Turning Down Brand Deals without Burning Bridges


how to say no to brand collabs

There are loads of brands that want to work with UK food bloggers, and food blogging can be a lucrative career, but you probably don’t want to work with all of them. 

So what’s the best way to turn down a potential collaboration – without burning bridges? 

My experience of influencer marketing is that agencies change; clients change and account teams change. That collaboration might not be worth your while right now, but how about next quarter when they have more budget? Or when the PR person who contacted you is handling a brand that you DO want to work with? 

How do you say “no thanks” to a brand politely? 

My workplace motto (at least 99% of the time) is “polite, professional, positive”. 

It’s like Maya Angelou wrote: people won’t remember what you said, but they’ll remember how you made them feel. 

If you make someone feel small or stupid for making a lowball offer, THAT’S what they’re going to remember. So here are three common scenarios faced by food bloggers, and our tips on how to say “no” without trashing a future working relationship. 

1: The brand that offers very low (or no) payment for a campaign  

Do say: “Dear Sarah, I’m so happy you got in touch and think my blog would be a good fit for your client. However, at this point in time, I’m only able to take on paid campaigns. I’ve attached my rate card, as I’d love to work with you in future if something more suitable comes up. Thanks again for thinking of me, and I look forward to hearing from you in future.” 

Don’t say: “Are you FREAKING kidding me? You should be ashamed of yourself.” 

2: The brand that keeps sending you chicken press releases when you’re a vegetarian 

Do say: “Hi Sarah, I appreciate you including me on this release, but I do not cover meat products, as I’m vegetarian. I would be glad to receive campaign information in future that is relevant to the topics I cover on my blog, which are vegan and vegetarian cookery and food products. Thanks so much for understanding, and if you could please remove me from the BRAND X mailing list, I would be grateful.” 

Don’t say: “Are you a MORON? Do your homework. I’m not saying you’re stupid but if a poked a pencil in your ear it would come out the other side.” 

3. The brand that agrees the campaign then starts asking for more/different content

Do say: “Hi Dominic, I just wanted to confirm the deliverables on this campaign, so we can both ensure we’re happy with the content created. I’m happy to provide 2 Instagram posts, 1 blog post and up to 3 Twitter updates, as agreed in our email of 13 September. If you would like me to additionally complete a video portrait of the company founder’s birth story, I would be glad to do so. The additional cost for this content would be £500. I’ve attached my rate card to give you some information on the services I offer, and look forward to hearing back from you, if you wish to change the original agreement.” 

Don’t say: If you don’t pay me for this nonsense, I’m going to blast you on Twitter and ensure everyone in my Facebook group knows not to work with you. 


Sally is the publisher of Foodies100, the UK's largest directory of brilliant UK food and drink blogs and bloggers. Every day of the week, we promote the UK's best and most exciting blogs about food and drink.

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So You Know...

As you've likely heard and seen, there's an increasing focus on the authenticity of follower growth and engagement on social platforms across the Influencer Marketing community. The platforms themselves have taken measures to deter inauthentic activity and brands now more closely scrutinise the audiences of the influencers with whom they are partnering.

The Flea Network has implemented a system that will detect abnormal spikes in following and engagement, and flag these properties. Of course, such spikes can often be attributed to viral posts or high-profile brands that bring greater exposure to some content.

If one of your social accounts is flagged by our system without an obvious reason, we may reach out to you for assistance in understanding it. If we find any influencer has artificially inflated their audience size or engagement using paid acquisition or automated, third-party tools, we will remove them permanently from our influencer community.

Feel free to reach out to us at bloggers@fleaenterprises.com with any questions or comments.

Thank you!

The Flea Network Team

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