If you've received a collaboration request or pitch that you're just not interested in, here are our top tips to decline politely
If you are an influencer, you will know all too well how common it is to receive a request for collaboration that you really aren't interested in. Whether it is because of personal preferences, clashing schedules or because the product is not a good fit, there comes a time (many times) that you need to decline the opportunity.
Here are five tips to help you politely handle and decline a collaboration that you are not interested in without burning bridges in the industry.
Don’t just ignore or delete emails if you are not interested in an opportunity that a brand has pitched to you, especially if the email is personalized to you specifically. Respond back to them and ensure they know you have received their message, so they know to stop contacting you about the opportunity. It is much worse to ignore their outreach attempts and questions, then to simply respond back saying you are not interested. This is even more necessary when you can see they have put effort to pitch their idea to you.
Include your reasoning
Give them a reason as to why you do not wish to collaborate. You don’t have to go into detail about circumstances, but simply state that you unable to commit at this point in time, or don't think the brand is a good fit with your style and audience. Giving marketers and PR professionals the reason you have declined will help them pitch better opportunities to you in the future, and will also give you a good reputation.
Don't be rude
The number one rule of declining a collaboration is to not be rude in your response. If the product or service doesn’t match your theme and regular content schedule, tell them you don’t believe it is a good fit. Do not send a rude and abrupt messgae telling them they didn't look at your profile to understand your tone and personal style (even though we know that may sometimes be the case!). Don't forget, as an influencer you have a public image to upkeep, so maintaining composure and answering politely will assist you in future business opportunities, because you never know what brand and budget the marketer will be working with next.
Send them your details
If a media kit is requested, send it through if you feel comfortable. Marketing and PR agencies work with a multitude of clients and their list changes regularly, so it's important to be open and honest and send through your media kit where possible so they can consider you for campaigns in the future with all of the clients on their books. Not sure what your media kit should include? Stay tuned, because we're writing a blog post about that soon!
Don't be afraid to negotiate
Depending on the original pitch and the brand it is representing, you may want to negotiate the collaboration before accepting or declining. This is very common, so don't be afraid to get back to them with a response of how you see the collaboration working. In fact, it's much better for both parties to have open communication about expectations and what is required on both ends, so replying to ask for more information and negotiate is a great outcome. Negotiation is especially important if you have a rate for collaborations that take up a chunk of your time and creative talent, or if you need more resources (such as a complimentary product or experience) to complete the collaboration.
Put these tips into practice next time you receive an outreach email from a marketer or pr professional (which we're certain won't be far away!) and you'll start to build much better networks and relationships, and also work with some amazing brands that align with your vision and personal style.
Have you ever had to decline a collaboration? What did you say and do, and what was the response? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!