Onliners, let me ask you this:
What do you do when you receive a press release?
Do you simply cut and paste to your site?
Or do you read through it, clean up whatever grammatical issues and passive voice and overall jauntiness there is, and add your own touch to it, while properly attributing it to the person or organization who sent it?
Some bloggers and dot-commers have found their voices and have thrived in the brave world of the Internet, and they’ve utilized those press releases as a starting point for some great work. Others are still cutting and pasting, either not having enough time to sit down and go through the process of writing and personalizing … or just thinking that, hey, this press release will serve my readers.
Chances are, your cut-and-paste may just cause someone to long to stab their eyes out with a pair of scissors. Probably those same scissors you just cut and pasted with.
Public relations firms and publicists aren’t sending out instant copy. They are delivering a message that you need to further by researching it, reporting on it and maybe finding out something different than its original intention.
The journo-PR professional relationship can be a symbiotic one, not an adversarial one. The next time you receive a press release, think about what you can do to create your own message, in sync with and building on the message that’s being given to you. Help the organization that’s helping you. If you have questions, pick up the phone and call the point person on the release. Build that relationship, too.