This article was originally published within our HI-Fi '98 Special Show Site. Since it has such good advice and was helpful for that show, we thought it relevant to reprint it for this show.
How to Win Friends and Influence Reviewers
By Greg Smith
As I look over my portion of the SoundStage! CES '98 report, I note that some manufacturers received better coverage than others. While some of this was based on merit, in that some rooms had products that caught my attention more than others and thus elicited more comments, that's certainly not the whole story. There were rooms I didn't enjoy visiting that nonetheless have extensive commentary. How did this happen? Their sponsors made it easy to write about the displays. By the end of the show I was very tired of beating information out of manufacturers who didn't seem to understand how to prepare for the onslaught of press, so I thought I'd share some of the secrets to getting proper attention for your room from those preparing show reports.
SoundStage! is in an interesting spot right now. Some companies, recognizing us as cool cutting-edge guys carving out a unique identity among audio magazines, paid lavish attention to our reviewers. I know at one point I personally received a powerful bribe in the form of a can of Coke, a rare and valuable find in a Pepsi-centric place like the Alexis Park. Other manufactures didn't care diddley-squat about any of those Internet magazines. My favorite moment: When I tried to start up a conversation in one area, I was hushed. A crooked finger pointed toward the inner sanctum of the listening room, and the stern warning "There's a reviewer in there!" issued forth. Hey, buddy, I immediately thought, there's a reviewer out here too. But I digress. Regardless of how well received those who visit you are, it should be possible for them to gather what they need to know to report on your room without even speaking with anyone. In order to do this, I suggest a number of things, listed in order of increasing difficulty:
If all the companies exhibiting at a show followed the suggestions I mentioned, they'd be guaranteed not only better press reception but more receptive listeners. Easily available price sheets everywhere would let people--press, dealers, and consumers--better focus on the rooms they visited, with less time spent listening to things that in the end they weren't interested in. What's the sense in having dealers or distributors listen to your $20,000 speakers if all they're looking for are $2,000 ones? Putting a little time into preparing the right literature to give out and the right display to use lets you improve efficiency for everyone.
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