Broadcaster shares tips on engaging with the public

FREDA Liu, once a public relations consultant and now a broadcaster, is convinced that Malaysians have the entrepreneurial spirit to be global players.

In her first book, PR YOURSELF: Red Lipstick and Amazing Shoes, to be launched soon, Liu does not mince her words.

“There are two ways of looking at it. How can you do public relations on your own is one side of the story and you must also understand why it is important.

“If you can’t do it on your own, solicit the help of professionals,” Liu said.

She has spent more than a decade in the communications industry with experience in international public relations consultancy Edelman PR Worldwide and IBM in Malaysia and across the Asia-Pacific.

“My book, which is 150 pages long, is about relating and connecting to the public. In the early days, it was merely about the media, promotions and events. It was engaging but somewhat one-directional.

“You cannot wait for the media to find you; you need to make yourself be seen and heard,” she said.

Liu explained that if you want to get your story in the media, you should know how it relates to the audience and humanise it while aligning it to the brand.

“Be sure you are heard at least twice a month in the traditional and new media. If you blog, try to blog at least once a week but I would recommend twice a week,” she said.

One of the most challenging aspects in business is getting to the heart of why we do things, Liu said, adding that it was the same with public relations.

“How do you develop a PR plan? First, be heard and be heard constantly. A lot of times, companies start off on a high, get into the swing of things and then, silence prevails. Like cash flow, PR needs to be consistent.”

When you try to brand yourself, Liu said news conferences should be used cleverly.

“Not everything warrants a news conference. Firstly, it costs a lot of money and secondly, if it is not newsworthy, the media might not come for the next one,” she explained.

According to Liu, if a company wants to hire a PR agency, it should do so early and not wait for a crisis.

“Precious time will be wasted trying to explain the industry and deal with the heat during a crisis,” she said.

Several corporate leaders were given a preview of the book and many of them commended the effort.

Leaderonomics CEO Roshan Thiran said the book was spot on.

“Everyone is a brand. In this delightfully witty book, Liu leverages on several years as a professional PR leader. It is easy reading and makes branding and PR simple and actionable for everyone,” he said.

In the closing pages of her book, Liu gives burgeoning young entrepreneurs a chance to share their thoughts and success stories.

Cupcake Chic’s Joanne Ho related her experience of trying to reach out to her customers using social media.

“Five years ago, I had close to 100,000 Facebook followers. I leveraged on the online presence through word of mouth because we did not have an advertising budget.

“We relied a lot on social media and generated news that the media would pick up,” Ho says in the book.

Liu will be signing copies of her book at the Popular outlet in Ikano Power Centre at 3pm on Oct 20.

http://www.thestar.com.my/Business/SME/2013/10/17/Broadcaster-shares-tips-on-engaging-with-the-public/?style=biz