A recent news story has gone viral regarding an influencer and a Dublin hotel the influencer contacted about an exchange of services. You can find information about the situation here and I encourage you to do so.
This whole debacle has had me thinking a lot about what we do as bloggers/micro-influencers who represent ourselves (as in, we who are independent and do not have agents like the larger, more established influencers/bloggers/vloggers). Reaching out to brands and sending them your social media kit isn’t a bad thing to do. A lot of people outside of blogging (and even some inside of it, for reasons I can’t comprehend), think contacting brands directly makes you appear desperate and without dignity. I whole heartedly disagree with this assessment but I also believe how we approach brands and how we handle rejection/acceptance letters speaks volumes about who we are and what we do.
I have had great luck with reaching out to brands about receiving PR packages or payment in exchange for reviews or sponsored content. Influencer Marketing is getting bigger and better because brands are recognizing the benefit of working with micro-influencers over paying tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not more) to an ad agency.
Micro-influencers are just cheaper AND we bring better results because our followers/subscribers are more likely to trust us than strangers in a print or online magazine/advertisement, spitting buzzwords and photoshopped images at them. For this reason many brands have their own Influencer programs or they have special people newly hired and dedicated to handling influencer marketing. They WANT to work with bloggers and they don’t mind being reached out to.
Not all brands will want to work with all bloggers, however. An example I have is that on the same day I sent the same social media kit to two companies who are similar in nearly every way: same business size, same social media presence, same type products, ect. Two nearly identical companies, but one sent me PR and was excited to work with me, and the other chose not to because they didn’t see me as a good fit.
This is the reality of reaching out to brands. Sometimes they’re interested and sometimes they’re not. Life goes on with dignity very much intact, if you know how to handle rejection.
In honor of the rejection letters I’ve already received and will still receive in the future, here are ways you and I can celebrate our rejections while retaining our sense of self.
1. Remember there are other fish in the sea!
One rejection letter doesn’t mean you should just give up on the whole ocean. Keep going! Learn what you can and then just keep on “swimming”.
2. Don’t hold any bad feelings for the brand that rejected you.
This isn’t personal. These brands have their own visions of what they need and want from you and if you don’t fit, you don’t. Don’t take it personally. I still love the brands who rejected me and still use their products.
3. See this as a learning opportunity.
Sometimes brands will tell you why you’re not a good fit for them. Learn from this. Take a step back and look at your content and make sure you’re putting your best foot forward. Maybe there are things you can tweak a bit. Maybe you really aren’t a good fit for them. I’m pretty sure (after further research) that some brands won’t work with me because of my size. They only work with standard sized bloggers and that’s their right. If that’s the case, I really wouldn’t be right for them and they wouldn’t be right for me either.
4. Remind yourself that you can always try again!
One brand sent me a rejection letter but told me to reach out again when I’d grown a bit more. Noted! I will do that. Don’t be afraid to hit up certain brands again after six months or so. If you’ve been steadily growing and bettering your content, you might be more what they’re looking for at a later date. Don’t hesitate to try again! Sometimes a “no” isn’t a “never”, but a “not right now.”
5. Respond to your rejection letters!
I know, this probably sounds humiliating, but it shows character! When I receive a rejection letter I respond something along these lines:
“Hi (insert name of contact)! Thank you for taking the time to consider me! I appreciate your honesty, what your company does, and I am truly grateful to have heard back from you! Have a great day!
This signals to the contact that you’re graceful and emotionally mature enough to handle rejection. This also creates a special connection with that person. They will remember this. A few months ago, after being rejected by a company and responding the way I did, within a week they followed me on Instagram and a month later they contacted me about receiving PR. I firmly believe it’s because of how I handled their initial rejection.
6. These rejections are going to mean so much to you later on down the road.
You will look back and be grateful for some of them. You will think about what you learned because of them and how you grew. Remind yourself of this when you get rejected: this is part of your story and that’s okay.
So, here’s to us, fellow bloggers, freelancers, and micro-influencers! Here’s to the rejection letters just awaiting our email addresses and the lessons we’ve yet to learn! Here’s to the companies who don’t give us a chance and the ones who do! We’re on a wild ride in this emerging industry and we might as well raise a glass to the journey (even the parts that sting a bit).