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    Coffee with a Journalist: Miriam Cross, American Banker

    Miriam Cross is a technology reporter at American Banker. Miriam covers banking technology and fintech specifically writing about the customer experience.

    During the episode, Miriam talks about a pitch she still thinks about from over a year ago, an example of an exclusive pitch, why her email inbox is the best place to reach her, and lots more.

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


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    Pitches That Worked 

    [00:05:15] MC: Yeah. It's from a company called RiskScout. They do onboarding and due diligence compliance software for high-risk industries, including Cannabis. This was a very good pitch because even though it did come from a vendor, and a lot of vendor pitches are not what I'm looking for. 

    [00:05:31] BB: Yeah, I’m sure. 

    [00:05:32] MC: This one did a bunch of things right. First of all, the subject line was very direct. It was compliance automation holds key to cannabis banking for America's banks. Even though it was from a specific company, it was about a topic that is very hot. People want to know about cannabis banking. It's something that affects a lot of banks. It’s something they're very hesitant to do because regulation is still very fuzzy. For the ones that do do it, compliance technology is very helpful in helping them scale. So this company was something that was interesting to us. 

    Another thing that PR person did, which is pretty important if you are a vendor pitching me, is include a bank who's willing to speak. He had a bank who was a client of this company, who was willing to speak. Even had a couple other source suggestions, which I didn't need, but the bank was crucial. It was also something with a little research, I realized I could expand this story. It wasn't just about this company. It was about the larger topic of cannabis banking and compliance technology.

    [00:06:28] BB: Got it. So key piece of that, I already have teed you up with someone who could speak to you directly. This I cannot overemphasize. I put this in my own pitches of like, “This is how many people I have for you to talk to right now. A, B, C, D, here's their LinkedIn.” It’s like that level of showing you what I've got, in terms of people for you to talk to. It sounds like you like that.

    [00:06:49] MC: I do and I do get a lot of pitches from vendors. But the thing is we're never really going to spotlight a vendor. The bank's voice is always going to be the most important voice in the piece. So that's really important. 

    Another thing that I appreciate is when the pitch is about a specific piece of news or a specific idea. It's not too broad, like why digitization is important to community banks or why digitization needs to be – You need to balance with the human touch. Like we write about that all the time. I need something more specific, preferably something kind of buzzy. Or it needs a news peg. We do write evergreen stories. But ideally, I need to be able to see why should I write about this now.


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    Audience Asks 

    [00:11:10] BB: We have actually, Miriam because so many people were excited to have you on here, an audience ask. It's from Mike Donnell from Donnell Public Relations. Hey, Mike.

    He says, “Will you accept a pitch through LinkedIn when other direct contact info is not available?”

    [00:11:26] MC: That’s so interesting. I do get a fair number of pitches through LinkedIn. But it's not the best way to reach me because I check my email way more often than I check LinkedIn.

    [00:11:34] BB: Yes. You’re quite organized. Yeah. Let me ask you this because everyone's kind of like, “Oh, what's happening with Twitter?” Are you finding an uptick in the usage of LinkedIn?

    [00:11:44] MC: I don't think I've ever gotten a pitch through Twitter, but I – Yeah. 

    [00:11:46] BB: Oh, interesting. 

    [00:11:48] MC: No. Just through LinkedIn. I guess if they couldn't find my contact information elsewhere, it's not a bad thing. It's just not the most efficient way to reach me. But we do now have our emails on the website.

    [00:11:57] BB: Yes. So it's pretty clear to see it. So I guess you're saying hit me up on email because it's very clear. 

    [00:12:03] MC: Email’s the best way. 

    [00:12:04] BB: Yeah. All right. Mike, I hope that answers your question for that. That sounds good.



    Rapid Fire Pitching Preferences

    BB: Miriam, I have some rapid-fire questions. Here we go. Video or phone interview?

    • MC: If it's one person, either one is fine. If it's a group call, I find video is helpful, so I can tell voices apart.

    BB: Bullet points or paragraphs?

    • MC: I love bullet points. 

    BB: Short or long pitches?

    • MC: Short. I wanted to get the point, across no filler. 
    • BB: Three sentences, five sentences?
    • MC: As much as it needs but no filler.

    BB: Images attached or Dropbox or zip file?

    • MC: Doesn't really matter to me. 

    BB: Pitches in the morning or at night?

    • MC: Again, doesn't matter to me.

    BB: Email or Twitter DM?

    • MC: Well, definitely email.

    BB: One follow-up or multiple?

    • MC: One follow-up and preferably more than 24 hours after the first one.

    BB: Direct or creative subject lines?

    • MC: Direct.

    BB: Press release or media kit or none of the above?

    • MC: Again, either one. I feel like, usually – I mean, if they have a media kit, I'd love to see it because I usually have photos attached, and that saves me time. But press release is fine..



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