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    Coffee with a Journalist: Kate Davis, Fast Company

    Kate Davis is a Fast Company Deputy Editor and the host of The New Way We Work podcast.

    During the episode, Kate talks about what it's like juggling multiple roles, her preferences for how to format subject lines, what you shouldn't be mentioning in pitches, and more.

     If you want to know more about her work, follow Kate on Twitter and LinkedIn.

    CWJ View Transcription CTA


    How to Build Rapport in Her Inbox

    [00:02:35] BB: Oh, okay. Yeah. You're masterful at this level, I would imagine. So for so many people who are listening here, they want to know, “Well, how do I get my email open, especially if I don't have a relationship with you?” What is it in the subject line that entices you?

    [00:02:51] KD: Yeah. So really clear what it is. So if it's an interview pitch, a pitch from a freelancer versus a pitch from a PR, if it's a pitch to be a guest on the podcast versus if it's an article pitch. Whatever the thing is, sometimes I'll see people put that write like whatever the thing is: "podcast guest suggestion: then what you're actually pitching." 

    "If it's a story idea, I love the headline of the story in the subject line. Because if you wrote a good headline of the story, then that's going to make me want to open it. Because just like if you write a good headline, you make me want to read it."

    [00:03:32] BB: So write the subject line, like the headline of the story. 

    [00:03:35] KD: Yep. 

    [00:03:36] BB: Oh. Now, people have not said that on here before. Some have said like, “Oh, just super clear. I just need it to be no gimmicky. Just cut and dry, that type of thing,” so okay. 

    [00:03:47] KD: Yeah. I think definitely what you're pitching, I will say,” Do you love the CEO of this company,” because I'm never going to do that. But I get that a lot, and those are easy to delete. Those are – I mean, it's also like if you know who you're pitching, right? Like I had Super Bowl stories. I don't write product roundup stories. I don't write about new TV shows. Like don't – I can tell when I'm on like a big mass dear media person list and easy delete.


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    Top Pitch Elements

    [00:06:30] BB: For you, what are maybe the three best elements of a pitch that you go "yes!"? 

    [00:06:57] KD: So like I said, the good subject line. I mean, if you're pitching an article, again, I guess it depends on what you're pitching. So if you're pitching an article, tell me what the possible headline is going to be. Tell me who you're going to talk to or what topical research you're going to reference, what value you're bringing, and a sentence or two on what it's about. We can include like about how long it would be, about when you could turn it around. But like something as to – Everybody knows this, right? The big thing for journalists is like why now? Like why now and why this?

    [00:07:31] BB: Yeah. Why does it matter? Which so often missed. Now, you just said there, and I, again, haven't heard this too often, the potential headlines, the actual headlines. So do you even like to see like, “Oh. Hey, Katie. This could look like A, B, or C,” as the headline. I mean, that's a little audacious I'd say. But does that help you kind of discern and see, “Oh, this is how this would look if we ran this.”?

    [00:07:53] KD: Yeah. I think so. I think a lot of people pitch on like, “Oh, I could talk on this topic or about these things.” Or, “Are you working on any stories about quiet quitting?” I mean, that's also like a big pet peeve, is like a thing is in the news, and then you try to shoehorn your way into it. 

    [00:08:09] BB: Way into the thing. Yeah. 

    [00:08:10] KD: But if you have like a unique perspective, like everybody's talking about it, it's been around for a long time, and here's my take on it, and here's why it's different, and here's the thing about this.

    "It kind of all boils down to something that's relatable but surprising. So like something where you hear it, and you're like, 'Oh, yes. That makes sense. But I had never actually thought of that or put it that way, or nobody had ever like articulated it.'” 

    So an example, and this was actually like an editor in a brainstorm the other day said, “Have you guys noticed that all the companies that are doing layoffs are laying off around like 6% of people?”


    Rapid Fire Pitching Preferences

    [00:15:23] BB: We do have a little rapid-fire section here, so video or phone interview?

    • KD: I don't care. I'm not going to look at the video. But I like things online because it's easy to record. But I don't need to look at myself.

    BB: Bullet points or paragraphs?

    • KD: Bullet points for quick glancing. 

    BB: Short or long pitches?

    • KD: Oh, short. 

    BB: Images attached or Dropbox zip file?

    • KD: I don't need images, unless I ask for them.

    BB: Pitches in the morning or the night? Or do you care?

    • KD: I might read them at night. It doesn't really matter. 

    BB: Email or Twitter DM?

    • KD: Email probably. 

    BB: One follow up or multiple? 

    • KD: Does anybody say multiple? Of course, just one. I know this is supposed to be rapid, but my biggest pet peeve is you send an email, you get my out of office that I'm on vacation, and I tell you what day I'm coming back. The next day you send it again. Then when I come back from vacation, you send it again. 
    • BB: God. Yeah. Does that happen? 
    • KD: Yes. Like I'm out until the 13th. Okay. On the 10th, I'm going to email you again. Then I'm going to email you again on the 13th. Then I'm going to email you again on the 14th.

    BB: Direct or creative subject lines? I know we've covered this, but just to put the record clear. 

    • KD: Yes. Direct. Give me who you are and what you're asking for in the headline.

    BB: Press release or media kit? 

    • KD: Usually neither, but press release, I guess. I mean, give me the information I need. Again, I kind of feel like I do about images. f I need other assets, I'll ask for them.



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    Kendall Aldridge

    Kendall began her journey at OnePitch as an intern in January of 2019 and is now the Marketing Manager handling all of the marketing efforts ranging from social media to content, and emails. She studied communications at San Diego State University and enjoys drawing, being outside, and practicing yoga in her free time.

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