What is a PR Contract?
A public relations contract is the formal written agreement between a PR freelancer/ agency and their client. A PR contract governs the business relationship and outlines responsibilities for all involved parties, as well as important deadlines and guidelines for the working relationship.
Benefits of Using a PR Contract
The following are the benefits of using public relations contract templates:
- Specifies the scope of the public relations work by drafting an opportunity for those in the business relationship to get on the same page
- Serves as an important reference if either party were to breach the agreement
- Outlines responsibilities of all the involved parties
- When the agreement is breached, it provides evidence to the harmed party to either terminate the contract or enforce it in a court of law.
- Clarifies and ensures stakeholder communication and rights
- Mentions milestones and deadlines in the PR contract templates
- Addresses dispute resolution mechanisms in case of jurisdiction that may be less favorable.
Using a PR Contract Template
Freelance PR or marketing consultants/ agencies and their clients can ensure transparent communication through a well-designed public relations contract template. It helps formulate win-win scenarios between the involved parties. Here's how to use the public relations contract template:
Launching a New PR Campaign
Launching a new public relations campaign involves strategically planned activities with a desired outcome in mind that may promote a positive image, increase sales, or foster goodwill.
The public relations contract can include announcing a new executive hire, a merger, or an acquisition, publicity campaigns such as promoting a product release, crisis management, and influencer collaborations for/or creating buzz before a big reveal.
The public relations campaign's common objective focuses on,
- Media attraction
- Promoting awareness
- Informing the involved party regarding the latest company updates
- Improving stakeholder relations
- Refining brand image & reputation
Engaging with a New Client
Engage and find out exactly what the client wants. Use your discovery call with the client to determine what is most important to them. This includes if they seek specific outcomes like a certain number of media interviews, coverage, or a specific timeframe for public relations services.
Most companies seek the same broad goals when outsourcing to a public relations services freelancer, like a positive image in the press and media interviews. However, the more you can discuss potential outcomes and how you can collaborate with the client, the better the chances of a happy client.
To get the specifics, ask questions like:
- What is the size of the market, and who are your competitors?
- Who is the audience you want to reach?
- What does success look like to you?
Redefining Scope of Work
It's like gathering materials and asking questions relating to project scope during the call so that you can document them in your notes and take reference from them again in account proposals and contracts. This defines the scope of services in the contract and can help address unseen opportunities to create new value.
You can ask:
- What have you achieved so far with public relations?
- What would be the most important 1-2 communication priorities for your business in terms of visibility in the next few months?
- What would be your dream media placement?
- How do you measure success with PR efforts?
Establishing Clear Deliverables and Milestones
Your conversation during the discovery call might alert you to the importance of setting expectations for the business relationship with the client. If the client seeks to obtain media interviews with national television programs but currently has little to no visibility at your contract effective date, you might not want to guarantee you can achieve that milestone.
Protecting Intellectual Property
Once you know what the client wants, explain the 'how' of the working/business relationship in the contract to showcase what sets you apart. This might be proprietary process access to your database of contacts or simply the systems and software you use behind the scenes to help accomplish the goals laid out in the scope of work.
Having this clause also identifies the parties of the security procedures that are in place to prevent unauthorized use or misuse of the IP(Intellectual Property) assets and protects intellectual property within the contract. Furthermore, remember any and all matters pertaining to wages, hours, terms and conditions of employment, and other mutually agreed-upon terms is subject to negotiation.
Integral Components of a PR Contract
For a successful public relations agreement, the PR contract should always specify the terms of the working arrangement, the fees to be paid, and how disputes or other such problems will be handled. Following are 7 essential components of the PR contract that binds both parties to the agreement and assists with all the above terms.
Ensure that the involved parties are mentioned in the public relations contract template, whether it is handled by the client or another third party. The primary purpose of identifying the parties involved is to get all parties on the same page about the working arrangement and states obligations of each.
This also gives the freelancer some freedom from worrying about being held up by any third parties who have not fulfilled their responsibilities. It also distinguishes between parties in a promisor and a promisee.
Scope of Services
The scope of services section of the agreement includes the basis of the relationship, whether it's a one-time project or an ongoing retainer situation with potential customers. The scope of work covers:
- The name of the freelancer or PR agency and the names of the clients/their company
- The volume of work, whether that's hours per week/month or milestones
- The costs for services, including how any additional work not scoped in the contract will be requested and/or paid for by the client
- What the freelancer is responsible for
- Explanations of key terms like "awareness", "visibility", "media coverage," and "media relations."
