10 Ways to Say No to a Pitch


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A wise and highly admired women, Tina Fey, has famously said:

Say yes and you’ll figure it out afterward

But saying yes to pitches isn’t always the right thing! As your blog grows in popularity so will the pitches and proposals from brands and PR firms. It is exciting but it can also be overwhelming. Sometimes the brand of your dreams reaches out but sometimes, and maybe usually, you receive pitches that you’d rather not do.

Over the summer I put my name on a PR list and since then I have gotten more than 60 random infographics with pitches to include them on my site. I’ve only had one infographic on Color Me Styled… one that I created following my reader survey! It is frustrating to receive pitches that are not tailored to you but it can be equally stressful to say no to them. There are feelings of guilt and #FOMO. But if you say yes to everything your blog will become a billboard and not the carefully, artfully and professionally curated site you set out to have.

To help, we’ve put together a list of 10 Ways to Say No to a Pitch. I was inspired by an article on Inc.com by Jessica Stillman (@EntryLevelRebel). This is more tailored towards bloggers but you’ll see plenty of overlap.

1. It’s Just Not A Fit
I’m afraid ABC just doesn’t fit well with the aesthetic of my blog.
If you’ve done something similar in the past that they reference you can say it doesn’t fit with the direction your site is going.
2. Blame the Content Calendar
Thank you for sending this over but my content calendar doesn’t have room for any additional content at this time.
I’ve had PR companies come back with “okay, when can you fit this in” and then I respond with something along the lines of #1 and #3 and #7.
3. Counter Pitch
I’m flattered you thought of me, I don’t have the time to do XYZ right now but what if I did ABC instead?
Just make sure you are willing and able to do exactly what you’re counter pitching. A good option is always to “cover it on social media”.
4. Thanks but not for free
This campaign sounds interesting but I am only accepting paid projects at this time.
Worst case scenario is they come back and try to pay you to do it! Then you’ve got a Sophie’s Choice on your hands.
5. Blame Another Person
While I’d love to participate, I’ve promised my boyfriend/sister/puppy/therapist not to take on any new projects right now.
They can’t get mad at your “puppy”.
6. Not Now, Maybe Later
I regret that I can’t participate now but please keep me in mind for future collaborations.
This could lead to bigger and better things!
7. Blame Your Readers
I’m afraid my readership won’t respond to YOUR PRODUCT as well as you might hope. I haven’t had good luck promoting SOMETHING SIMILAR in the past.
If you don’t have a similar campaign to refer to use a different response from this list!
8. You Know Who Might Do This?
Thank you of reaching out to me. I can’t do it but I think MY BLOGGER FRIEND might be able to. Do you want me to send this her way?
Paying it forward has never hurt anyone.
9. Thanks but I can’t
Thanks for considering MY BLOG for this campaign, but I can’t.
Shut it down.
10. The Silent Treatment

(Hey it worked during that fight with your BFF in 6th grade… people still get the point) Just don’t chose the silent treatment if this PR company is one you’ve worked with in the past or if they rep brands you want to work with in the future!

What other strategies have you used to turn down a pitch? Share in the comments below or chat us up on Twitter (@windycityblogco @erinmbassett @thekittchen)