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    Coffee with a Journalist: Jillian Wilson, HuffPost

    Jillian Wilson is the wellness reporter at HuffPost. She’s written for The Philadelphia Inquirer, HuffPost, and even had a brief stint as an intern for a PR agency.

    During the episode, Jillian talks about searching her inbox for past pitches, why she enjoys virtual coffee meetings with sources, how you can format subject lines like a headline, and more.

     Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

    Click below to listen to the full conversation and read below for highlights from the interview:

    CWJ View Transcription CTA


    How to Build a Relationship with Her

    [0:05:38] BB: Tell me this for people who maybe don't live in Philadelphia, of course, but they want to know you or meet you? How do they build a relationship with you?

    [0:06:01] JW: Yes, so I love having relationships with the PR people I work with. I think it's so valuable for both of us, and I realized that everyone works hard in their job, and everyone deserves that attention. So I love having relationships with people I work with. I've had virtual coffees with people in cities, in LA, in New York when I am not able to meet them face to face. I have also had coffees with people in person in Philadelphia, for those who live in the area. But I really like virtual coffee, is just like sitting down with my coffee or tea, and talking about the beat I cover, and then they share information on their clients, and I find that really helpful. I'm also open to just email introductions as well, obviously, not everyone has time for virtual coffees. I'm open as well to just these introductory emails where they list out their clients and maybe areas where we can work together.

    [0:06:51] BB: Oh, is that just the best way you'd suggest, "Hey, I like to have a virtual coffee with you. Here are my clients, A, B, C, D, and E"?

    [0:06:58] JW: Yes. Honestly, yes, you could say that. Or you could even just say I have clients in the health and wellness space, I would love to talk to you more about them. Let's have a virtual coffee. So even if you don't list every single client in your email, that's okay. I'm open to that personally.

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    Subject Lines that Work

    [0:07:14] BB: Is there subject lines that stand out to you? Are there subject lines that stand out to you?

    [0:07:23] JW: Yes. I very much like things that are to the point.

    [0:07:26] BB: Tell us, tell us. Okay, to the point. No fluff?

    [0:07:29] JW: Yes.

    [0:07:30] BB: No, Dazzle?

    [0:07:31] JW: No. Obviously, no. I appreciate the creativity, but not for this. I love subject lines that are simply expert source in inclusive fitness, expert sources for beauty story, source in nutrition. It's like, that's it. That actually probably is what helps those emails come to the top of my inbox when I do search.

    [0:07:53] BB: Exactly, because then you're seeing that.

    [0:08:22] BB: So you want to see and also, you were just giving great example expert in insert industry. But do you want to see also expert comma Dr. So and So PhD, whatever in inclusive fitness? Do you want the name drop also in the subject line ideally 0r does that even matter?

    [0:08:40] JW: That honestly doesn't matter to me. 

    [0:08:41] BB: Okay.

    [0:08:41] JW: Yes. Unless they were like a huge celebrity.

    [0:08:44] BB: Huge name, yes.

    [0:08:46] JW: Yes, even then –

    [0:08:47] BB: Otherwise, who cares.

    [0:08:48] JW: Yes. Even then, it's not like I'm exclusively interviewing celebrities, or like, it's not always even a draw for me. For me, that's not necessary. Actually, I have another subject line, I'm looking at my inbox.

    [0:08:59] BB: Oh, yes. Tell us.

    [0:09:00] JW: Yes, a little more creative. So for those who want to be a little more fun with it, this one was "Mental Health Month: Doing This Before Bed Helps Decrease Stress." I love this subject line, I honestly clicked right into the email because it reads like a HuffPost headline, which is great. Already envision how this would read on our site. It grabs my eye, and there is that knowledge gap. I'm curious to click in and read what this that they're referencing is. This is also something we do with our headlines and other publications do too, and we all do this for a reason. These are clicky, these are interesting. While this tactic works for headlines, it certainly also works for subject lines too.


    Rapid Fire Pitching Preferences

    [0:11:40] BB: Video phone or in-person interview? 

    [0:11:45] JW: Phone.

    [0:11:46] BB: What's your preference? Phone. And why is that?

    [0:11:49] JW: I have a really good recording software on the phone I use, so it's easiest for me to transcribe after that. Also, being a remote employee, honestly, I'm not always looking my best, so phone is nice because –

    [0:12:06] BB: Yes, real. I love it. Bullet points or paragraphs in a pitch? Why or why not?

    [0:12:12] JW: Bullet points? I think I mentioned earlier that for me, shorter is better, and like to the point. I think bullet points are part of that. It's easy to scan, easy to see what the point is of the email. I just think they're really valuable and useful, and they save time for the PR person too. You're not writing whole paragraphs.

    [0:12:31] BB: Yes. Why not? I like it. What type of sources do you look for and how do you want them pitched to you? Rapid fire. 

    [0:12:39] JW: I look for experts in the field and I want them pitched in a way that really tells me what their expertise is from the beginning. I don't want to have to go through a long email to see what their expertise is. I want to know it from the top.

    [0:12:54] BB: Know it from the top. Images attached or do you prefer a Dropbox zip file?

    [0:13:01] JW: I prefer a zip file.

    [0:13:03] BB: Okay. Why is that? Yes, I think Dropbox, I often run into password issues, like I need a password. So that just adds a whole other step. When you're on deadline, you often don't have time for that whole step. Then attached, I mean attached isn't bad, but attach would be my second choice. Zip file to me is just like, you can open it up, it's on your desktop, you can save it easily. You can have them to reference for however long you need them.




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