Michael Toebe is a communication and PR freelance consultant based in the USA. He started as a journalist before becoming a freelance writer and later deciding to use his skills to help organisations achieve their brand-building goals. He is now specialised in crisis management and brand reputation management, a very specific branch of PR. We've asked him a few questions about his career and how he ended up in a career as a Freelance PR. Read his answers!
1. Tell us about you and your professional background
I am a communications solutions professional, specializing in reputation and crisis, serving organizations and individuals. I have a background in freelance public relations, media relations, crisis communications, crisis management and reputation. I also consult and coach.
2. How did you get into PR and ultimately become a freelancer?
3. What services do you generally provide your clients?
Crisis communications, crisis management, reputation protection, restoration or rebuild.
4. How do you find new clients?
This is not the million dollar question but instead, the billion dollar question. It's proven to be a bear of a process for me. I pitch corporations, talent agents, politicians, sports and entertainment, speaking to what makes me unique and to any competitive advantage I believe I offer to them,
5. What’s the piece of work you’re proudest of?
To me, the educational part, where clients are not just benefiting from services but also realizing the wrong turns they took, learning from them and feeling empowered they will overcome the current reputation crisis and not repeat it. Some recent memories have been working with individuals whose misbehaviour harmed their reputation, careers, finances and mental and physical health, who I was able to help start the repairs and road back to trust and credibility.
6. What has been the biggest challenge in your freelance career so far?
I had to think about this question for all of one second. Sales. My near-fatal flaw.
7. What makes you keep doing it? What do you love about what you do?
My love for the research, evaluation, problem-solving, communications and helping organizations and people go from the valley to a better place, helping them navigate dangerous "waters."
8. What are your top tips for aspiring PR consultants?
Obviously, become great at PR, reject arrogance, be open to learning, choose to build a network of people in the field to learn from, and be sure you have a sound grasp of marketing and sales, for, without sales, it is a painful road.
9. What average rate do you charge your clients?
It varies. While I often price by the results I bring, not by time expenditure, quoting a fixed rate, when I am requested to quote an hourly rate, I usually will, depending on the scope of the project and the expectations, I will price it between $ 75 - $ 125 dollars per hour.