Receiving a collaboration offer can be both exciting and overwhelming. After all, there’s no guarantee that the partnership will be successful – but if it is, it could open up new opportunities for your business or project. But before we get ahead of ourselves and dive into any collaboration agreement headfirst, there are certain steps you should take to ensure that this potential partnership is right for you. Here are some tips on how to respond to a collaboration offer:
Before accepting an offer of collaboration from another person or organization, make sure you know who they are and what their expectations are for the partnership. Take time to read through their website and social media accounts so that you have a better understanding of what kind of company they run and what type of projects they usually work with. This research will help inform your decision about whether or not the proposed collaboration would be beneficial for both parties involved.
Before accepting any collaboration offer, it's important to carefully weigh up the potential risks and benefits involved. Ask yourself questions like: Is this collaboration beneficial for both parties? What are the potential pitfalls of this partnership? Are there any foreseeable issues that may arise? Are there any legal or financial implications that need to be addressed?
It's important to approach any proposal with a level head. Take a step back from the excitement and be pragmatic. Consider the resources and expertise available from both parties. Will you have to work night and day to pull this off? The point of a brand collaboration is that both parties receive mutual benefit. Are the benefits equally weighted?
These types of questions will definitely arise, as you chew over the details of what's being offered. But sometimes, you don't have enough information to make that clear consideration. Which leads us to our next point...
If any of the your questions aren't clarified in your research of the company, then it's definitely time to get in contact with the requestor. Be gracious about the offer, but assert that there are some details you need to understand further, such as the potential project goals and outcomes, what resources are available and how success will be measured.
"Hi [x], I appreciate the collaboration offer and I am excited at the prospect of working together. But before making a decision, I wanted to ask a few questions around the [project goals / project outcomes / resources available / criteria for success].
Ensure that you're clear on the value you're providing to your collaborator. Are you receiving something equally valuable in return? It's important to remember the unique strengths, skills and resources that you can bring to the partnership.
Here's a couple of things you could check:
For example, in the case of Nomadlist & Buffer, both parties offer software that serves digitally native users, but their research collaboration lead to insights that could draw new users for both. This was a mutually beneficial collaboration.
As you determine the value being exchanged, remember - collaboration is about relationships, and relationship need to be negotiated. So feel free to push back on what you and your brand would need out the brand partnership to make this worthwhile.
So, you know their brand, done your research, asked questions to clarify their proposal and you're clear on the type of value you'll both get from it. But...you can't shake the feeling a backlink via a guest post would really be the icing on the cake for you.
Well, "Dont ask, don't get", as they say.
Asking questions in point 2 was a clarification of your requestors proposal, but there's also room to present a counter proposal when discussing collaborations.
Chris Voss, a seasoned hostage negotiator said "The beauty of empathy is that it doesn’t demand that you agree with the other person’s ideas" in his book, Never Split the Difference.
We all know negotiating is context and personality dependent, but either way, be sure to know you're worth in however you go about that discussion.
So, there you have it. Clearly, responding to collaboration offers can be a tricky process. From researching the brand and clarifying the proposal, to understanding the value exchanged and negotiate the right agreement - it all requires a bit of patience and persistence.
But - by following these steps and understanding how collaboration works best for both sides, brands can make sure they’re getting into a mutually beneficial partnership where everyone knows their roles and responsibilities within the timeline.
When done right, collaboration emails can lead to amazing outcomes for both parties!