For Bloggers- When a Brand Says No

Today I got my 1,000th no. Well maybe not exactly. Maybe I’ve had more. The point is, as a travel blogger I hear more no’s than yes’s. After all of this I decided is was time to write about what to do as a blogger when a brand says no.

When done right, travel bloggers are able to offer great value to businesses: increased awareness, sales, content, backlinks, photography, honest reviews, and more. Unfortunately, not all brands see this or they have a different marketing strategy. Sadly, people who do not provide value create a bad name for the industry that also hurts our chances and this is something we cannot control.

Sometimes I get heartless rejections and it hurts. 80% of my pitches are no’s. A few come with the tone that my blog is not legitimate. From all of these no’s I’ve learned a few things. So now I have a checklist of things to do when a brand says no.

  1. Learn to develop a thick skin: Rejection hurts! I get mad that they don’t see the value. I get down on myself that I’m not good enough. But at the end of the day certain industries involve more selling of yourself and therefore more rejection. Just remember it’s all about timing, luck, and value (hint: value is 1/3 of the equation).
  2. Make sure what you have provides value: In the beginning I spent more time pitching than I should. I got a few “bites”, but later I realized I would have been much more successful if I had waited until I could provide more value. Since a year ago my photography has gotten better, I have more in my portfolio to prove my worth, and I have grown my audience across all platforms. I will also get more yes’s as I continue to grow. Are some missing out on my value now? Sure! But each person is running their own business and has to make strategic decisions.
  3. Count your yes’s. They will be smaller, but it’s good to remember all the great things that travel writing has provided you. I have found gratefulness is always a wonderful cure for rejection.
  4. Diversify your income: Sponsored posts and free products cannot be relied on to give you full creativity because some places will always say no. Below are a few ways to fund what you want to write about
    1. Affiliate programs: Want to write about a hotel? A lot of booking sites have an affiliate program. It will take time, but if you write a good review, people can use it and will book the hotel through your link because of your review. Want to write about products you love? Programs like RewardStyle have beauty, fashion, and home products. You have to invest your own money in these, but it’s good to invest in yourself if you expect others to invest in you.
    2. Sell courses: Do you know the best secrets to travel cheap? Create a course! Do you take the best travel photos? Share your secrets and make a profit!
    3. Find other partners: I have found that sometimes that I can use some of the profits from another sponsored post to cover the costs of a place I want to write about. For instance, there are snack brands that are looking to promote their foods. What’s more interesting: a post about saying how much you love a snack pack or a travel guide full of fun places that includes that snack as part of the trip? That subtle advertising creates more exciting content for the brand and more people are likely to read that.
    4. Find guest writing opportunities: Some places will pay you to write for their publication about what you want to write about.
  5. Keep on growing: You cannot change others, but there is always something new you can improve on. Stay up to date with industry trends, update your media kit, take writing/photography/marketing courses, and do whatever it takes to be better than the day before. If you have never done a luxury hotel review, spend your own money and write your own. Collect data and use that to give to brands as a portfolio piece.
  6. Swallow the pride: Trust me, it’s hard. However, when you really want to write about the place or product it’s time to decide why you’re doing it. Most often we are writing to help our audience discover new places and in return it also benefits the brand. Sometimes the rejection means we can’t write about it at that time or we have to pass, but sometimes it’s in our audience’s (and our) best interest to share it with them.
  7. Keep Reaching Out: It’s hard to be bummed about the rejection (or more) when an hour later you get a yes from another brand you were excited to work with!

Rejections are part of the travel blogger (or any blogger) life. Even though they hurt, the passion and excitement that comes from creating travel content is what I have used to overcome those pains and push me continue reaching out even when I feel embarrassed or let down. As a person who comes from a background of shyness and lack of self-confidence, I have to remind myself that I am allowed to ask for things when I can provide value. I am forced to be my own advocate and it’s a great self-development tool. Do you do anything to deal with the rejection when a brand says no?




Last Updated 1 year ago by Jessica Serna | Published: June 20, 2018

8 Responses
  • Nicolet.life
    June 24, 2018

    Thank you so much for this perspective! I think we are all a little to hard on ourselves sometimes.

  • Shannon Fahey
    June 24, 2018

    I’m still working at building my brand, but this was so important for me to read right now. I’m starting to get impatient, but I just need to focus on building my value, like you said. Seriously, wonderful advice! Thank you!

  • Jubilee D Meyer
    June 24, 2018

    Love this post so much! I can definitely relate. 6&7 are so important!

  • Pari
    June 24, 2018

    I am a newbie travel blogger and I want to say thank you for this post. It was only a few days ago that I also made the decision to develop my website more before approaching brands. Your post has shown me that I am on the right path. I hope we both get more yes in future and less no.

  • Tara Fuller
    June 25, 2018

    this is great! no always hurts – no matter who you are! and always always keep trying!

  • Des
    June 25, 2018

    Oh I’m so happy I found your blog! I have so much to learn about travel blogging… and all blogging. ?

  • Lala Kerry
    June 26, 2018

    Rejection can be so painful. But I know if we stay true to our brand no matter what, we will achieve more than lying about it. You are a great and strong person especially facing all of this. Thank you so much for your share. I love it <3

  • Adrienne Bruner
    June 26, 2018

    Thank you for writing this! As a blogger, it can be daunting when you hear no multiple times. I love your tips for other income like affiliate sales and partnering up!