Securing a new client is always a cause for celebration. It’s exciting to have some new business, and to have a chance to work with a great new brand. There is so much possibility to launch an amazing campaign and get great results. Before you get started though, there are a few things you need to do first to make sure everyone is on the same page and you get set up for a long and happy working relationship.
Sit down together and write down goals and wishes. It’s important to know exactly what the client wants from you and have concrete goals in mind when you’re starting out. You can also set some goals that you have for the relationship- they don’t have to all come from the client. Perhaps you have some ideas that you would like them to carry out that you know would help through your PR campaign, or you have some ideas of ways you would like to promote them that they won’t have thought of. Bring it all to the table at this point so they remember why they hired you and can get excited for what you will offer them. Write everything down so you can use it in your planning process and also to look back on months down the road to gauge your success.
Also set reasonable expectations together. It’s important to set expectations at the beginning so that both sides know what they can look forward to and what they can hope for from the other. Sometimes clients have very high expectations, which can be OK, but some can be impossible to obtain. You don’t want to promise anything that is not realistic. Of course nothing is guaranteed in PR, but there are certain things that you generally know you can and can’t deliver upon. It’s ok to have some reaches as long as you all know it is a long shot- I’m all for trying for something bigger than you’ve ever achieved before, but make sure the client knows that it’s above and beyond the norm. It’s always better to under promise and over deliver than over promise and be unable to deliver expected results.
Sign an agreement. You may love your new client and already have a great relationship with them. They may even be your best friends. It doesn’t matter. Whenever you start a business relationship you must put agree on a contract of some kind. It can be as casual or as official as you’d like, but make sure it clearly states what is expected of both parties and what the terms of payment will be. State how much and when you will be paid, and if there will be any extra fee for late payments. Include a clause about the process for how a contract can be ended early. You never know. If you’re drawing the agreement up yourself have a lawyer or at least someone with a strong business background look it over for you. You can also find official contract templates online.
Figure out how you will communicate. You may spend so much time thinking about the communications strategy that you forget to even think about communicating with the client. This is a good thing to think about at the very beginning so everyone knows how it will work on a day to day basis once you get started working together. Start by figuring out what the client prefers. Feel free to offer your preferences as well, since you know how you work best, but keep in mind that each client is different and they will have different expectations. Some will want to be in constant contact, with daily emails and the desire to pick up the phone and call you whenever something crosses their mind. Some will want you to be able to work entirely independently with just a weekly or monthly check in. Make sure you know what they want and even wr
Plan, plan, plan. Now for the fun part! The next most important thing to do after getting a new client is to plan the communications strategy and all the aspects of the PR plan for the coming months, and then launch and execute the campaign. Make sure to create a detailed and thorough plan and discuss it with the client so that they know what you will be working on and what is needed from them. This plan will be your day to day guidebook of what to do for each client and will help you keep on track and make sure you reach all the goals you set out at the beginning. It can and should be updated from time to time, but in general you should stick to this.ite it down so you remember and have it in writing for the future. This way there can never be an issue of over or under communicating with them because you will stick to what they asked for at the beginning.
Getting started with a new client is exciting. Everyone has different processes and different preferences for how to integrate a new client, but these are certain things you should always do to make sure you cover the basics at the beginning and start off on the right foot.