Posts about writing, travel, fashion, and my life.

How to woo me at CES

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER, and I have approximately 8,000 unread messages in my inbox. 7,999 of those messages are from PR people asking for CES meet-ups, inviting me to events, and pitching products (the other message is from my mom).

Yep, this is why I love tradeshows.  /sarcasm

Although I'm not really making appointments -- I learned my lesson about that during my first CES -- I do plan on stopping by several events/meet-ups/booths. Because I know PR people are dying to know the answer to the question, "What makes Sarah want to come to my event/meet-up/booth?" I've put together a handy guide to wooing me (and other journalists who are a lot like me) at CES.

If I drop by your event/meet-up/booth, THIS IS WHY:

1. You have food

I'm so easily bought with food, it's not even funny. But that's not just because I'm a sucker for food (I am), it's also because, at CES, I rarely have time to eat. I spend most of my time running around from booth to meeting to event to booth, and my only lunch option is standing in a line of 10,000 journalists. So I tend to gravitate toward free food, whether it's crackers or a gourmet spread. If you have free food, I'll definitely drop by. If you don't, I may skip you for that lunch line.

2. Your press kit is on a USB drive

Putting your press kit online is convenient for only one person -- you. Here's a little secret about CES: Only three people have reliable Internet access at any given time, and not one of those three people has decent enough Internet access to download your ultra-high-res photos. If your press kit is online, I will think twice about writing about your product and I will only include photos taken with my 1.3-megapixel phone camera.  So do me a favor and put those images on a nice little USB drive. And do not, for one second, think about putting it on a CD.

3. You provide transportation to your offsite meeting

No, I do not have time to hop in my car, drive across Vegas, and pay $40 for parking.

4. You have non-PR people at your booth

I didn't run all the way across the North Hall of the LVCC to listen to someone repeat a press release. I don't want to meet with you, PR person (no offense), nor do I want to meet with a random VP of your company. I want to meet with an engineer, a developer, or a designer.

5. You have a new product

Thinking of releasing something awesome in December? Don't do it! Wait for CES! If you're going to hound me for a meeting, you'd better at least have a new product -- or a new, amazing development for your old product -- to show off. iOS/Android compatibility does not count.

6. You do not call my phone

Some people like phone calls. I don't. I have a hard enough time slogging through emails and remembering the details -- if you call my phone (and happen to catch me for a conversation), I will immediately forget everything you say, probably as you are saying it. And if you call me at 7 a.m. on the first day of the show, I will remember your name for the sole purpose of hunting you down and killing you.

7. You do not have booth babes

I don't hate booth babes -- really, I don't. In fact, I probably have more in common with those girls than I do with many CES attendees. But if you have booth babes (or random models, or the winner of the Miss East Coast pageant), I will avoid your booth for the following reasons:

First, your product probably sucks. If it didn't suck, you would want people to look at it, and not at scantily-clad females.

Second, you are probably drawing a large crowd of random oglers. My main issue with oglers is that they get in the way. I don't have the time or energy to try to push my way through a giant crowd just to see what your product is/does.

Third, it is uncomfortable for all involved. Because I'm not a guy, I can't just creepily check the girls out. Instead we have to make awkward conversation ("I like your...earrings! Don't your feet hurt?") or just stare at each other like one of us has shown up to a cocktail party totally under-dressed.

8. You have a pre-briefing

At my publications, our CES stories are mostly due before CES even starts. You know what that means? It means that people who pre-brief have a huge advantage, in that they get written about. We do troll the floor for some news, but most of our stories have been written by Sunday. That doesn't mean you won't get coverage if you don't pre-brief, but it does mean that if I'm weighing my options between two similar products, the first one to get to me gets the write-up.

9. You do not email me a thousand times

I read the subject line of every email that hits my inbox. I may not reply right away (or at all), but that doesn't mean I missed it. I get that you want to follow-up -- and you should, once. Seriously, just once. If you email me more than twice about the same product, it will stick in my something to delete on sight.

10. You write the name of the product/company you represent on your card

You don't work for the company you're representing, you work for a PR firm. That's fine. I get that. But your card is completely useless to me if it only has the name of your PR firm on it.