When You Should Say No to Blogging Opportunities

I know that I just wrote a post about saying yes more often… but along with that comes the important skill of knowing when to say no too. When it comes to blogging, I say no a lot more often than I say yes. I’ve found, over time, that it’s easy to get overbooked, overcommit, and overdo it. About the worse thing you can do is overcommit and find yourself so emotionally spent that you don’t have the energy to write the post you committed to. I’ve found myself there a few times – mostly when the deadline is self-imposed, but regardless it sucks.

And don’t get me wrong. I overcommit all the time still. I have a full-time job. I blog at night. And even those nights are limited because I’m usually attending an event after work and/or on the weekends. Luckily, I love all of it, otherwise I wouldn’t even be writing this post.

SO! If you’re a new blogger, I’m going to be real with you: sometimes blogging is hard. You may want to say yes to everything because it sounds new and fun and exciting… but sometimes saying no is the right choice. And if you’re not new, well then I’m probably preaching to the choir. Here are the times I’ve learned to say no when it comes to blogging opportunities.

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When to Say No To Blogging Opportunities

1. When it doesn’t align with your core values
There are many things that I believe passionately in that I’d love to help promote. There are other things that I don’t believe in at all. For instance, you’d never seeing me tout the benefits of just any old dog food because I honestly don’t feel comfortable feeding it to Rigby. Just because it’s for dogs doesn’t mean it should be fed.

2. When you can’t commit to the terms and/or don’t want to
I haven’t had this happen too frequently, but some brands are pushy and expect you to guarantee them new followers, subscribers, purchases, or clicks to their website. If you’re not comfortable with the terms, don’t do it. Bloggers are not direct sales people.

3. When something feels off
Every once in a while I’ll get a really strangely worded email that will make me wonder. Googling the brand name plus the term “blog” or “blogger” or the niche they are targeting will sometimes bring up results. If the blogs that are also promoting the company don’t align with mine, I generally will pass.

4. When you’ve never heard of the company
I’m all about introducing new brands to the world, but if you haven’t heard of the company, tried the Googling from above, and can’t find them anywhere on the web, I’d say pass. Sometimes being a guinea pig isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

5. When it sounds even remotely spammy
If they aren’t spelling your name correctly or using language that doesn’t remotely make sense, move along. Save yourself the trouble; this is probably just a spammy inquiry.

6. When you don’t think you’re going to like the product or service
I’m all about saying yes to trying new products and services. BUT, if it’s something that isn’t something you’d normally use, or you think there’s a chance you may not like it based on other reviews, I say skip it. Sharing negative reviews with a brand is all sorts of awkward, and why promote something on your blog that is a bummer? Unless you’ve been burned and want to share that experience, I say leave the negative reviews for Amazon and the like.

7. When you have no need for the product or service, or can’t think of an organic way to incorporate it into a post or review
As much as I love trying new products and reviewing them, I find that a review post about a single product doesn’t go over too well. I still write one every once in a while, but usually I try to incorporate them into a list or in another creative way.  And if it’s something you’ve never used before and have never considering purchasing yourself, you may want to skip it. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean you need to try it.

8. When they’re asking for too much information
I’m not crazy about brands who ask for a lot of information or have a lot of requirements. Once upon a time, a brand tried to get all of the email addresses of those who entered a giveaway I ran for them, and they had never asked for permission beforehand or for this to be one of the giveaway entry options. Be very careful of the information that you disclose not only about yourself, but also about your readers.

9. When they don’t provide you with a product or service to review, yet that is their business
I refuse to write about brands that won’t provide a product or service to try. (And here’s how I respond to those types of brand email inquiries) It makes absolutely no sense to promote something for a brand that you don’t have any personal experience with. Unless you’re doing a favor for a friend or someone who’s trying to get their business off the ground, I say pass.

Obviously these are not steadfast rules – there’s always exceptions and be open to them! But, as a blogger, your readers trust you at face value and if you break that trust you can do a lot more damage. Is it really worth a potential free product or a little bit of cash? If it’s not, say no and move along. I promise more opportunities will come knocking.

