Yay! You’ve secured a new client! That’s super exciting. Now what to do next? It’s easy to jump the gun and get excited and start pitching right away. STOP! You need to refrain yourself and set a few ground rules for you and your client. Setting some ground rules ahead of time will save you a lot of time a headache in the end.
Contracts & Terms of service first. Don’t agree to anything or do anything without a contract first. A contract and terms of services are great starting points to see what you are willing and required to do. Make sure you outline all your terms and services in your contract and your client agrees on your terms.
Get payment up front! Payment upfront is a must! Yes, this may make some clients uncomfortable, but it is important you set standards on payment right away. You can decide upon full payment up front of you can do half payments bi-weekly. Just a note, in your contract, outline your clients billing cycle. This way the know their payment dates. I.E. The easiest dates for payment are the 1st or last of the month. Or the recurring date of the day they signed their contract. Asking for your payment upfront shows that you mean business.
Establish the preferred forms of communication. Does your client prefer email correspondence or phone calls? Figure out the best way to communicate with your clients and keep it consistent. For example; a conference all every two weeks with email correspondence and a weekly update email. Figure out the perfect equation for your client.
Determine who will do what. Will you be pitching to press? Or will the both of you share the duties? Who will be sending samples? This is critical and important information. You need to know who will dawn each task Most PR firms or freelancers prefer to have the samples on hand to send when necessary. Work those details out to determine who will do what.
Client check ups. When will you be reporting back to your clients with stats and updates? Will it be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly? Establish this and make a note to your client, so they are aware of when they can expect a progress report from you.
Just a note; Good News Notes happen as press mentions come in.
Remind your client what PR is. Sounds simple enough but a lot of the time we (us PR folk) forget that not everyone totally understands PR. Your client may not understand exactly what PR is all about and what it entails. PR is NOT GARUENTEED! Please ensure you relay this to your client. Let them know you will do your best and will take every measure possible to put their name out there. Remember, you are not paying for ad space in magazines or online. You are pitching for essentially free publicity. So again, it is not guaranteed!