In my business (ThinkComputers) I am constantly dealing with people. Every time you see a new review I’ve had to talk to someone at that company in order for them to send it to me. Well sometimes things just show up, but not that often. Most of my contact is done through e-mail, but I also talk to some people on the phone, especially when I want something specific. When I call them on the phone they know I mean business!
The thing about most of these PR people is that they just think you are some “kid” running a website. Over the 6 years I’ve been running ThinkComputers I have been turned down plenty by many companies. Even now I still am, but not that often. A lot of PR people will just never e-mail you back. Yes I’m serious, I guess it’s their easy way of not saying yes or no, but also PR people get tons of e-mail each day so answering every e-mail is kind of hard. So how do I get these companies to sponsor ThinkComputers? Meet them in person!
Once a year I travel to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). CES is HUGE! Anyone that has anything to do with technology is there. You will find all types of things from computers to massage chairs there. It is where most companies showcase what they will be releasing in the upcoming year. CES is great for coverage articles, but it’s really good for making new contacts and meeting sponsors. I try to fill up all of my days with meetings. Some meetings are with my current sponsors and some are with new companies that don’t know me.
When you meet people they can finally put a face to the name and unless you’re a jerk they will most likely send you something out to review. There are a few companies that sponsor ThinkComputers now that I would have never imagined would, but because of meeting them in person they are now sponsoring ThinkComputers. Also the same PR people that would ignore your e-mails are now e-mailing you about new products. The main reason for this is that they know you are serious about your website. Going to Vegas for a week is not cheap, so they know you have spent some money to get there.
Some people that I know say that going to CES is a waste of time. Well my first year we got a Slashdot for one of our coverage articles, then a few months later we received a product which our review also made the front page of Slashdot. The company we received the product from we met at CES. The revenue from those 2 days paid for the entire trip. This year at CES one of our articles made the front page of Digg and just the revenue from that article alone paid for the trip! Even if you don’t get any big stories if you meet people and they send you product throughout the year that is essentially money because if you are not posting reviews then you are not making money.
So in any business I believe that it is better to meet people so they know who you are and what you are all about. They know you are serious about what you do and will be more willing to help you out if you need it.