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Women at Work

How To Pitch Your Story

Tips From A Published Writer

You've spent hours, maybe even days, perfecting your piece of writing. You've implemented the necessary final touches, and now it's time to share your masterpiece with the world.

But how exactly do you do that?

If the idea of emailing your pitch to an editor evokes panic - you're not alone! Elmira Bayrasli, co-founder and CEO of Foreign Policy Interrupted, sat down with our VIP Community for an informative workshop on "How To Pitch Your Story". Elmira writes about global entrepreneurs and is a professor at Bard College's Globalization and International Affairs Program. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Forbes, Fortune, Reuters, The New Republic, TechCrunch, and VentureBeat.

During our workshop with Elmira, we learned all about the do's and don'ts of the pitching process. We've provided some of Elmira's extremely valuable advice below, and our VIP's can re-watch the chat here!

If you want to attend virtual VIP chats like these in the future, then you can click here to read about how to become a PowerToFly VIP and join our community of women here to empower one another.



Prepare Before Pitching

Elmira Bayrasli: Like with everything, pitching is all about preparation. You have to do a lot of homework before sending your pitch, and that homework starts with owning your expertise. Before writing a piece, you should be answering the questions: "What is my expertise?" and "Why am I positioned to actually comment on this?" Everyone has an opinion on something, but publications like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are looking for expertise, and for them to publish their piece they have to understand why you are the expert on this this particular topic.

Learn About The Differences Between Publications

EB: Not every publication is made equal, and you should never pitch to a publication you, yourself, do not read. By reading the publication you'll understand the style and the tone of their writing, and thus provide a better opportunity for your pitch to be accepted. There's nothing wrong with wanting to pitch to various publications, but it's important to understand and define the differences and pitch accordingly. For example, if you're writing on a topic with a wider message and a policy implication, then I'd think about pitching to publications like The New York Times or The Washington Post. If you're an entrepreneur, or you have a business background and you're ideas are more niche, you might decide to pitch to publications like Forbes, Fortune, or TechCrunch.

Develop A Good Argument, and Pass "The Argument Test"

EB: Once you've honed in on your expertise and decided on a publication to target, it's time to develop your argument. For example, you can't just pitch that "the Mets are better than the Yankees", (which is actually factually true), rather, you need to make an argument. You want to say why the Mets are a better team than the Yankees. It's not enough to just say what your idea is or how you feel. An argument has to be coherent, it has to have some logical flow and information—it can't just be an opinion, and it has to have evidence. You need to provide proof to back up what you're saying. Finally, the argument must lead to some sort of conclusion.

The "argument test" is quite plainly, "why should anyone care?". When you are an expert in a subject, the argument may seem intuitive to you, but an editor is thinking about why this is relative to his or her audience.

Write The Perfect Email Pitch

EB: The first thing you should focus on is the subject line. Depending on the publication they work for, editors get between 200-300 pitches a day. That's a lot of email! Because of this, you want to keep your subject line short and snappy. I usually put the word "Pitch:", and then get into it. Don't try to be clever, your subject line should clearly state the topic you're pitching on.

In the body of the email, don't try to make small talk with the editor, just get to the point. The shorter your email is, the more likely it is that they're going to read it. After your pitch, include a 1-2 sentence bio including why you are the person to address this particular issue. The biggest mistake people make is putting their bio before their pitch. Unless your name is recognizable, an editor doesn't care about your bio. An editor's job is to get good pieces into their paper—they care about what it is that you have to say.

The last thing to remember is to include a timeline. If it's a piece that's unique to your own field, and an editor doesn't always know the background, and deadlines that may be crucial to its relevance. It's ok to ask an editor if they can get back to you within the next 24 hours or so. Editors don't mind being told that they're on deadline, it actually helps them sort through their emails and decide which ones to get back to first. The more explicit your timeline, the better chance that you're going to get a response.

Share Your Work

EB: If you get published, share it. I can't emphasize this enough. Not only should you share it on your social media, but send it around and ask others to share it in their networks. You can share your pieces on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and using email. Don't be shy about sharing your work. Share your work because it helps another woman learn something - you never know just how large the impact of your piece could have on the life of someone else!

Talent

PowerToFly Holiday Gift Guide: Our Must-Have Work-From-Home Items

What To Buy For Your Favorite Remote Worker (Or Yourself!)

My friends were pretty jealous when I told them I'd found a remote job. They pictured me choosing my hours, working from the comfort of my bed, and rocking pajamas 24/7. All great things... in moderation.

Just a little over a month into my role at PowerToFly, I've already experienced many of the pros and cons of working from home. I know I'm not alone in this - the remote workforce is only growing (9 million people in the U.S. alone worked from home at least half of the time in 2017).

The beauty of remote work is that it lets you decide what kind of environment you'll be most productive in… but the downside is that if you don't build that environment for yourself, you might find you've got a lot of back pain (turns out, working from bed isn't so comfortable after all) and not much energy.

