We get press releases daily from companies who want to tell our audience about new products, initiatives and corporate changes. We value these press releases and we use them … as background material.
A few years ago, we stopped the practice of copy-and-paste press releases on equipmentworld.com for a simple reason: it doesn’t help our audience.
Press releases serve many masters, including product engineers, marketers, executives, and yes, the legal department (and clear communication is not at the top of law school curriculums). Because of this, they can be rife with say-nothing quotes, ambiguities and the overuse of the word “unique.”
All of that aside, however, it’s just plain silly not to make use of the combined 75-plus years of experience of our editorial team when putting information out. This site is not a secondary, subsidiary check-it-out-if -you–have-time platform for us. It is instead our core information tool. Why would we use it as an unedited press release dumping ground?
While we love communicating the latest and greatest, it’s not our editorial responsibility to be the marketing arm of manufacturers. Our duty instead is to you, Dear Reader. When we act like a megaphone reproducing exactly what manufacturers say everyone misses out, including manufacturers.
Take for example Tom Jackson’s story on the steel-track Cat 299D compact track loader, a machine introduced at a Caterpillar press event in September. While everyone was dutifully taking down what the product people were saying, Tom saw much more. He’s interviewed dozens of contractors, and in turn heard dozens of stories how contractors started off with one truck, one machine. In Tom’s opinion, with just three attachments the 299D could give wanna-bes the ability to launch a one-person owner-operator business. “Get a dually to pull it, and you’re ready to start making money,” he says.
Because it was directed to a general audience, there was nothing about this aspect of things in the press release, which naturally focused on features and benefits. If Tom had just shot out the press release in his initial web report, nothing there could have sparked a reader’s entrepreneurial spirit. And that’s a shame for everyone.
Our editors provide context to what’s being said whether in print or on the web. We help sort out the important from the not so important, tell you if a machine feature addresses an industry problem and link to related content … all things that give you a fuller picture. And next month we’ll debut an industry-first machine series contractors have requested for as long as I’ve been here.
This is part of our quest to give you a solid base of information before making an equipment decision. It’s our job.