On Season 2, Episode 93 of Coffee with a Journalist we spoke with Carleton English, a reporter at Barron’s.
As a reporter at Barron’s, Carleton covers financial markets and asset managers. Before moving into journalism, she worked in wealth management.
When it comes time to pitch Carleton English your news, refer to these 5 tips you can implement within your media pitch. You can also watch videos of Carleton sharing her pitch tips, relationship-building advice, and more on our YouTube channel.
Don’t expect a response to every pitch
During the first part of the interview, Carleton talks about her inbox and how she keeps it well managed. While she does try and read through most of the pitches she receives, she does mention that responding to every single pitch is nearly impossible.
The upside is that she keeps a close eye on pitches and does occasionally send them to colleagues if they are a good fit. She also will archive pitches and respond to them when the time is right.
Use clear subject lines
For starters, don’t send Carleton pitches that have to do with “clever” holidays such as, “National Hot Dog Day.” She mentions these types of tie-ins don’t relate to her readers and she is not going to write about them. However, she does acknowledge that subject lines which are creative and have a clear link to the pitch and her readers do well.
“I mean, the pitches tied to those days. They are not at all for my readership. Not things I’m going to write about.”
Pitch ongoing stories to her
Carleton does say pitches that are immediately relevant to her do garner her interest. She says:
“So say that there’s like an ongoing story, something like the Meme-Stock Mania that we saw in early January, where maybe I wrote one story, but obviously, there’s going to be continued follow up on that. So someone who just really kind of addresses a point that I made in a story and then says, “You might want to look at,” is like, “Oh, okay, I need to look at what this person is saying.”
Keep in mind that Barron’s caters to individual investors including stock picks and market trends, and they have a strong video presence on YouTube that Carleton is involved with.
Think about trends
We all know how frequently trend pieces are being written whether it be commentary, market updates, or forecasting.
During the interview, Carleton sheds light on a story she worked on and just how it came to be. She goes on to discuss what it’s like being a beat reporter and the advantages it has for being able to look at things from a broader perspective.
“So that makes that process a little bit easier that when those things are happening live, you’re like, “Okay, I do have a baseline for understanding how this works. I do need to get more information, of course.” But you’re not – I don’t want to make a sports analogy, because I’ll probably get it wrong, but like you’re not starting from scratch.”
Build a relationship
Towards the tail end of the interview, we asked Carleton her thoughts on receiving exclusives and embargoes. She mentioned that she gets these types of pitches often but that they don’t feel very personalized to her.
“But going in cold with a new source on an exclusive or embargo on a tight timeline, I just – It makes me a little bit nervous, right, because there’s not that trust relationship.”
She says she’s generally more open to the idea of working on an exclusive or embargo if she has a, “longer reporting source relationship there.”
Her advice: build a relationship with her over time and don’t try to “close the deal” too quickly. To learn more about pitching embargoes, take a minute to review this post by Tara Parsell.
Pitching a reporter shouldn’t be a guessing game and after interviewing over 100 journalists on the podcast we can see clear takeaways for how to do it effectively. In the case of Carleton English, make sure your pitch is relevant not only to her but also to her readers, take the time to build a relationship with her, and make sure you remember not every pitch is going to result in a response.