One new, unread message sat in my inbox. It called my name, coaxing me to open it. I obeyed. The email invited me to participate in a paid Instagram campaign with a very well-known beverage brand partnered with a well-known award show.
"I like where this is going," I thought.
I read the campaign creative guidelines to get a feel of what they were looking for, what they weren't looking for, & what was required as far as photography, hashtags, & publishing times. Everything sounded good to me. I accepted the campaign & then waited for approval that I was officially in.
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I received the "Congrats, You're In!" email the next day. I was ecstatic, especially since it was one of the biggest brands I've ever had the opportunity to partner with. I received all the final details & went through it line by line:
Create a high resolution & well-lit image.
Must include at least one beverage.
Show the party setup.
Do not include any other brand logos.
Photo must show someone drinking the beverage.
The beverage must be upright in the photo.
Submit a caption along with branded hashtags.
Portrait or landscape format, square not acceptable.
Then I headed to the store. It had to be an exact type of packaging, not one of their specialty or seasonal ones. I browsed the aisles of the store & double checked the creative guidelines on my phone. I needed to verify it was the correct product. I got the right one, headed to check out, & went back home.
The theme of the post aimed to highlight the beverage as the perfect party drink for your awards show viewing party. I styled my photo to give the illusion of a full-blown gathering. I included a variety of snacks, several cans of the drink, my handy-dandy remote control, & a few magazines. I wanted it to look warm, inviting, & happy — the kind of party anyone would want to come to.
I spent time doing my makeup & making sure my hair looked presentable. I wore one of my favorite outfits & felt ready for my shoot. My boyfriend, Fred, snapped some photos. We played with the angles. We zoomed in, zoomed out. We worked to get a great range of shots.
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I uploaded the photos to my computer & went through each photo. I picked a couple shots I loved & asked for Fred's opinion. I edited the photo, came up with a nice caption adhering to the brand guidelines, & sent it in for approval.
I received an email two days later.
"We thank you for submitting your image for this upcoming campaign. However, your post was not approved. Please do not post your image. We will process your payment for participating because your image met all the brand guidelines. Although the brand did not choose you at this time, you could be invited to a future campaign."
"Oh. I see."
I was disappointed. I looked at my image again. I wondered why they didn't pick me. I scoured through all the branded hashtags to see which ones went live that day. I compared their photos to mine. I compared their captions to mine.
After questioning my skills for approximately 40 seconds, I came to the realization that this is business. In fact, it's something I've had to personally do as a social media coordinator & lifestyle blogger. When it comes down to it, there might've been one minute detail that made a difference.
Perhaps they had 100 applicants & they wanted to focus on Instagram users in the Midwest or users with adult children or users with over 50,000 followers. Sometimes they didn't like the pattern of your shirt or the way the picture was framed or where the product was placed. Sometimes it all comes down to a small detail like that. In this case I was lucky to still get paid, but it's not always like that.
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I've spent time negotiating campaign details, only to receive a late night email claiming they didn't have budget anymore. I've been invited to campaigns & then rejected the next day. Rejection is simply a part of life as a blogger & digital influencer.
Sometimes someone else had a better idea. Someone might've had a genius concept or impeccable photo editing skills. Perhaps their reach is gargantuan. Maybe they're known for already working with the brand. It's a different reason every time.
You will not be the perfect match for every advertisement, promotional campaign, & paid post on the planet. Sometimes you might have the best photo, have the best post idea, have the best caption, but your demographic is simply not what they're looking for. It might be as simple as that.
After about 500 rejections, you learn not to take every rejection to heart. Brands reach out to me all the time & if I know they're not a good fit for my blog, I politely decline. Rejection absolutely goes both ways.
Dealing with rejection as a blogger & digital influencer is a daily adventure. If anything, rejection is a motivating factor. It inspires me to keep going, make something better, & learn something new to ideally get accepted to the next opportunity. Here's to more rejection & growth!
How do you deal with rejection? :]