Freelance Public Relations Job Contract Dos and Don'ts

Freelance public relations companies are exploding, as many organizations, companies and other entities are trying to save money by having talented freelancers take care of formerly in-house jobs. The freelance PR outfit has more flexibility to negotiate rates while providing creative public relations solutions. However, a solid and well-written contract is still a must for both client and provider. This article will offer some tips for creating strong contracts for freelance PR professionals.

Services Provided

The freelancer and client both need to know exactly what kind of services are being rendered in their relationship. This needs to be established as clearly as possible in a written contract. Will the PR person be providing written services, creating TV or radio PR spots, creating Internet PR services or a mixture of all the above? This needs to be spelled out in writing. A method for the client to measure results should also be set up. This may take some negotiation from both parties, but the result will remove any ambiguity from the relationship.


You will need to be quite careful in making any guarantees in writing. Once something is guaranteed in a contract, it must be provided. The client will want some assurance that he's getting what he's paying for, but the freelancer must also protect herself in case of unforeseen events. It might be best to guarantee that awareness of the client's product or service will be increased by the PR campaign but not to establish any "hard" numbers. Again, this is something that will need to be carefully negotiated before it is put on paper.

Terms of Payment

Specifics of payment must be set up in a contract to ensure that you'll be paid what you're worth. Establish what method you will be paid by, the time table in which the payment will be issued, and the amount of payment. You may want to set up specific amounts for specific projects. For example, a written press release will be worth "X" amount of dollars, while a video PR piece will be worth "Y" amount and so on. Set up if you will be paid on completion of all work or in installments while the work is ongoing. Be as specific as possible in setting up this part of the contract--it's common sense protection for you.


A good contract for a freelancer will also set up penalties if the client does not hold up his part of the bargain. For instance, if a payment is late or nonexistent, a specific amount should be set up as a fine. Remember, though, that penalties can go both ways. The client can set up a penalty for you if you are late or your work is not up to standards. The monetary amount of these penalties can also be negotiated.


This is an extremely important point, especially in the PR business. The client will likely have very private or sensitive information he does not want revealed to the public. This should be spelled out in the contract. Penalties can also be set up for revealing the information. This is something that will give the client peace of mind.