Asking for compensation
It's one of the biggest questions we get: "How do I push back to brands and ask to be paid?" If you've struggled with this one, it will come as no surprise that it's not an easy one. There's seems to be a fine line between deciding when you should accept gifted collaborations from a brand in order to grow your following and gain exposure, and when you should push back and ask to be compensated. We're going to dive in an bisect the situation to help you think through what's best for you and your brand - plus equip you with templates you can use in your emails when it is time to push back and ask for payment.
When should you push back?
Before we get to the templates, let's talk about how you know when you should push back. I'll first start by saying, it's not on every collaboration offer you receive. There are bloggers out there who will tell you to expect payment and tell you to never work for free, but the reality is that they are selling themselves short if they don't truly believe that building relationships isn't straight up valuable. Now, as a full-time blogger or even a girl just trying to build her side-gig hustle - I know that free stuff doesn't pay the bills and that cold hard cash is nice, but sometimes it's worth it to work on gifted collabs if it's truly going to build a relationship.
I (Cara) still do it, even as a full time blogger and I think you should too because no matter what, there is a brand out there that you LOVE and if they would give you something really cool or really expensive it would be totally worth it to create content and share with your followers. Maybe that's a purse, maybe its a car or a trip to Bali - all I'm saying is stay open because I would have missed out on a hell of a lot of opportunities if I closed myself off to unpaid collabs just for the sake of a paycheck.
So, how do you know what collabs to say yes to and which ones to push back on? We have a few good resources that go in-depth on this. You can start in this page or download the Brand Collab Starter Kit if you just need some basic brand collab education.
Go check out these 5 Signs you Should probably Say No to a Brand Collab Offer for a few clues as to when to say no or read through the Ultimate in-kind Brand Collaboration Guide to learn when it's a good idea to accept gifted collabs.
Besides all that in-depth info, I would also say that pushing back to a mass email sent out by an influencer platform or by a brand asking your to join their ambassador or affiliate program is probably not the best use of your time. Compensation could happen, but these are usually take-it-or leave it offers. Asking for compensation from hotels offering a comped stay is pretty rare. It usually only happens if your rate is clearly above the value of the room - but even then isn't common. If the brand reached out to you directly because they loved your instagram or website, then that's probably a green light to consider asking for compensation.
Does following matter?
In short, Yes and No.
Rates are often based on following and your reach, so if you don't have a substantial following, there are some instances where the compensation the brand would offer would be worth way less than the potential exposure and resume builder the collab might get you. We talk about this in the Ultimate in-kind Brand Collaboration Guide and you can check out all our post rate calculators to help you determine this as well.
You have to be confident in your worth. Even if your following is small, you can totally create bomb content that will be worth it for the brand - not to mention way less expensive than then hiring a whole creative team to make it themselves. Don't undersell yourself just because your following is on the smaller side. Believe in your value and be confident in your worth - and if you need some tips for how to do that, check out this live video we did all about it.
Language you can copy for your emails
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