Point of Beginning

Editor's Points-Online outlets.

September 1, 2007


About a decade ago, the “dot.com era” introduced a slew of new Internet-related companies--and in short time--a bust for many of those companies.

During and even after that time, circles spoke of print dying out to Internet offerings. A few magazines turned to Web-only publishing (which I don’t believe fared all that well). Other circles condemned such discussion, believing that a physical publication could never be substituted.

Today both print and Web are what readers and consumers want. But we are sensitive to the fact that you are overwhelmed with information and nonstop technology. As a customer-focused media company, we are committed to delivering information in ways that will make your job easier and more efficient. You can thrive by strategically managing how and when you receive information. Here’s how:

1. Online Training and Certification. Today, high-speed connections, in-house projection, enhanced software, improved two-way communication and experienced providers make Web-based training an engaging experience. Most Webinars allow you to submit questions that are answered during a Q&A period. Many providers include video links and related Web sites so you can dig deeper. And for those seeking CEUs, many Webinars provide a link allowing you to print a course completion certificate. Challenge your staff to use Webcasts instead of costly travel and you’ll improve training.

2. Online Community. A huge benefit of online community is free access to people just like you who have already tackled your challenges. Many sites also offer video that shows you how to do it. POB’s notable RPLS.com community is often the first place surveyors go to seek advice or to share news. Our online quick polls at www.pobonline.com also provide readers with tabulated perspectives on particular topics relevant to the profession.

Online communities can aid in building reputations. Community participants don’t want a sales pitch, but they respect you for providing useful information and solving problems. Respect translates into trust, and trust translates into opportunities for your company. Find trustworthy bulletin boards like RPLS.com, blogs and communal spaces that focus on your industry. You’ll benefit by engaging with sharp-minded, impassioned participants.

3. Information With Lightning Speed. If you are even a bit Web savvy, you’ve googled something--but Google can be overwhelming when you pull up 101,234 results. A better option is vertical search--using the search functions of industry-specific Web sites. Niched sites are more targeted and eliminate fluff. Some license Google technology for speed but limit the search to a highly defined universe of data, making your search vastly more efficient. Visit the top Web sites in your field and bookmark those providing the best search results.

4. Online Directories. Online directories like POB’s GeoLocator are great solutions when you need specific items to complete a project. Most allow you to enter a company name, product category or a brand, and then provide a defined list. And while print directories remain excellent resources, online directories can be updated daily. Online directories also include links to supplier Web sites, spec sheets and even product videos. Keep your print directories handy and visit their online versions for even more updated and comprehensive information.

5. Breaking News. Avoid news overload by focusing on Web sites, e-newsletters and RSS feeds that best meet your needs and unsubscribe from the rest. Many Web sites are updated daily (while others languish for weeks). Electronic newsletters like POB’s eNews offer a big advantage because they come to you. E-newsletters have proliferated, so focus on those that provide truly useful industry information. Real Simple Syndication (RSS) is a way to assure you are alerted whenever certain news breaks on the Web. RSS requires you to sign up for a reader and select the topics you want. Those articles collect until you access them.

6. In-depth Content. While the Web is fantastic for immediacy, it is equally strong in providing content that will help you obtain comprehensive knowledge, perspective and leadership skills. Archived articles stored on industry Web sites allow concentrated study of a topic or in-depth analysis of an expert’s opinions. White papers allow you to read thoughtful analysis on new products and procedures, often complete with statistics and projections. Syndicated research can help you maintain a high level of expertise on a topic or industry, and provides insight for strategic planning. Search Web sites for meaty data and expertise. If required, register to gain access to highly valuable information that others may miss.

7. Online Business. Many companies now require online purchase orders, applications, designs, specifications, bids, change-orders, credit checks and payments. Become e-commerce savvy; promote your company as Web-friendly, making sure your Web site is customer-driven, and you will be rewarded.

To contact the editor, send an e-mail to hohnerl@bnpmedia.com.