We understand. You’re overwhelmed with information and nonstop technology. And every day you’re bombarded with more and more options.
Our editorial staff has always put great pride in our printed magazine, but we’ve recently beefed up our presence online to put resources at your fingertips - including a new industry portal, an improved Web site and several e-newsletters.
Because the way we supply information has changed dramatically, below we present eight new ways for you to stay informed:
1. Read Breaking NewsWhether you’re a leader in your company or headed up the ladder, getting information has never been easier. PM’s Web site, www.PMmag.com, is continuously updated throughout the day to give you the latest news.
Also, www.RadiantAndHydronics.com focuses on wet heat. Look for industry news, new products and events calendars, as well as John Siegenthaler’s popular The Glitch and The Fix series.
2. Build An Online CommunityWe’ve created the new site www.MyPlumbingPortal.com as a launching pad for news in the plumbing, heating, industrial PVF, K+B and fire protection industries. Among other benefits, the plumbing portal features web logs (blogs) from our editorial staff that invite reader commentary, and a special contractor forum to share your opinions.
Perhaps you’ve avoided places like YouTube, bulletin boards and blogs. But a huge benefit of an online community is free access to people just like you who already have tackled your challenges. Whether you are fixing a broken part, launching an initiative or revolutionizing your company, someone is waiting to tell you how they succeeded or, equally valuable, which pitfalls to avoid.
Another aspect of our online community is the ability to build your reputation. Community participants don’t want a sales pitch (spammer!), but they respect you for providing useful information and solving problems. Respect translates into trust, and trust translates into opportunities for your company.
MyPlumbingPortal.com also grants you access to special series of articles, such as Back To Basics, History Of Plumbing, and How-To Corner. Make this site your browser’s homepage and reap the benefits.
3. Send Updates Automatically To Your ComputerSign up for Real Simple Syndication (or RSS) feeds to assure you are automatically alerted whenever certain news breaks on our sites. Most Internet browsers host these keyword search engines, or aggregators. Checking them daily will keep you in-the-know.
Just click on the orange “RSS” box next to what interests you at our sites, and follow the instructions and walkthroughs to get you started.
4. Find Information FastIf you are even a teeny bit Web savvy, you’ve Googled something. But Google can be overwhelming. (We just typed in “sump pumps” and received 2.26 million sites in 0.16 seconds.)
A better option is “vertical search” - using the search functions of industry-specific Web sites. Niched sites are more targeted and eliminate fluff. Some, like BNP Media’s sites, license Google technology for speed, but limit the search to a highly defined universe of data, making your search vastly more efficient.
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. By registering for free at PMmag.com, you can search our editorial archives for columns, features and news dating back to the late-1990s. Including business tips from Frank Blau.
5. Product Information At Your FingertipsPM’s annual Brand Information Guide published every December also is posted online at PMmag.com. Print directories remain excellent resources, but online directories can be updated daily. Our online Brand Information Guide also includes links to supplier Web sites, spec sheets and even product videos.
Our online Ad Index and Reader Service Card lets you request information directly from product manufacturers. Click on the “Free Product Info” tab at PMmag.com.
6. Subscribe To e-NewslettersWe publish four contractor-focused e-newsletters that can be delivered right to your e-mail inbox twice each month.
7. Online Training And CertificationSister publication PM Engineer and John Siegenthaler have colloborated on a series of 90-minute webinars to present the latest concepts in modern hydronic heating system design for both residential and commercial hydronic heating systems.
Online training has come of age and keeps getting better. Early attempts at webcasts and webinars were clunky, strained affairs. Fuzzy images and lost connections were the norm. Today, high-speed connections, in-house projection, enhanced software, improved two-way communication, and experienced providers make Web-based training an engaging experience.
Got a question? Most webinars allow you to submit questions and answer them during a Q&A period.
Want a video clip or additional information on the webinar? Providers often include video links, which can be entertaining, and related Web sites so you can dig deeper.
Need proof of participation to qualify for CEUs? You might need to take a short quiz, but many webinars provide a link allowing you to print a course completion certificate.
8. Shop Online For Industry Business ToolsThe AECstore.com is owned by BNP Media and serves architecture, engineering and construction professionals, including many subcategories. It provides useful business tools via books, manuals, CDs/DVDs, software, and more.
Find books from Dan Holohan, such as the classic “The Lost Art Of Steam Heating”; and sizing software from John Siegenthaler.
Shopping the online AEC Store makes it easy for industry professionals to conduct one-stop shopping for all their educational, training or personal information needs. Save time by not searching bookshelves, but rather by clicking on a category specific to your needs.