Through almost eight years of blogging, with six of them being full time, I’ve become a near expert in negotiating. As a blogger, I’m in charge of negotiating my own contracts and as I continue to gain experience -and confidence – I have been able to successfully negotiate top dollar for all sponsorships. And there was one thing that completely changed the game for me: saying no.
As my inbox filled up and I got more and more sponsorship offers (paid and unpaid), I came to realize that there was no way I could accept them all, especially with all the other sponsorship opportunities out there on networks with open applications. There are tons of opportunities out there, whether your inbox is overflowing or not. The key is finding the right ones with brands who respect your work and your worth – and asking for it. I get offers for product in exchange for posts every day. It is my policy to only work with brands that fairly compensate me so since I’d rather spend my time creating organic content that is not sponsored, I always say no–in a polite and professional way–to these offers. Many times, it leads to paid work. Whereas if I had just accepted the product, I would have never gotten paid.
The moment I set minimums for my sponsored work, my income increased. The key to negotiating is you have to be willing to walk away if you don’t get what you want. With that kind of leverage, the chances of success are much greater. When it comes to sponsored posts, you should always be negotiating. Brands very rarely (I’m talking like 1% of the time) start off offering the highest rate they’re willing to pay. In my experience, it’s usually half. I follow the same formula by asking for roughly double of what I’m ultimately willing to accept. This most often results in me getting more than my bottom line. Which brings me back to my first point: if a brand can’t meet my bare minimum, I just say no. I walk away. Simple as that.
I do this not only because I know my worth and have an immense amount of respect for myself and for my work, but also because I want to be excited for the partnership; I want to go above and beyond the posting requirements; I want the brand to be so excited and blown away by my content that they can’t wait to work with me again. None of this can happen when I feel like I’m being underpaid.
My business strategy is to be extremely selective with my sponsors – that’s why you don’t see me posting more sponsored content than organic content. Not only am I selective in the brands I work with, but as is evident in this post, I only accept partnerships where the brand can meet my minimum rates. I’d rather have two sponsored posts a month that pay $5000 each than 20 $500 sponsorships. This allows me to be much more thoughtful and creative in my content creation as well as be respected for my craft and compensated fairly.
The moment I started asking for more, I started getting it. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. After all, if you don’t ask, the answer is no.
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Photo by Ryan Carpenter.
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