10 Reasons You May Not Get Selected for A Sponsored Content Opportunity
Being a full-time content creator is nothing short of hard work. Like actors and the constant auditioning—and those phases where you’re hearing ‘no’ far more than ‘yes’—the competition is steep. But just like actors and auditions, I’m here to tell you today that nine times out of ten, it’s not your talent or skill-set that's not getting you the job. Brands are like directors and they start every campaign with a very specific vision. Sure, they want talent. They want beautiful photography, fresh and creative ideas, likable personalities... but above all else, they want “brand-fit.”
For a brand, choosing a creator to work with is like matchmaking. There are multiple boxes they want to check off with each individual they choose to partner with. Here are some of the most common reasons you’re not getting the gig (and why you shouldn’t beat yourself up when you don’t.)
You and your audience are not their target consumer.
Age, gender, life-stage...these are just a few of the considerations when a brand is looking for a content creator to partner with. If the brand is looking to reach moms with toddlers and you’re a recent college grad sans kiddos, it’s probably not a love connection.
You don’t live near a certain retailer.
Many campaigns are shopper focused. The main goal of these projects is to drive in-store sales and foot traffic to a certain retailer. If you don’t live within 30 minutes of that store, the brand or agency will keep looking for someone who does.
You recently worked with a competitor.
Brands are hyper-aware of their competitors and if they see you did a sponsored post with their #1 competitor three weeks ago, they will likely pass on a partnership. This is one of those things that is completely out of your control and just the way the marketing world works. Brands are typically looking anywhere from 1-3 months back to scour your posts for competitive sponsorships, so if you worked with Pepsi not long ago, you may want to wait to toss your hat in the ring for a Coca-Cola project.
Your creative is too pretty. (Yeah, it’s a thing.)
Shocking, I know. But sometimes content can be too darn beautiful for a brand. Let’s be honest, not all brands are created equal and some don’t fall into the “pretty content” department. This is ok. This is their branding and it’s created with their target audience in mind. A great way to see if you’re a creative match for a brand is to check out their brand website and social platforms. What kind of imagery are they sharing? Do you produce higher quality photography? Do they use bright colors and you use soft hues and neutral tones? If so, it may not be the right project for you.
It’s outside your category.
If you’re a lifestyle blogger applying for a food brand campaign, but you don’t currently feature any recipes on your website — a brand will most definitely pass on the partnership. If you want to expand your categories to increase your frequency of sponsorships, we encourage you to do so with a resounding “go for it!”
The best way to get the ball rolling is to create a few non-sponsored posts within that category to showcase your skill-set. Once you’ve expanded into a new category, even if you only have 2-3 posts to support it, be sure to add it to your website category navigation bar. A quick glance from a brand that shows you have a section on your site dedicated to “recipes” will go a long way.
You fall outside of the campaign “theme.”
Based on seasonality, trends, and new product launches, many campaigns have a unique theme or area of focus. The brand may want to work with travel bloggers, Youtubers, category experts, grill-masters, DIY-ers, etc. The moral of the story is, you may actually be a great “brand-fit” overall, but you may not be a “campaign-fit.”
You don’t do video.
Requests from brands for sponsored videos are at an all-time high and will likely only continue to grow. If you don’t currently do video—or you just started out and are working on improving the quality of your videos—hang in there. You may not be a viable option for all brand partnerships right now, but if you’re up to the challenge of learning a new skill, video (both filming and editing) is one that we’re certain will pay off.
There are a multitude of applicants for only a few open spots.
It’s clear that “influencer marketing” is the present and future of advertising. As it continues to rise in popularity, more and more new content creators are springing up every day. At Ahalogy alone, we have seen our network nearly double in size within the last year. If a campaign only has 10 sponsored posts, but 900 creators apply - that’s 890 talented people that don’t get that job.
We try to do our best to spread the love and send business to as many of our partners as we can. Hang in there with us - we’re growing rapidly and the number of projects we’re working on continues to snowball. The more business we get, the more business we get to send your way. Win-win.
Your rate falls outside the campaign budget.
Campaign budgets can vary and there may be times when your rate for a sponsored post is outside of the budget. If your rate is flexible and you’re willing to negotiate your rate to get more sponsored opportunities, make sure your partners (like Ahalogy and other similar companies) know that you’re open to this.
You didn't flesh out your content ideas.
With every sponsored opportunity application we include thought starters and details about the campaign. I highly recommend you read these thoroughly, as they will greatly help you shape the ideas you submit. Use your idea to build off the campaign goals and always explain how you will integrate the brand/product authentically.
Get descriptive and detailed. Instead of pitching “a classic and easy pasta” try something like, “a 5-ingredient pasta made with Prego sauce. This recipe quickly preps in just 10 minutes and finishes in the oven, which makes it a go-to weeknight meal at our house.”
Align with the campaign goals. If a brand is looking to focus their campaign on creative passions and a love for visual arts, your “what’s in my gym bag” idea pitch will feel out of place. Be sure to always read about the project prior to submitting your ideas. When your ideas align with the goals of the campaign, your application won’t go unnoticed.
So what do you do with this information? My advice? Give yourself a break for that which you can’t control and don’t let it deter you from pushing forward and continuing to apply for campaigns. The few things in this list you can control—like expanding your capabilities, fleshing out your application, and being flexible with varying campaign budgets—I highly recommend you take the time to do so because each of these are investments that will pay out in the long run. Lastly, if you're looking for feedback specific to your work, we’re here to help. As fellow entrepreneurs, we know what it takes to grow a business and we want to see you succeed. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or any of our amazing team members with any questions.
About the Author | Kelly Killips, VP of Creative Direction
As the VP of Creative Direction at Ahalogy, Kelly manages the relationship with both current and prospective Ahalogy Partners as well as oversees all in-house creative—from quality assurance to paid media design.