When do you say no to opportunities? What are some lessons you’ve learned from working with brands, businesses, or other bloggers?


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50 thoughts on “When You Should Say No to Blogging Opportunities

    1. Jenn Post author

      Totally agree, Christine! I think it’s a good reminder that saying no is okay and there will always be more opportunities.

      Reply
  1. Laura

    totally agree with these, and there was a UK chat on it last nightr. A lot fo fairly new bloggers were talking about how they work with brands for free as they are pleased they have been contacted, but it has to fit with what you stand for and be worth your time. How can you provide an accurate review of a product without having it in your posession? I find that really odd.
    Laura recently posted…Homemade Gifting – Its The Bomb*My Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      It is so odd, I just can’t understand why any brand would want you writing about them without firsthand experience. I missed the chat – sounds like it was probably an interesting discussion!

      Reply
  2. Jae

    I’ve had to say no to a possible collaboration because I’m still here in Manila, and the brand/company is based there in the US; however, when I explained this situation, s/he was still willing to work with me once I get there.

    I don’t get a lot of ad/PR opportunities, but when I do, I don’t automatically say yes. I do my research, and decline nicely if necessary.
    Jae recently posted…It’s Official!My Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      I think that’s the best policy. I always try to see if other bloggers have worked with the brand, who they are, and what they thought of the product if it’s something I’m unfamiliar with.

      Reply
  3. Kristyn

    I don’t do many product reviews because I either don’t like/want the product or I don’t agree with their terms. If you want me to write a post about wedding registry do’s and don’ts (which I wrote a year ago – before they contacted me), and you MIGHT promote it on your social media. That right there just isn’t worth it to me.
    Kristyn recently posted…An Honest eShakti ReviewMy Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      Oh yeah for sure, any post in exchange for “social media promotion” is just ridiculous. From what I understand, half of the time you share your post with that brand you never even hear from them again!

      Reply
  4. kristen

    love this and agree with every single thing. if i get an email and they didn’t spell my name right, or worse didn’t even include it (hi blogger! or something equally as stupid) then i pretty much just ignore them. i get a lot of the ‘write a post about this’ but not a lot of ‘free stuff’ or whatever. not that i want free stuff, but i’m not just going to write a post for the fun of it when it has nothing to do with my life or blog.
    kristen recently posted…Problems only book lovers understandMy Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      So true! I’ve started adding a disclaimer to those that want to send products that I will only write and/or share on social media if I loved the product. Review guarantees are too hard to fulfill, especially if you don’t know if you don’t know the brand.

      Reply
  5. Martha

    Such good tips! I send a lot of emails straight to the spam box, because it’s clear the person sending the email doesn’t even know my name or what my blog is about–it’s just a general mass email. I think you have to be careful about what you accept, because you want to be seen as authentic and not as someone who says “yes” to every opportunity just to get free stuff.
    Martha recently posted…Music Monday: The Girl and the RobotMy Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      I’ve started doing that as well, especially when I can’t even understand what they’re saying! So true, and not to mention, I don’t want to live in a house that looks like it belongs to hoarders. ;)

      Reply
  6. Melissa Camacho

    sooo much yes to this!! that’s why I love the new adproval. I can show interest in companies I want to work with. in clearly not a fashion blogger or pregnant mom so why would I want to bother with reviewing the latest maternity shorts for summer? lol. great points!!
    Melissa Camacho recently posted…Why I’m Ditching the ScaleMy Profile

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  7. Arina

    Thank you for the Purina comment! They are trying to clean up their image after the whole Beneful thing, and I unfollowed a couple of people after they posted that – it didn’t mesh with their image, and it didn’t sit well with me.

    As far as #6 goes, I like to read slightly negative reviews, and I’m always wonder about a blogger if the only things they post are super positive about every product they try – there has to be something that didn’t work for you! As long as the blog isn’t bogged down by negativity, a once a month feature about products that didn’t work is kind of nice. However, it would be foolish to agree to a review if you didn’t like what they were offering.
    Arina recently posted…Introducing AphroditeMy Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      Yeah, I find the association with Purina pretty awkward in a lot of cases. Most of the other lifestyle bloggers with dogs who I follow seemed to avoid that like the plague, luckily.

