of summer.
When brands have campaign ideas and goals in mind, they can get really specific about what type of influencer or creator they want for that campaign. When that happens, you’ll need to have the right audience and fall under the right filters. Even if you’re the perfect person, you can still miss the mark because of certain specific demographics. Let’s say a brand you love is doing a launch in Target and your account is all about shopping at Target. You’d be perfect for it, right? But then you get that rejection from the brand. Why?
Maybe they are looking for an influencer with an audience between 50k-100k followers and you only have 48k followers, just shy of that range. Maybe for this specific launch they want couples, but you’re a mommy blogger. Or maybe this campaign is meant to elevate Black influencers and creators and you aren’t Black. In these cases, don’t take it personal. Some of these things you simply can’t change.
If you think the brands in your DMs are the only ones that are scammy, I GOT SOME TEA FOR YOU BESTIE. Big brands know their name carries weight and some will take advantage of their clout. They’ll try to get around offering you a paid collaboration by making you believe what they’re offering is the opportunity of a lifetime.
Then there are agencies who represent these brands that only care about how they and the numbers look to the brand. If they’re able to say, “Look! With this $100k budget you gave, we were able to hire 200 influencers versus that other agency who only hired 50 influencers,” they won’t think twice about giving us the shorter end of the stick.
Unfortunately, influencers and creators keep saying “yes” to these types of non-paid or low-paid collaborations. Many of them don’t know better which is why we need to work together to educate each other and these brands. If this is you and you’re looking for help on how to do so, you’re in luck. I have just the thing to help at the end of this post!
So if the timing isn’t right, you don’t fit the demographics, and brands don’t want to pay influencers and creators fairly, how do you take control back and position yourself to land more paid collaborations in the future? There are a few things you can do.
Pitching to brands is a necessary evil for finding brands to collab with, but here’s another hard truth: the conversion from cold pitching sucks. Out of every 10 pitches you send (and follow up on multiple times), you might only get a couple of responses (or realistically, one). From those responses, you’ll likely get even less replies that are a “yes” for collaborating.
Even though the odds aren’t that great, you should still pitch to brands. Not to get a collaboration out of every pitch, but to at least get on their radar and start building a relationship. Brands keep a shortlist of people they’ve worked with before who they know will be dependable on delivering great content, so having that foundation is crucial.
As other influencers and creators continue to accept unfairly paid collaborations, the fact is that brands will never stop trying to lowball us. But just because one brand doesn’t want to pay you what you’re worth, doesn’t mean another brand won’t.
At the very least, we can eliminate getting taken advantage of by knowing what we should be charging. If you’re finding brands to collab with that don’t want to pay that, don’t be afraid to walk away. Saying “no” to a partnership that isn’t a good fit for you only opens up the door for you to find and accept paid collaborations that you are aligned with.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions if a brand declines your pitch. Getting feedback will help you avoid wasting time hoping they’ll pick you in the future if you know exactly what they’re looking for. Here are some questions you can ask:
And if you ARE the perfect fit but they really have set and spent the budgets already, again…it’s not personal. Respond with one of these:
When they give you a timeline, don’t forget to schedule that in your calendar and follow up when the time comes.
Once you ask those questions and get that feedback, if there’s criteria that you can change to help you become the perfect fit for a brand’s next campaign, strategize on how you will achieve that. If they’re looking for a certain number of followers, look at how you can improve your growth strategies. If they’re looking for a certain type of audience, assess who your content is resonating with and make a plan on how you will reach that ideal audience.
Don’t change who you are as an influencer or creator just to conform to certain brands’ ideals though. If what they’re looking for isn’t what you or your content are about, that just means they’re not the right fit for you – there are plenty of brands out there that are!
If you are feeling lost on how to charge, verbiage like “usage” and “exclusivity” are completely foreign to you and you don’t know how to go about putting a number on it, or you’re seeing influencers and creators share their rates and want to know how they calculated that, THIS IS FOR YOU.
Because I know you’re tired of…
Which is why on May 26th at 6pm EST I am hosting:
It’s a workshop to help you learn the ins and outs of calculating your IG, TikTok, and UGC (user generated content) so that when you approach brands to collab with, you do so WITH CONFIDENCE knowing what you’re worth!
Spend 90 minutes with me and we’ll go over:
Spots are limited to 100 seats and once they’re gone, they’re gone so don’t wait to grab a seat for your chance at this high-level training with me. SIGN UP HERE AND GET THE RAISE YOU DESERVE!
Download my Handy Dandy Pitch Email Sequence to learn the simplest method for you to reach out to brands you want to work with, and increase that response rate by up to 72%!