- Explanations of anything that is limited, like the amount of time the consultant will spend on calls consulting clients each month
- How the freelancer incorporates client feedback within the work
Clients seek out help with public relations services to improve the visibility of their business and domain authority in their area of expertise. Common PR services include event coverage, general social media PR needs, and pitching and media placements.
Deliverables and Milestones
Ensure the contract details the deliverables in clear words. 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.
Ensure that you analyze the tasks you are required to carry out and let the client know how long it will take you to complete them. If the working arrangement is for a limited time or requires completion of milestones by set-in-stone dates, that information should be listed in the public relations contract template. For instance, you can include bands of time, such as "within the first month" or "in 1-2 months" to allow some room for unforeseen issues.
For example, if a PR consultant or freelancer provides a book launch service, the date of the book launch should be explained in the contract, as well as any other key dates in accordance with a publisher's deadlines or the client's wishes. Furthermore, if a client is signing a contract in advance to hold their spot, the PR contract should list the date on which the contract will be active.
Compensation and Payment Terms
Ensure that the contract has terms of payment mentioned clearly, as they are one of the most important aspects of any contract signed with a company or other party. It's in good business form to capture these details upfront. Without clearly explaining your payment terms and getting the client to agree in writing, you will default some clients to their existing company payment terms, such as paying after a project is completed or paying by check within 90 days.
When it comes to payment terms, consider including verbiage such as:
- If you require payment through ACH or credit
- If payment is required upfront, through a series of milestones, or spread throughout the project
- The deadline the client has from receiving your invoice to submitting payment, such as 14 days
In addition, If you do provide guarantees, your contract should specify the terms of the guarantee as explicitly as possible. For example, you might include in your statement of work a section like this:
"Freelancer will write two press releases per month for the client, guaranteeing that at least one of them is picked up by a national newswire. If the newswire does not pick up the press release, the client will be refunded 10% of their retainer expense." You can outline this in your PR contract as well.
Duration and Term of Contract
The period through which a contract is effective is called contract duration. The primary purpose of establishing the contract duration is to let the involved parties know when the responsibilities and obligations outlined within a contract will begin and end.
- The services are charged appropriately
- Better management of contract renewals and extensions
Make sure the contract includes confidentiality clauses; it helps to ensure that the parties involved can be trusted and the contract information will not be disclosed to any third party. The confidentiality clause in the agreement should include a clear definition of the confidential information and addresses the indemnification of a breach of the terms of the PR contract.
Intellectual Property Rights
As a freelancer or agency owner in the trade of public relations, there are many ways to set yourself apart from the competition; this is known as your unique value proposition. If you're stuck on what makes you stand out, look back at past testimonials from other businesses you have worked with or ask previous clients for testimonials.
Here are a few other ways you can make a real impact on your potential clients in your public relations contract and proposals:
- Ability to communicate well or guaranteed fast response times
- Willingness to think outside the box
- Familiarity with emerging new media trends
- Sliding scale fees based on results
- Monthly or weekly reports shared with the client
- Particular expertise in an industry
Ideally, you will already have told the client about these unique differentiators in your proposal, but it helps to highlight them again in your contract. Seeing all the benefits or ease of working with you can increase the chances they will sign the contract.
Furthermore, once the contract is made with all the above important points included, it still needs revision afterwards. This ensures that all terms of the contract are fair, enforceable, and properly documented.
Generating a foolproof and everything-included PR contract can become a daunting task, which is why it's best to employ one that's pre-made. Bonsai, a smart business tool, comprises 500+ customizable FREE templates for contracts, invoices, proposals, and more.
Types of PR Contracts
There are 4 types of PR contracts, each serving different purposes. Know which of these is best suited for your business.
- Retainer-Based Contracts
Retainer-based contracts are a work-for-hire legal contract or a service agreement between a company or an individual and a client. In this contract, the agency is paid upfront and agrees to be available for and provide services to a client at an agreed fee over a certain period of time.
- Project-Based Contracts
A project-based contract is tailored for filling short-term positions without the hassle of hiring full-time employees. This contract's purpose is to outline the obligations, duties, and expectations of the project, as well as protect both the legally involved parties mentioned in the agreement.
- Event-Specific PR Contracts
An event-specific contract is a legally binding agreement that explicitly lays out the terms and conditions of agreement between the involved parties while receiving/delivering goods or services to coordinate in the event. Apart from all the integral components of PR contracts, the event-specific contracts also include the cancellation policy (if), for some reason, the client calls the event off.
