How to Politely Decline A Sponsored Post
When you get your first sponsored-post offer, it's exciting. You feel like shouting "someone noticed my site! And they like it!" But you also have to keep in mind that it could simply be that if perhaps your stats aren't high yet, they're merely looking for a deal.
It can be quite the deflating and even maddening process. You pitch a rate that you think is a deal so that they'll take the bait so to speak, and they come back with a counter offer so low that it's downright insulting.
But the thing is, sometimes these companies do increase their budgets, and sometimes small brands simply don't know how much to charge a blogger. It's important to not only reply, but to do so politely, even if your initial reaction is "$12 for a sponsored post AND an ad? Are you f#c$ing kidding me???" Honestly, I've just not responded at all to some of those companies myself in the past. I noticed that the less I responded, however, the fewer offers I got. The PR world is very small, as it turns out.
As you move forward with your blog, and the offers start to roll in, you will establish one of two reputations - that of a blogger who always gets back to people, or a blogger who doesn't. If you become the latter, you will be on fewer lists and you will receive fewer offers, period. It's better to get a bunch you have to sift through and decline to get a few gems in the mix, as you build up to the bigger campaigns and more frequent solid offers.
I feel like there are so many different angles to this subject; like how to establish rates, how to deal with companies who try to bully you into lower rates, etc. I definitely plan to write on each of these issues and feel that they deserve their own posts.
For now I'll just stick to the basic topic I started with - how to politely decline a sponsored post. It's simple; you give them the old thank you + sorry + thank you sandwich. It goes a little something like "Thank you for the offer. I'm sorry but have to decline, because the rate is too low. Thank you." If it's a brand you really would like to work with in the future, should their budget increase, include that in your response as well.
Here is a copy of one I just sent out recently:
Thanks again for contacting me. I'm sorry, but I have to decline. This offer is too low beneath my current rate for sponsored posts. Thank you and please let me know if I can do anything for you in the future as your budget increases.
If you're declining an offer simply because you can't fit the brand into your current editorial calendar, be sure to let them know that as well. It can be a commonly-used excuse, so make sure you convince them that you genuinely are interested in working with them in the future. For example, give detailed reasons why you like their brand and why you think they would fit well with your site.
I hope this helps the next time you receive an offer. Please leave any additional questions or comments below!