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All formal business relationships start with contracts, and freelance public relations services are no different. Working without one as may just put your freelance career at stake. You don’t want to deal with unpaid projects or doing much more than what you’re paid to do. So, let the contract come first before you begin the work. 

Well, designing a public relations contract isn’t easy, but with a freelance public relations contract template, you can do it within a few minutes. The template guides you on what to include and what not to include in the contract.

A Public relations contract can be quite a simple document, or it is detailed to the bone. This factor depends on the scope of the PR contract and the entities signing the agreement. However, for freelancers starting out in the PR business, a freelance public relations contract template is considered a saving grace.

However, as you progress in your freelance PR business, you may not have to rely on the freelance public relations contract template. Things tend to become better with time as you get to learn a few tricks here and there. But even then, you can still stick to a template even after advancing in your freelance business.

Public Relations Contract Template
‍Image Credits: metierlink.com

There are numerous contract templates offered all over the internet; some are free while others are not. Therefore, you can always get a freelance public relations contract template online to get you started. Most of them are up to standard, and they should just help you design a perfect contract for your freelance PR business.

However, there are important segments and clauses that should not miss out from the document. Make sure the freelance public relations contract template you pick contains the following segments before you get down to business.

1. Cover letters and your PR contract template

The cover letter is an opportunity for you to summarize your strengths and scope of public relations experience. As a freelancer, you may have written several cover letters before, but it’s not always easy to put all things together in this simple document. Its formality sometimes makes it a bit complex. However, with a freelance public relations contract template, the job is halfway done. 

Some contract templates have an outline of how the cover letter is drafted. The model saves you the time and energy of getting the formal language correctly. All you need to do is to fill in the necessary details, which in this case, are your your strengths and skills as a public relations freelancer. But that doesn’t mean you just add the details and leave it at that. Keep track of the flow to make sure your cover letter makes sense. 

To make it even simpler for you, some contract templates have an actual cover letter written, whereby you only need to insert specific details like respective companies' names, dates and other specific data. If you’re the kind who wants to get this done within a few seconds, such a freelance public relations contract template may be the best for you.

2. Executive summary of a public relations contract

An excellent freelance public relations contract template will help lay out the specific reasons why your client needs your PR services, and thus defines the scope of work. These services include event coverage, general social media PR needs, extensive media coverage among other PR services.

Most of this is covered in the executive summary of the contract. Most templates will cover this, but it’s always important to confirm whether the freelance public relations contract template you’ve chosen contains this part before you settle for it. In case it doesn’t have this, you can opt for another template or simply fix it somewhere in the one you have.

However, don’t put a lot of texts here. You’re writing down your scope of work and letting your client know how relevant your PR services are to their business. So, keep it brief as much will be covered in the body of the contract.

As you highlight your skills and strengths, make sure you let your client know your limits to avoid over expectation from them. As a freelancer, your scope is limited to your capacity thus it is prudent that the client knows how far you are willing to provide PR services and for how long. So, be very clear on this.

3. Define how you'll work using the PR contract template

This segment of the freelance public relations contract template assists you in outlining the precise nature of the campaign. For example, you will have to specify who the PR campaign is for, what goals are met and how long it will take to achieve these goals. For example, you will outline whom the PR strategy and execution will serve and for which reason (for example, social media coverage).

Such outlined details in the public relations contract template assist you in defining the campaign without the risk of having crucial information missing from the final document. Of course, you don’t want to deal with missing details at this point, and you can best achieve this using a template. Thankfully the templates also come drafted in formal but straightforward language, saving you tons of time that could be spent writing and editing the document to fit the formal business environment. As you know, the contents of the contract have to be formal throughout the document, and every section must adhere to this. 

However, you should note that different PR job roles have varying requirements. Therefore, as you fill this part of your freelance public relations contract template, be sure to customize it according to the job requirements. That means you have to go through the PR project before you fill out the template. To make it even easier for you, you can download a PR freelance proposal sample and have a look at it. It will give you an idea of how to write the proposal in your freelance public relations contract template.

4. Define the timeline in the public relations contract template

In the freelance world, time is of the essence. Therefore, your freelance public relations contract template should have a section for timeline definition. The timeline definition segment is meant to address the issue of the duration your company is expected to achieve the goals the client needs to be met. The timelines are divided into achievable milestones that you will encounter at different stages as you progress.

As a freelancer, you have to analyze the tasks you’re required to carry out and let the client know how long it will take you to complete them. Don’t be too ambitious when filling out this part in your freelance public relations contract template. Remember, to maintain a good relationship with your client you must be able to deliver on time. Therefore, only set milestones that both you and your team can achieve.

