Riddhi Kanetkar is a Junior Startup and VC Reporter at Insider. She's interested in covering emerging sectors such as health tech, with a focus on women's health and mental health, as well as underrepresented founders and VCs in tech, company culture, labor rights, and the gig economy.
During the episode, Riddhi talks about writing behind the paywall, turnaround time for funding pieces vs features, her thoughts on in-person meetups, and more.
Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Click below to listen to the full conversation and read below for highlights from the interview:
Subject Lines that Work
[0:04:26] BB: What would ideally be the amount of time you have to do a story, for instance?
[0:04:34] RK: When it comes to new stories, it's great to get, if it's an embargoed pitch, it's great to get two to three days’ notice in advance, just so we have enough time to reach out to the founders, get that interview, and write that story up. With the pitch deck, let’s get the new stories, I'd say two to three days. If it's a feature, it tends to be quite evergreen, so we don't really have a time limit on that, and that's something that's more geared towards the long read style. Those stories tend to not really be as timely, so that's fine.
[0:05:06] BB: Okay. I know you have come prepared with some subject lines that you like.
[0:05:11] RK: Yes.
[0:05:12] BB: Maybe some that you don't like, which we can also cover. What do you have for us so far? I love when people are like, “I got some. I'm ready. Let's do it.”
[0:05:20] RK: Yes, I've got some, and I've actually – you caught me at a great time, because recently I've had some amazing subject lines in my inbox.
[0:05:26] BB: Oh.
[0:05:27] RK: Yes.
[0:05:28] BB: Fabulous.
[0:05:29] RK: I'd say, to start off with, the best ones always have three key pieces of information listed in the subject line. If it's an exclusive, say it's an exclusive in the subject line. That will always catch attention. And the name of the company is always helpful, because sometimes I won't remember, and then just typing it in, it catches my attention, it makes everything easier. Lastly, the embargo date, if there is one. Again, that's super important. If I see that embargo is passed, I'm less likely to forward it to my editor. Yeah, those three pieces of information would make it more likely to get viewed.
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Pitching Pet Peeves
[0:10:07] RK: Yes, definitely. For funding stories. We need a pitch deck, but we don't necessarily need an exclusive. This is a caveat.
[0:10:16] BB: Yes. Please describe this, because this is something Insider has specifically carved out, which I think is great.
[0:10:21] RK: Yes.
[0:10:21] BB: Go ahead.
[0:10:23] RK: Basically, for funding stories, if there's a funding round, we will most likely always cover it with a pitch deck, unless it's an extremely high-profile player. Yeah. We don't necessarily need the exclusive. It's great to have the pitch deck exclusively offered to us, but the story doesn't need to be exclusive. For feature stories, however, we want that exclusive angle, because we don't want three carbon copies of the same story in different publications. I'll actually read out a subject line, which –
[0:10:52] BB: Oh, yes please, please.
[0:10:54] RK: For a visual feature we did a few weeks ago. The subject line was, “Exclusive story.” Great start. “Leading Health Tech Proximity backed by SoftBank, Launches PX Lens, Set to Transform Surgery Safety, and Improve Surgical Training. Excellent images available.”
Rapid Fire Pitching Preferences
[0:14:12] BB: Video, or phone interview?
[0:14:29] BB: Bullet points or paragraphs?
- [0:14:31] RK: Ooh. I like a good paragraph.
[0:14:33] BB: Images attached or Dropbox file?
- [0:14:38] RK: Oh, images attached always for me.
[0:14:40] BB: Pitches in the morning or the night or who cares?
- [0:14:43] RK: Morning for me.
[0:14:44] BB: Email or Twitter DM?
- [0:14:51] RK: Definitely email.
[0:14:53] BB: One follow-up or multiple?
- [0:14:54] RK: I would cap at two follow-ups.
[0:14:57] BB: Direct or creative subject lines?
- [0:15:03] RK: Direct for news. Creative for features.
[0:15:06] BB: Press release or media kit?
- [0:15:08] RK: Press release always.
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