Rachel McDougall

Crystal Clear Communications

After more than 20 years in a range of professional communications roles I decided to go out on my own in 2016 - in part to allow me to work flexibly around my two small humans, but also to finally feel in control of my own future.

I now head up Crystal Clear Communications, working with a select group of clients, primarily in the not for profit and health spaces, helping them to share their stories, amplify their messages, and maximise the potential of their businesses.

I have worked both client-side and agency-side in PR roles, so have a thorough understanding of what journalists look for when it comes to a newsworthy story, and I'm also keenly aware of how important it is for clients to be able to show a return on investment when it comes to PR - something that's less tangible and more difficult to measure than other business operations.

As a freelancer I'm able to provide a more nimble and agile service than many of the larger agencies, and pride myself on the strong relationships I build with my clients.

my core skills

Media relations

communications strategy

social media

copywriting

event management

Q & A

Whats the best thing to happen to you in your career to date?

Helping a not for profit client achieve 1999 media hits in one year - while I could have cried not to reach 2000, it was a pretty significant milestone for a small NFP in the health space.

What does a typical work week look like for you?:

Each week is very different depending on what client campaigns I'm working - some weeks I'm chained to the computer and phone for hours on end, and other weeks I'm out and about assisting with client shoots or media interviews. The only constant is coffee. Lots and lots of coffee ;).

Describe your working environment in a few sentences..

I work from my home office in the southern suburbs of Sydney, with my Lagotto Romagnolo puppy for company, my fave Spotify playlist blaring, and my kids' beautiful artworks adorning the walls.

What sets you apart from other freelancers in your industry?

Prior to launching Crystal Clear I worked for almost a decade as a Communications Manager for a NFP in the disability space - this experience gave me unique insights into what it takes to get the media interested in a story when you have a limited budget and limited resources!

What are the tools of your trade?

My media lists (MediaNet), my laptop, mobile phone and COFFEE MACHINE!

Do you collaborate with others? If yes, how does that works?

Yes, often. Sometimes I'll sub-contract to other agencies, or work collaboratively with other freelancers - recently I worked on a campaign with a freelance social media consultant and a freelance web developer and it was a fantastic collaboration.

Whats been the biggest freelancing lesson to date?

Don't say 'yes' to everything! In the early days I felt I had to take every job that came my way, but nowadays I'm more selective about what campaigns I work on. I need to believe in the organisation or product, and there needs to be a certain level of synergy for me to accept a new client.

I believe this selectivity actually makes my work more effective, as I truly believe in what I'm writing about and sharing with the media.