Public Relations Contract Template Sample
Image Credits: scribd.com

Thankfully, most freelance public relations contract templates come with these milestones already broken down, that is; the duration, the type of service rendered during the period, the media types used as well as success metrics for each milestone. Some of them may have a table for this section so that it’s just easy for you to fill the table with the necessary details.

For example, a press campaign template would define for you the pre-announcement, announcement and post-announcement milestones, with different parameters that govern these milestones also being outlined. So, it’s quite simple to do this.

5. About us section of a PR contract template

For most online freelance public relations contract template, this segment is usually outlined, leaving you the only tasks of editing the specific details. The model is a saving grace, considering that most freelancers are swamped undertaking every other job that ensures the business stays afloat. However, it would be prudent to tweak out the section a bit so that it doesn't sound like the run-off-the-mill cliché "about us" segment found on every other website. Include your experience regarding the time you have practiced as a freelance PR company, as well as the success metrics for your previous clients. Feel free to use flowery language but don't go over the top when attributing yourself the success.

Here, you don’t need to put in a lot of texts. Most of the things have been covered in the other segments of the contract, and, therefore, you don’t need to say much. But even then, just make sure anyone going through this section can get a grasp of what your company does. This is part of marketing your brand. So, make it as appealing as you can. Well, your freelance public relations contract template has already done it for you, but it would be better to customize it to your brand.

6. Our team section of a PR contract template

As a PR freelancer, you must be having a team of experts behind you. It’s important to let your client know this, and that’s why your freelance public relations contract template shouldn’t miss out on this section. This segment outlines the different talents that comprise your company. To successfully work on your client’s project, it’s necessary to put different skills and talents at work. This instills some confidence in your client as they’re sure you’ll do the job well. 

Even so, don't shy away if yours is a one-person show – most freelancers start solo and work their way around to getting more hands on their teams as time goes. Some of the big freelancing companies you know of started here, and now they’re doing well. The good thing is that clients don’t mind hiring individual freelancers provided they’ve got the skills they need. Only be sure to outline your roles if you’re going solo, or their roles if you’re working with a team, depending on which projects you are currently working on.

Ready to start your PR freelance business? Get a freelance public relations contract template to start you off.

7. How to make a PR contract template

Becoming a PR consultant is one of the most exciting moves a PR pro can make. However, there can arise issues between your client and you – the service provider. Problems like clients who refuse to pay citing various reasons, or clients who expect you to work beyond the agreed scope. The client could also need to terminate the relationship, or the opposite could occur – you could be wanting out.  Thus, a PR contract sample is the document that will save the day in case such problems arise since it protects both parties and is admissible in a court of law.

An agreement isn’t valid until it’s documented. That’s why, as a PR freelancer, you need to work with a PR contract template. It’s not a complicated document as it may seem, and you don’t need special skills to draft one. Provided you know every detail that should be included in a PR contract sample, you can create one within a short time. Even if you’re a newbie in the freelance business, you can design one without much struggle.

Public Relations Contract Template Example
‍Image source: swineflutrackingmap.com

You can decide to draft the PR contract template from scratch, or you can develop it from an existing template. There are numerous but useful contract templates available online, and you could use these if you are short on time. However, whether based on a model or drafted from scratch, there are a few elements your contract should not miss.

If you’re using a PR contract template, it will be easier to create the document. In most cases, a PR contract template comes with all the sections clearly outlined. Even then, it would be best if you still gave it a few tweaks to meet the project requirements. Remember, each PR project has its unique needs. As such, don’t just dump information in the PR contract template. 

So, what should you include in your PR contract sample? Whether you’re using a template or developing one from scratch, the following sections should never miss on your PR contract document.

7.1. The PR contract template's lifetime

You should not ignore the beginning and end dates of the contract. These dates mark the lifetime of the PR contract sample, and thus everything that encompasses the business relationship is limited to the start and end dates. This action helps avoid issues that arise due to miscommunication. For example, you will know when to commence the PR services, and you will know for how long you will provide those services. In case the client wishes to extend the life of the contract, you will need to specify the procedures that will be followed to this effect. The same applies if the client wishes to terminate the contract prematurely.

Most freelancers tend to take contract expiry date lightly, yet it’s very essential. As much as you’d like to please your client and possibly build a long-term relationship, you won’t be willing to do anything for free. In case the client needs you to offer extra services beyond the contract period, you’ll be happy if they paid you for that. Unless you include contract start and end dates in your PR contract sample, the project may last longer than you expect, but you’ll still get the same payment. So, to be on the safe side, be sure to indicate the expiry date of the contract in the agreement document and provide terms for an extension.

