On today’s episode, we’re joined by Gili Malinsky, a reporter for Grow by CNBC and Acorns. Gili writes daily articles about side hustles, the American job market, and mental health. She also edits colleagues’ stories and works with the social media team to ensure visibility and a growing audience.
During the episode, Gili gives us the inside scoop about Grow and her beat, how she wants to be pitched a story and when, how she identifies new stories from existing ones, and more.
Click below to listen to the full conversation and read below for highlights from the interview:
Her Thoughts on Pitches
[00:07:18] BB: Okay. You were saying, you do get some rather absurd pitches. Do you care to elaborate?
[00:07:33] GM: I’m happy to elaborate because this is truly a pet peeve. I completely understand that Grow is not a publication that people are widely familiar with. It’s certainly not like CNBC, which is how many tons of millions, hundreds of millions of people know. So I understand, but I think there’s a bit of confusion because sometimes what happens is I’ll write an article for Grow, and then CNBC actually republishes it under.com. There’s a lot of my stories that were written for Grow that CNBC, like they fit the audience and so they just republish them as well. It’s possible that people find me through these articles that are on the cnbc.com. website. So then it looks like I’m a CNBC reporter, writes for cnbc.com, as opposed to CNBC reporter who writes for Grow.
But to get my email, you have to go to my Twitter account. That’s where I’ve posted my email, so I’m assuming everybody emails me.
[00:08:22] BB: Yes, public information.
“For instance, if there’s a source that I think could come in handy later, I actually have an Excel spreadsheet where I put the PR person’s email, where I put the link to what the source is. It’s like tabbed under this is a work expert, or this is a side hustle expert, or this is a health expert, whatever it might be.”
[00:08:24] GM: Yes. I’m assuming everybody who emails me, to my work email goes to Twitter, where it’s posted. They’re in like right in my Twitter profile is a description of where I write, like what the publication I write for is, which is Grow. It’s pretty straightforward. Anybody who emails me, I imagine had to pass through my Twitter account at some point, where it says that I write for Grow. And regardless, I get a lot of pitches where I have to explain to people that I don’t write for cnbc.com, I write for Grow. Then inevitably, the question that follows is, “What is Grow?” So I have to explain to these people who have come to me, who have come to me with their story pitches, what my publication is that they’ve actually pitched to.
Often, a follow up question to that is, “Well, can I get my story on CNBC? Like can you just put it out there?”
Her Thoughts on Subject Lines
[00:09:55] BB: Oh! Okay. Let’s talk about something maybe more positive. Okay. What are some of the best subject lines you’ve ever received?
[00:10:05] GM: That’s a really good question. Often, subject lines are quite long, and then they get cut off.
“I often decide whether or not this is an appropriate pitch for me, like from the subject line.”
[00:10:10] BB: Exactly. And then you’re like, you can’t read the whole damn thing I know.
[00:10:13] GM: I know. I often decide whether or not this is an appropriate pitch for me, like from the subject line. I might skim the email, because again, like this came up a little bit earlier, but like I – or when we were chatting a little bit, when we’re chatting. But a lot of the pitches that I get are like really this wall of text, right? It’s like somebody, a PR person is writing me like a book, basically about their subjects and why they’re relevant. I understand there’s a lot of important information, and then you need to pass it off, you need to explain it to me. But there’s a time for that, and that’s for me, as far as I’m concerned, after I’ve told you that I’m interested. So, I’ll skim the wall of text, but often, I’ll just go straight to the subject line and see if there are like three words in there that are relevant to what I’m doing.
[00:10:59] BB: So sad.
[00:11:02] GM: Horrifying. You know what I mean? It’s like, when you are inundated by pitches, like you just know how to pick up pretty quickly of like whether or not this is what I’m writing about right now, this is what something I’ll write about in the future, whatever it might – or this is the pitch that’s come to me literally five times in the last five days. It’s the same pitch over and over again. I would say – to answer your question, I mean, the best subject line that – I can’t remember anything specific, just that they’re usually very long, and if you can keep them on the shorter sides so they don’t get cut off. That makes everybody’s lives I think a little bit easier. Certainly mine.
[00:11:37] BB: Okay. So short. Short and sweet.
[00:11:39] GM: Yeah. I would say keep it short, and keep the email short as well.
Her Thoughts on Exclusives & Embargoes
[00:12:09] BB: We talked about that in your pitch tips, yes. Do you ever do exclusives or embargoes or anything of that sort? That’s usually a popular topic on this show.
[00:12:18] GM: Yeah, for sure. Why not?
[00:12:20] BB: What do you feel about exclusives?
[00:12:23] GM: Exclusives are great. It’s fun to receive them. What’s fun about my beat, I write a lot about anything to do with earning money. Like side hustle, or entrepreneurs or jobs in demand. A lot of the people that I ended up profiling are unknowns. They’re just kind of everyday people who have figured out a hack for earning money on the side, or for creating a small business for themselves. These are not typically people who are getting profiled by like Time Magazines or like New York Times.
[00:12:54] BB: Yeah, or CNN.
[00:12:54] GM: Just kind of by virtue of looking for the sort of like stories in between the cracks, and the people on the ground, like really doing the work and in a way that might seem unsexy. But it’s ultimately I think, super, super intriguing and really cool. Like end up getting exclusives because these are not people who get profiled a lot.
If you’re pitching Gili, remember that brevity is key not only with the subject line but also with the pitch itself. Spend time first, before you pitch her, learning about what she covers and how Grow positions news stories and articles.
Learn more about previous guests on Coffee with a Journalist and their pitching preferences, relationship building tips, and more in our journalist spotlight videos series.
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