When you’re first starting off blogging and heck, even after you’ve been blogging for years, it is really flattering to receive requests to do reviews, to attend events, and to actually get paid for writing. Even after all of these years of blogging I am always thankful when I am asked to work on a campaign, no matter how big or small. The fact that a company considers me worthy of their time is awesome.

That said, don’t be afraid to say no.

Unless you just want to blog short-term, think about building your brand with every step you take. Do you want to be a fashion blogger? Say no to blogging about diet pills. Do you want to be a high-end lifestyle blogger? Think about the brands you want to work with – do they represent you and what you’re trying to build? If your answer is no, move on. There will be other opportunities.

Keep that in mind: There will always be other opportunities. 

Earlier this week I received an email from a PR Company telling me that they wanted to work with my site and “provide new and engaging content.” This is always a red flag to me.

I believe that 99% of the content appearing on my site should be there because I wrote it and believe in it. Occasionally, yes, I will run a sponsored post but those are very few and far between (and I still have ultimate say over whether the post – sponsored or not – is a good fit for my site). Once a year I ask for guest posts when I am going on vacation, but otherwise all of the content is always written by me or one of my writers.

When I received the email about supplying content I responded by sending over my media kit, which includes sponsored post rates, and letting the woman know that I would be open to talking with her about a sponsored post.

In her response she told me that her clients “never” pay for content, and that they merely want to provide content to my site. Of course, said content would have links back to their advertisers, but it is a fair trade-off for such good content.

I responded by thanking her for her time, and informing her that I don’t accept free advertising on my site. I did this kindly and informed her that I hoped we could work together in the future, but I was firm in my response.

Bloggers: At the end of the day, think about whether or not the company is offering something you REALLY need. In my case, I don’t want or need “new and engaging” content. I don’t want to offer free advertising, because that’s a slippery slope.

Every step you take as a blogger is a step toward building your brand. With every new opportunity, think about whether you’re building the right path for you and never be afraid to say no when something isn’t a good fit.