7.2. The scope of work section of the public relations contract

This particular clause outlines the specific services you will offer during the business relationship. Specifying the range of work helps avoid many issues that are bound to arise in a business relationship. Your PR contract template should outline the specific duties you (the service provider) will tackle. The contract will also consider the nature of the project; if it's a one-off type of project or a more complicated project that may require a more complex business relationship. Specifying the scope of work also involves specific duties and responsibilities, as well as liabilities incurred. This clause protects both parties by ensuring that your client knows what they should expect from you (the service provider) and also, protects your PR agency from undue liabilities.

When outlining the scope of work in your PR contract sample, don’t forget to include some of the extra services a client may request for in the course of work. Let the client know how much they would pay for such services. Most PR freelancers make a mistake of asking for pay after they do the extra services that clients may not be aware they should pay for. 

Clients don’t like this, and they may even consider it a breach of contract in some cases. Since you’d like to build a strong reputation for them to consider you in the future, don’t leave such important details. As you do this, don’t forget to offer your client a discount. Instead of charging for every single service, you may decide to perform some minor tasks for free. It motivates the client to hire you again or recommend your services to other people. After all, freelance business is all about building a secure network.

7.3. Include a termination clause in the PR contract template

While you would love a guaranteed business relationship that spans years, it is essential to include a termination clause. This action will protect you (the PR agency) in case you need to terminate the business relationship, or if the client wishes to do the same. A termination clause explains the basis on which either party can end the business relationship and what liabilities are incurred. For example, if the client is dissatisfied with your services, they will have a definite exit plan specified in the PR contract sample, and the same applies to you. Depending on the nature of the business, liabilities may be incurred in case of premature termination of the deal. Without a termination clause, you may find your hands tied if the business relationship goes south, or worse, goes to court.

It’s always important to terminate a contract smoothly without brushing shoulders with your client. For instance, in case the client feels like they’re not going to continue working with you, they should notify you in advance and agree on the amount they’ll pay you at this point. If that’s well sated in the contract, a third party like a court of law will be able to determine the case and ensure you get what you deserve. It will be too bad if you’ve not spelled out the termination terms in your PR contract sample. Termination is a very sensitive issue that should be discussed by both a client and a freelancer. Usually, it should protect both interests. Therefore, it’s essential to involve the client when writing down this clause.

Public Relations Contract Template PDF
Image source: stiropor.co

7.4. Cover budgeting and billing in the PR contract template

While budgeting is taken seriously, billing procedures often are not. This issue holds true for most small PR firms. However, having a clause that outlines the details of the budgeting and billing process will save you a headache in the future. For example, you can specify that you will be receiving payments on a monthly basis, or every quarter of the year. You can agree whether the client will be billed per hour, or if they will be billed per month. Penalties will also be stipulated in this clause. This clause removes chances of money issues cropping up between you and your clients.

Your client is aware that they should pay you after completing the tasks, but you need to have a definite timeline for payment. Also, the client should know whether it’s fixed or hourly payment. Bringing such issues on the table too late into the day will interfere with your relationship. Therefore, discuss it with them and let them tell you the kind of billing they prefer. Usually, it’s the freelancer to decide this depending on the kind of services they offer, but there’s no harm in letting a client share their thoughts about this. As a freelancer, go for a billing method that you think will pay you off. Nevertheless, don’t be too expensive. Your client may change their mind and look for another freelancer, and that’s the last thing you want to experience.

8. How to create a PR agreement template

A PR agreement is a contract entered into for the provision of public relations services. The public relations agreement can be for a particular project or to oversee ongoing projects. A standard agreement is drafted with the client in mind, aiming to be as reasonable as possible. The contract is meant to protect both the client and service provider (freelancer) in case things go wrong (as they sometimes do).

Sometimes a business situation changes and the company may no longer need the PR services. Thus, the freelancer providing the PR services is protected through stipulated compensation.

Freelancers must understand the obligations revolving the PR agreement before working with any agency. Before signing a public relations contract, both parties must have a precise definition of the terms and conditions that describe the industry involved. Freelancers are likely to establish positive results once they understand the primary purpose of the PR agreement. Since most firms will depend on freelancers' services, they expect potential provision of services, especially with the business image to the public. Therefore, freelancers should demonstrate specialized skills in communication and potential, the expectation to the hiring agency before accepting the public relations contract.

Before signing the PR agreement, there are a few details that should not miss from the contract no matter how simple it is.

When all details are addressed on the PR agreement, any mistakes will be handles on accounts of the party involved. As such, freelancers in the public relations industry must be keen to know what is required parallel to the industry as well as other legal obligations for protection. Transparency is primarily needed to ensure both parties work advantageously towards achieving the speculated goals.

