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How to Talk to Reviewers – A Manufacturer’s Primer

Talking to the press can be stressful. Steven Stone offers a couple of suggestions for your next foray into the jungle of journalism.


It’s come to my attention that many manufacturers are scared
shitless of reviewers. I can’t blame them, as a type, reviewers are scary
dudes. Not scary like any of them could rearrange your face, but intellectually
terrifying. Some. Not me. But if you want to be able to relate, I’ve prepared
some tips for how to get through a conversation with a reviewer, be it in
person or on the phone, without messing up. Here goes…

Rule 1 – Never Badmouth the Competition

It doesn’t matter if your (fill in the blank) beats the ever-loving
crap out of the market leader, never EVER say that to a reviewer. How do you
know for sure he didn’t review said product and LOVE IT. The proper thing to
say is ” I think our (fill in the blank) performs better than (fill in the
blank), and then go back to talking about your product, not talking smack.

Rule 2 – Never Badmouth the Competition

Let me belabor a point – it doesn’t matter if you know for a
fact that a particular component from a well-known manufacturer absolutely
sucks, it’s not, and never should be part of any conversation you have about it
with the press.  It’s the press’s job to
find out it sucks, without your help.

Rule 3 – Never Badmouth….you oughta know by now…

Rule 4 – Keep On Point

Before you pick up the phone or go to a trade show you
should have your “elevator pitch” in mind. While I would never suggest
inflicting a power point presentation on anyone, making one for yourself and
your marketing folks listing exactly what is new and special in both short and
long-form versions is a very useful tool.

If you’re at a show, don’t be afraid to ask a journalist
what their focus is, and if they would like a short or a more detailed demonstration.
A tight two-minute demo backed up by good documentation beats a rambling
five-minute life story every time…

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