- Product Launch Contracts
Product launch is a process in which a new product or service is brought to market, and the product launch contract is like the marketing agreement that ensures a flawless marketing plan for the launching product.
How to Use the PR Contract Template
Since the PR contract template comprises all the basic elements in their rightful places, all you
require is to amend and edit the contract template to suit your needs. Here's how:
Understand the Basics of PR Contracts
Make a list of all the basic components required for the agreement, including the legal names of both the parties and the third parties involved, terms, payment terms, deadlines, and other important clauses. This helps narrow down the template choice.
Download the Right Template
Choosing the right template can be daunting. However, one simple way is to narrow down your needs, as mentioned in the previous point. Once done with the step, search for a suitable PR contract template to download from a user-friendly platform offering easy-to-use and customized templates, such as HelloBonsai.
Download our PR Contract Template now to guarantee clarity in your client collaborations.
Customize the Template to Fit Your Needs
When looking for the template, make sure the user-friendly platform offers highly customizable templates that guide you through the personalization process, allowing you to input project-specific details with ease.
Define the Scope of Work Clearly
The scope of services section ensures transparent communication through the contract with regards to your business relationship with clients. Although most templates will cover this, it's always important to confirm whether the public relations contract template you've chosen comprises this part before you settle for it. In case your PR agreement template doesn't have this, you can opt for another template or simply fix it in the one you have.
Set Compensation and Payment Terms
This is one of the most vital sections to include in your PR contract. Therefore, explain your payment terms comprehensibly. The payment terms include the 'how' and 'when' the payments will be made, as well as the other related terms and clauses such as cancellation fees.
Outline Duration and Termination Clauses
Whether the PR contract is long-term or short-term, it is necessary to set the duration of the contract and the termination clause. This clause also explains the conditions, factors, and cancellation fee for early termination of the contract's effective period.
Crafting Your Winning PR Contract Template
All things considered, Following are two points to take extra note of when crafting a winning PR contract template.
Identifying Key Terms and Conditions for the Contract
This section basically sets the rules and guidelines that the parties involved must agree to and follow, as well as ensure transparency and certainty, which reduces the risk of disputes between the parties involved. It also covers other fundamental terms and conditions, such as ensuring the contract has provisions for termination, payment terms, deadlines and milestones, and more.
Establishing an Effective Date for the Contract Agreement
An effective date specifies when an agreement or transaction between one or more parties becomes legally binding, and the terms outlined in the contract begin to apply. The inclusion of an effective date in the contract serves an essential purpose; it signifies the point from which parties need to begin and fulfill what they are obligated to under the contract.
Each business is unique, and for a freelancer, drafting a public relations agreement may seem daunting; for this reason, making use of the technology available to us is vital. This will allow you to work smarter and faster instead of worrying over the laborious administrative and repetitive task of building an entire agreement from scratch.
Technology such as the Bonsai software, which comprises 100+ contract templates, enables you to dedicate your efforts to your actual work. That being said, creating your own public relations contract template with Bonsai is easy and has multiple benefits:
- Our tool guides you through the creation process, providing you with editable inputs to build your PR contract template with ease.
- A contract template that is drafted by you is much more likely to favor your interests than one a client's legal team has created for you to sign.
- You immediately claim credibility and professionalism to provide public relations services by having a branded contract ready to go after your proposal is accepted.
- You can remove elements not relevant to your services from a template public relations agreement and customize others.
- You don't need to hire an attorney to draft the entire agreement since a contract template will include all the most important written elements pre-loaded for you.
Note: If you're ready to start editing your PR contract template for free, just sign up here, and you'll have your watertight documents ready in minutes.
Where Can I Find a Reliable PR Contract Template?
HelloBonsai, a freelancer's trusted and reliable assistant, offers over 100 easy-to-use and legally verified contract templates in PDF or Word format. You can sign up here to make use of their FREE and easily customizable templates to build contracts based on projects, job type, and country.
Is a Digital Signature Sufficient for a PR Contract?
A contract requires signatures for it to become valid until its termination. And about digital signatures, that depends on the terms of the proposing party. If the contract is not subjected to specific requirements, then yes you can execute a contract using an electronic signature.
Can I Customize a PR Contract Template to Fit My Specific Needs?
Yes, the PR contract templates can be personalized to suit your specific needs. Bonsai contract templates cover all of the basics while also allowing room for customization based on the needs of each client.