This is what the Business Journal looks for in a story.

I receive hundreds of emails each day.

There are stories buried in my inbox, but I can’t possibly respond to them all in a day while also interviewing and reporting. Oftentimes, I scan the subject lines. If your email piques my interest, then I scan your body copy. If I don’t see how this is a Business Journal story, I move on.

This post is for all those folks pitching stories to a Business Journal, starting with tips for the inbox. This is what we’re looking for. Follow this, and we’ll likely write about your business.

The subject line

Include location, industry and a Business Journal lens (a list is below) in the subject line. If it’s local and truly fits the Business Journal lens, it is highly likely I will email you back.

If it’s more than seven or so words you’ve likely already lost me. Subject line writing is like headline writing. It needs to be short, to the point and it has to grab my attention. Don’t list the company if I’ve never heard of them. Instead say something like, “Seattle retailer” or “Seattle restaurant.”

The Business Journal lens

We curate business intelligence. We need to know what your news means to our audience, how it will help business leaders grow their business, and it has to be something they can’t find anywhere else.

Here are the basic data points we need to write a story:

-Headquarters (square footage)
-Year founded
-Current employee count (and if and by how much that differs from a year ago)
-Revenue (and percentage increase compared to one or three years prior)
-Are you profitable?
-Number of people served (number of clients/contracts/pounds produced/however this might apply to your business)

Story types

Has your revenue increased in the last year or three years? We want to hear about that. Have you hired a significant amount of new employees? We want to hear about that. Are you building out an executive team? Expanding your headquarters? Purchasing a new office? Building more brick-and-mortar locations? We want to write about that.

Purchasing or merging with another company is a sure fire way to get into the Business Journal. We’ll want to know the specifics of the deal related to price/stock offering/board appointments. What will happen to the C-level executives when you merge? Will you retain the staff of the other company or will some people be let go? Why did you decide to merge or acquire this other company? How long has this deal been in the works? What does it do for your business or the industry that you combine? How does this help the local economy?

-Who’s raising
How much do you aim to raise or how much have you raised? What do you need to accomplish this? Are you working with a bank? What are the challenges in raising this money? What funding round is this? Who led the round? Do you have new investors? Can you list all the investors? How much did they invest? What are you going to do with the money, specifically (i.e. hire more employees, expand your headquarters, invest in technology to expand your platform)?

-IPO, stock offering
Going public or planning to go public? We want to know. How much are you aiming to raise? When will you be listed? How much stock are you offering and at what starting price? What are you going to do with the money? Why go public? Why go public now?

-First look
This is an inside look at your restaurant/clinic/headquarters/lab/grocery store before it opens. We bring a camera crew and you show us around. We’ll post the story before whatever it is opens to the public. This is a slideshow opportunity, which means more clicks.

What’s the square footage? How does it compare to where you were operating out of before? How many new employees will you have at this location? How will this help your business? How much did it cost to build? Who is the architect and general contractor? Do you have a rendering or photo?

-On the move
A C-suite executive is leaving or joining an organization. We will need a headshot and a description of their background/job experience/volunteer work and how they plan to lead the company going forward.

This is good if you have several businesses who are all doing something. Point it out to me, if I haven’t already seen it and connect me to at least three businesses to be considered for a trend piece.

Leaving your job after a long career? Closing a business after a long run? We want to know. Tell us some of your successes and proud moments. As an expert in your field, we want to know your view of the industry. What are some of the challenges ahead? Who are some of the key people who will continue the good fight? What will you do next?

Rarely do companies reach out when they’re having financial troubles, but we do write about them anyway. If you know of a company or your company is filing for bankruptcy protection, we want to know.

Special features

We run one of four special features and a Q&A interview we call the PSBJ Interview weekly.

-PSBJ Interview
This Q&A must be with a CEO. One runs every week. We ask questions about the company, your leadership style, your views on the industry and how you can continue to grow the industry. PSBJ Interviews are usually timed around major business events: Did your company just raise money? Are you leading the industry through a merger? Do you have some insights on the industry to share? Let us know.

-Grow Seattle
This Q&A talks big picture growth in the region. With the pandemic and growth critically affected, this year we’re talking about how to re-grow the area. We look for businesses that have successfully navigated the pandemic with eyes on expansion.

-Courageous Leaders
This narrative features a BIPOC business owner and their successes and hardships in establishing their business. We will be talking about access to capital, the challenges and successes around that.

-Small Business Success
This narrative features a small business (less than 500 employees) and their success in navigating the pandemic. Is your business recession-proof? Did you pivot? We want to know how and where you’re headed.

At the beginning of the year, we honor 12 people who have created an innovation that will or has changed the landscape of their field. Throughout the year, we feature each of these people monthly in the paper. This is part of an awards program. A panel of judges, based off nominations from the public, establish the 12 innovators.

Editorial calendar

The PSBJ also has an editorial calendar with special sections, like Cheers to Washington Wines, that print throughout the year. This year has been difficult, as we’ve had to move things around a lot because of the pandemic. Request a copy by emailing [email protected].

We run a CRE quarterly report four times a year. Here’s a list of our other staple programs:

January: Meet the new CEOs (features on incoming CEOs); innovators are announced

February: Deals of the Year

March: Estate Planning; CFOs of the Year; Transactions of the Year; Health Care of the Future

April: Earth Day

May: Top Private Companies

June: Business of Pride; Luxury Living

August: Cheers to Washington Wines; Washington’s Best Workplaces

September: Middle Market Fast 50, 40 Under 40

October: (Re)Grow Seattle; Residential Real Estate; Raising Capital; Giving Guide

November: Directors of the Year; Women of Influence; Health Care Leadership Awards

December: Executive of the Year; Newsmakers of the Year; Power 100; Small Business Heroes; Annual PSBJ Book of Lists

This is how off the record works.

If you’ve ever said something and followed it up with “that was off the record,” I’m sorry to tell you that that’s not how it works.

For something to be off the record, we both have to agree and before you say whatever it is that’s too sensitive to put in print.

“When you’re talking to a reporter, assume it’s all on the record.

Here’s how it works:

You say, I’d like to go off the record. If I agree, I’ll set up the parameters: Can I use this information for further questions and reporting on the record? Once we have an understanding on what happens next, we talk and the conversation isn’t for print. Please remember to tell me when we’re back on record so I know when I can start recording again. I will ask if I think we’ve ventured into on-the-record territory.

I generally don’t like to talk off the record.

A lot of people, particularly public relations folks, like to talk on background. Again, this is something we discuss prior to you offering up the information. Can I attribute the information to a source? Can I describe the source’s involvement with the information (i.e. “a government worker familiar with the matter”)? Generally, this information is only good to me if I can attribute it and if I can use it to further my reporting. Otherwise, I don’t want to hear it.

In general, whenever you’re talking to a reporter, assume it’s all on the record, because it is.

Welcome to my blog

Though I’m a child of the 90s, I’ve never been one for blogs. But what better year than 2020 to start one? A pandemic keeping me indoors creates a perfect storm, I guess.

Check out my About page to learn more about my professional background, but here I hope to give some insight of my life behind the process of news writing. I also hope to publish some of my fiction, which I hope you don’t hold against me.

For now, hello and welcome.