Public Relations Contract Template Sample PDF
‍Image Credits: danceyourselftodeath.com

Before you sign a PR agreement, you should ask yourself the following questions:

8.1. Mention the specialty they need in the PR contract template

Most major PR firms have different departments for different business types. However, some companies focus on one niche exclusively. By inquiring if they have any preference of PR service they need, you will get to know if they are also cut out for your business model. Working with a company that understands your industry minimizes the learning curves.

It also comes in handy when something unexpected happens, and the client will need PR services to rationalize the situation. Working with a freelancer that isn't conversant with your industry could lead to instances where you are caught with your foot in the mouth. If it's impossible to find a freelancer that works within your industry, then consider working with one whose experience parallels that of your industry.

A freelancer is likely to work advantageously when they specialize in a specific niche. However, most firms will revolve around communication with the public, employees, and customers. The freelancer must have solid knowledge in promotional marketing and campaigns, among other aspects that will improve the company image. Public relations services are required to be strictly professional and effectively communicate with the targeted marketplace. 

In case the hiring firm needs extra assistance, the freelancer should ensure they understand the terms involved and the obligation driving the services required. This will help focus on the niche and the most effective media that will help achieve the client’s goals. Freelancers are therefore required to have explicit knowledge in the industry in question.

8.2. Specify your approach when drafting the PR agreement

It is essential to weigh the various PR strategies available to you before you sign the public relations agreement. Your prospective client should understand there are various inputs that will drive your business goals. This will affect the kind of products or services you sell, your brand history and competitive advantage in the market. You need to be on the same page by the time the contract becomes valid. The primary goal of PR services is to get an engaging message in front of targeted audience groups.

A good PR campaign can drive web traffic to great heights. It also leads to excellent search engine rankings, backlinks that lead to sales as well as the potential of the business being featured in more respected mainstream publications and media houses. Both offline and online approaches are considerable. Thus, you need to discuss this clause instead of leaving things to chance.

Freelancers should be confident in their expertise in the industry before signing the PR agreement. As such, the process could become more natural to define the best approach to tackle the contract. Intensive research could help understand the best techniques that could help the clients achieve the best, especially in a competitive niche. Following the previous agreements could help define the most considerable approach that could promote the client's products and services to potential customers. On the other hand, freelancers should identify a plan based on the marketing goals defined by the hiring agency.

Public Relations Contract Template Example PDF
Image Credits: swineflutrackingmap.com

8.3. Include opinion on page rank and domain authority in the PR contract template

Quality is an essential factor in online PR. The best way to analyze the quality is to study the relationship the freelance has with online publications. PR companies are also catching up with the internet's potential, and thus spend considerable energy finding online publications that will feature their clients. A great PR freelancer should be able to pay attention to different online metrics that will help harness the potential of the blogosphere to gain market dominance.

This fact, of course, will work to the client advantage whether or not the business is based purely online or merely has an online presence.

Freelancers tackling projects related to public relations should be knowledgeable with internet approaches that will help to market clients. Learning about the online metrics could help to diversify the image of the hiring agency. If online marketing is required in the PR agreement, freelancers should ensure they can provide competitive efforts to generate potential traffic to client’s websites. As such, awareness can be guaranteed hence providing measurable results.

While using online tools in public relation contract, freelancers should be aware of the policies and standards on the internet. If specific guidelines are highlighted in the PR agreement, freelancers should ensure they strictly adhere and optimize necessary protocols to ensure they are on the right track.

8.4. Discuss money when drafting the public relations contract

Any business relationship is centered around money. This fact also applies to freelancers providing PR services. Before signing the PR agreement, find out how willing they are to discuss money concerning the service being provided. Discussing money assures you that the budget set by the client is within your service pricing. You also will know the kind of expectations they have once the public relations agreement is signed and the contract begins.

Besides providing professional services to hiring clients, freelancers should be able to work with reasonable payments. Before commencing the project, there is a need to discuss payment terms and methods. The agency should be willing to negotiate based on the workflow and other rising matters that could attract extra expenses. Freelancers should analyze the approximate amount of funds and resources they could use to complete the project and ensure they are paid appropriately. Any cash flow should also be done transparently to prevent possible disagreements once the project completed.

In conclusion

The PR contact should protect both parties in case of misunderstandings. Starting a business relationship without a contract is a landmine of severe problems that could end up in court.  If you’re a newbie in the freelance business, you may find it challenging to deal with some clients, but with a PR contract sample, your problems are halfway solved. In most cases, freelancers and clients disagree over payments and scope of work. Therefore, avoid such bumps by having a detailed contract outlining scope of work and payment terms. 

Regardless of the size of the business, PR services will come in handy at numerous points during the life of the company. Thus, it is essential to make sure you have partnered with the right freelancer to achieve the required objective.

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