      This is true – and I guess I should have clarified by talking about writing balanced reviews, which is what I try to do. Some things don’t work for me personally, but may work for someone else. And sometimes things that work well for me don’t work for others. Overall, if it’s something that I don’t already use or have always wanted to try, I take a pass.

      Reply
  8. Yolanda Williams

    I agree 100%, knowing when to say no is key. I never make decision when the person is rushing me into something. It’s better to have time to think it over before you commit. I can’t believe someone would want you to promote services or products you haven’t tried. That’s just questionable. As you stated, I think it’s important to always write about things you are passionate about, regardless of the subject.
    Yolanda Williams recently posted…How To Build Chemistry On The First Date Through ConversationMy Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      Yikes! No one should be rude if they’re asking for a favor! Geez, some people need a lesson in communication and professionalism!

      Reply
  9. Kasey

    yesss! I get a lot of e-mails from companies that are like “hey, do all of this work + if we like it, we’ll feature you!” I did get one of those that seemed like a good prompt, then I didn’t know if I had to say that it was their idea or whatever + submit it to them, it was exhausting. hahaha.
    Kasey recently posted…Reflections On 30 Days At The BarreMy Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      Haha, I hate those. And really, you shouldn’t have to which is what’s so dumb about them. I got a decent prompt sometime last year (I think it was about summer road trips, and we were going on a weekend trip or something) and I considered writing it, but I didn’t want to have to include their brand. Some other bloggers did, and I’m sure got nothing for it.

      Reply
  10. Ursula

    Great post, I’ve been blogging for a year and have yet to say yes to one of those blogging opportunities that come through the mail. Like you said, sometimes they just don’t feel right. I also don’t really like reading the posts about products so I tend to avoid writing them. But I’m curious to read your post on why you should say yes, because I imagine there are some great opportunities out there as well

    Reply
    1. Jenn Post author

      I generally will say yes to anything that I would normally purchased, have purchased in the past (like a different brand of moisturizer, for example) or for anything that gets me out of my comfort zone and trying something new. I think being balanced and being true to yourself is most important!

      Reply
  11. Julie

    I definitely agree about it being a good idea to say no sometimes. I have had to say no quite a few times to companys/products that I didn’t agree with. I have starting doing my beauty reviews in a list form and that seems to work better for me too. I will, however, include the ones that were not my favorites just because I think it’s nice to show what didn’t work for me, instead of always things that I love.
    Julie recently posted…Currently…My Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      I think that’s important too, and I always try to write balanced reviews like if the scent may not appeal to everyone, or if it’s only good for a certain skin type. I’ve been lucky and have yet to accept anything for review that hasn’t been as expected… I’m sure that won’t always be the case though!

      Reply
  12. Rebecca

    Trying to collect the e-mail addresses of all your giveaway entrants without that being an explicit part of the terms is sketchy and gross. I really value my privacy and that of my readers, so hope most people are smart enough to not comply with such a request!
    Rebecca recently posted…Weekly Poll | Seasonal Im-Pedi-MentsMy Profile

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    1. Jenn Post author

      Agreed, but unfortunately I don’t think that’s always the case. I’ve been signed up for many newsletters after entering giveaways on on other blogs. Sad, but true. I would never hand them over unless someone opted in.

      Reply
  13. Karen

    So glad I found this post. As a new blogger who’s barely off the ground, I probably wouldn’t have dreamed of turning down any “opportunity”, Your tips have opened my eyes to the fact that not all offers are good or even beneficial. Great post!

    Reply
  14. Lisa K

    I just said no to one about reviewing dog products because I don’t actually have a pet…Also, there is one that I said yes to and then changed my mind about once I saw that it just seemed a little shady. This is a good reminder to be selective!
    Lisa K recently posted…Juliette Gordon Low BirthplaceMy Profile

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