How has new media affected the ability to get my messages out in ways that best suit my audience?
Most are familiar with new-media tactics being effectively leveraged by tech marketing and PR pros across the globe. They include blogs, podcasts, Webcasts, e-mail, and wikis.
"But while we currently have more technology choices than ever before," says Colleen Edwards, president and CEO of The PowerMark Group, "PR is still all about relationships with flesh and blood people."
So, putting technology aside, while some constituents have changed how they prefer to receive information, she adds, everyone deserves practice of the golden rule - which is to treat people exactly like you would want to be treated.
"If we can facilitate the delivery of timely, honest, and complete information from people in the know, and if we put ourselves in our audience's shoes before communicating with them, we can't help but succeed," Edwards notes.
So while "new media" will always be different as time progresses, if you resolve to live the golden rule in your PR tactics, Edwards says you will always be right on target.
Should I use the Internet to conduct employee surveys within my company?
Anonymity is often vitally important if you want to collect honest, unbiased feedback from employees, stresses Jared Heyman, founder of Infosurv.
"A well-designed online employee survey, coupled with insightful analysis, is a good starting point to develop an internal communications tool," he adds. "[This can help] to deal with difficult issues like downsizing, mergers, corporate reorganization, and benefit changes, as well as securing management support for future programs."
To maximize the perceived anonymity of a survey, it is a good idea to hire a full-service employee survey firm, Heyman suggests. You should make clear in all survey-related communications that it is an independent, third-party research company that stakes its reputation on protecting survey-respondent anonymity.
Employees are often more comfortable completing surveys online rather than via paper because their handwriting is not on the survey.
"You should also avoid asking respondents to provide any information that uniquely identifies them, such as their employee or Social Security number," Heyman advises.
What are some innovative ways to use social bookmarking?
Social bookmarking services are a way for people to store and manage bookmarks of Web pages on the Internet.
"They can be used to create a Web portfolio," says Amanda Gravel, account coordinator at of Shift Communications, "and act as a place where an interested follower, client, friend, or employer can easily see what you do on the Web in an easy, convenient format."
You can tag your social profiles and some of your favorite blog posts, as well as content peers have created about you.
"Notes under each link can also give a taste of what is tagged and why the link is meaningful to your Web identity," Gravel notes.
It is important to remember to include content other than your own. Including what other people say about you provides a clearer picture of your personality.
"This lets potential employers, new friends, and content consumers truly get an idea of who you are," says Gravel.
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firstname.lastname@example.org. Please contact Beth Krietsch if you are interested in contributing to PR Toolbox or to suggest ideas for future columns.