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Coffee with a Journalist: Anita Ramaswamy, TechCrunch

Coffee With A Journalist: Anita Ramaswamy, TechCrunch

Today on the podcast, we’re joined by Anita Ramaswamy, a reporter at TechCrunch. Anita covers crypto and fintech startups, trends, and news. Before joining TechCrunch, Anita was a finance fellow at Insider.

During the episode, Anita shares real-life examples of pitch subject lines, how some exclusives she’s been pitched have gone wrong, her new podcast from TechCrunch, and more.

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

 

Her thoughts on Subject Lines

 

 

 

[00:03:44] BB: There you go. You’re in the club. You’re in the thousand plus club. So, okay, Anita, we talked a little bit about this on the videos. But tell us more about the subject line. So for you to open that email and go, “Oh, here’s what I want to do,” and give that little star, what does the subject line need to look like? 

[00:04:00] AR: I would say it should just be as direct and clear as possible. I really do appreciate is it’s an exclusive like that’s put in the subject line. If there’s like a hard deadline and you’re not flexible with timing of your announcement, if you put in parentheses like what the announcement data is at the end, that’s really helpful. Sometimes, it’s just as simple as saying something like exclusive fintech launch or fintech funding announcement. Or if you’re announcing like a fun launch, like exclusive like X million dollar crypto fund. Those are just some examples that I’ve definitely clicked on in the past.

“I would say it [subject line] should just be as direct and clear as possible.”

I think sometimes, especially with fintech companies, they can be really complicated. So if there’s a way to concisely sort of summarize what the startup does in the subject line, that’s also really helpful. But if it’s difficult, then just saying like fintech funding round is actually good enough because I know that, okay, I can sort of screen out the ones who are not within my beats or the timeline isn’t going to work out for me. Or maybe it’s like something that’s interesting, but it’s not an exclusive, so it’s not the number one priority for me that week. That’s sort of how I filter things out.

 

Her Thoughts on Exclusives & Embargoes

[00:07:10] BB: Okay. Real quick, TechCrunch does do a handful of exclusives. Where are you on the exclusive versus embargo and which is which to you?

[00:07:18] AR: Yeah. So I will definitely cover an embargo, if it’s interesting to me, and it’s in my beads. But I do try to give priority to exclusives. Like if there’s an exclusive that I find interesting, then I will do more to sort of meet their timeline, do more to make sure that I like get to talk to the company, get to talk to the investors. That sort of becomes my priority for the week, but I’m not tied to only doing exclusives.

I will say that it’s nice to be offered an exclusive because it’s not so much about the competitive aspect of it for me, but it’s more about it just shows that that company really cares, and they know that TechCrunch specifically would be a good fit for their story.

“So I will definitely cover an embargo, if it’s interesting to me, and it’s in my beads. But I do try to give priority to exclusives.” 

[00:07:53] BB: Okay. That’s good to know. This has come up more often. Has there ever been a slip up of an embargo or an exclusive? Is there any like tale you want to tell us? Maybe not a slip up on your end but on like the PR side.

[00:08:07] AR: Yeah. Once or twice. It’s not super common, but there have definitely been situations where I’ve been pitched a funding round announcement by a startup, and I’ve wanted to cover it. Then I go to Google the startup, and it turns out that someone else has already leaked the funding round, or it’s been reported on elsewhere. That is just a huge no for me.

[00:08:25] BB: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Now, do you actually mean like there’s a whole other article done on it? Or like you did some snooping on Crunchbase, and you’re like, “Oh, wait. It’s already up there.”

[00:08:34] AR: It’s usually been an article but a brief one. Like maybe they didn’t do an interview with the company, so it’s been like pitched as an exclusive interview to me. But maybe like phrase it away where I didn’t know the news was out. Yeah.

 

 

 

How to pitch her new TechCrunch podcast

[00:10:00] BB: Yes, exactly. I found that to be helpful. Okay. Anita, you also have a podcast that you’re doing. Tell us more.

[00:10:08] AR: Yeah. 

[00:10:09] BB: Can we pitch the podcast? What do we do? Tell us.

“We’re looking for like crypto experts, people doing interesting things in the crypto space, so not necessarily the most traditional experts always.” 

[00:10:12] AR: Yes, you can. So the podcast is called Chain Reaction, and I’m launching it. The first episode is coming out tomorrow, Thursday, April 21st. I’m really excited. It’s going to be me and my coworker, Lucas Matney. So he also is on the crypto team. He’s an editor at TechCrunch, and we are going to be co-hosting this, talking about a little bit of crypto news at the beginning of the podcast and then having a guest speaker, who we interview together and just sort of have a chat with about some trends in the space for the second half of the show. 

You definitely can pitch us. We’re looking for like crypto experts, people doing interesting things in the crypto space, so not necessarily the most traditional experts always. It could be anyone doing anything interesting and maybe really like involved in the community on Twitter or Discord or that sort of thing? Yeah. We’re looking to hear from a pretty wide range of people. 

[00:11:01] BB: By the way, because I know this will be asked, and I’m with all these VCs all the time, do you want like people investing in crypto or you want people building other things? 

[00:11:09] AR: Both, but I would say –

[00:11:10] BB: Both. Okay.

[00:11:10] AR: We’re definitely open to having investors on the show because I think anyone who can give them more like high level view. I don’t think that we necessarily want our show to focus on like one product or one specific company. So if it’s a founder who has some background, and they can talk more broadly about the space, that would be awesome. But investors have that really great perspective where they can talk about the market as a whole.

 

 

 

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Learn more pitch tips and insights from previous guests on Coffee with a Journalist in our journalist spotlight videos available for free on YouTube.

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Jered is the co-founder, COO and support manager at OnePitch. He handles operations for OnePitch; along with strategy, support, business development and hiring. He studied Communications with an emphasis in marketing at Cal State University Long Beach. In his free time, he enjoys surfing, eating cheap street food, cooking, and exploring the outdoors.

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