So in the spirit of the holidays, I asked my more experienced remote coworkers to share their must-have work-from-home items - the little things that keep them sane and smiling during their daily grind.

Whether you already work from home, are looking to do so in the future, or are shopping for someone who does (cough cough, Mom), this holiday gift guide is for you.


1. Blue light glasses to protect your eyes from long hours looking at the computer (and to keep you looking sharp at the same time).


Get them from Amazon for $21.99

Our Senior Marketing & Community Manager Lauren says: "I've never worn glasses EVER, but when I started working remotely my eyes got so tired. I've seen a huge difference after I started wearing blue light glasses, and no headaches!"


2. A bullet journal to help you stay on top of your goals. So you know you're being productive even when your boss can't literally pat you on the back.

Get it on Amazon for $9.06

Our Customer Success Associate Brinley says: "I use it for everything – hand-drawn calendar, to-do lists, and even personal stuff like budget planning and weekly goals."


3. A laptop tray so you can be productive from wherever you're most comfortable. (You haven't really worked from home until you've worked from your bed.)


Get it from Barnes & Noble for $39.95

Our Recruiting Manager Amy says: "I love my laptop tray!!! you can fit your planner, your laptop and most importantly, your coffee."


4. A productivity planner to help you become more intrinsically motivated. (Ideal for those lacking the artistic talents required for bullet journaling.)

Get it on Intelligent Change for $24.95

Our President and Cofounder Katharine says: "It helps me manage and protect my time so that when I have creative work that requires a lot of focus, I can break it down into short, intense chunks and be more efficient."


5. A stylish stone diffuser that brings your favorite scent to wherever you're working.

Get it from Vitruvi for $119

Our Senior Account Executive Anastasia says: "Right now I'm working in a room that smells like a forest after a light rain." I've definitely never heard anyone say that about their cubicle.


6. A gym/workout class membership to keep you active (and sane) during the week - because exercise makes you happy and being happy makes you more productive! And a little bit of human interaction doesn't hurt, either.

Our Mid-Market Account Executive Deveshe says: "It's important for me to get out, shake a leg and jump around. Otherwise I wouldn't step out through the week."


7. A Peloton stationary bike so you can get in a great workout even when it's too cold to leave the house. (And once you invest this much money, you know damn well you'll actually use it, or lose ten pounds from gnawing guilt alone. Win-win.)

Get it from Peloton for $2,245

Our Operations Manager Gina says: "It allows me to stay fit no matter how busy I am…I can exercise during my lunch hour or in between meetings if need be."


8. A backpack with a dedicated fleece-lined laptop compartment to keep all of your equipment protected and organized, whether you're traveling across the world or walking across the street to your favorite cafe.

Get this one from North Face for $73.99

Our Director of Customer Success Cristina says: "Love it for packing my laptop and tech items as it has tons of pockets Including fleece lined ones for tech."


9. Bluetooth headphones with immersive sound so you'll never miss a word your boss says.

Get these Bose SoundLink On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones with Microphone on Amazon for $159

Our Director of Business Development Amanda says: "I can get up and move around the house while I'm on calls."


10. A battery case for your phone so you can work wherever you want, without running out of juice.

Get it on Amazon for $108.99

Our Production Lead Rob says: "When traveling, I have to have my iPhone charging case."


11. A speaker to listen to your favorite music/podcasts when the sound of silence is just too much.

Get the Sonos Play:1 from Google Express for 149.99

Our Production Lead Rob says: "Working from home can get lonely sometimes so I love to play WNYC or podcasts when I feel like I need some company. I'm also a big vinyl collector and I have a turntable that can play wirelessly to a Sonos so even though my record player is in my living room, I can listen to it in my office."


12. An adjustable laptop stand that your wrists and your wallet (it's definitely cheaper than carpel tunnel surgery in the U.S.) will thank you for. Plus, this one doubles as a standing desk.

Get it on Amazon for $59.99

Our Customer Success Manager Lola says: "I'm using a box right now, but you definitely need something to elevate your computer."


13. A mate gourd and yerba mate, a.k.a the perfect workmates. Get the jolt you need without the jitters and gain your South American friends' approval at the same time.

Get the gourd and bombilla (straw) on Amazon for $23.99 And the Yerba for $13.95 (or make a trip to Argentina and buy it for $2)

Our DevOps Lead Emiliano says: "Very Argentinean, but definitely something that cannot be missing from my desk."


14. A foot massager to reward yourself for a job well done. Who says your home office can't double as a home spa? Work hard, relax hard.

Buy it on Amazon for $59.98

Our Product Designer Jedidah says: "Sitting in one spot can get strenuous on muscles in my leg, but with my foot massager I get to improve blood flow in that area, and enjoy a great foot massage which eases stress."


----

My coworker Anastasia said it best:

I love that working from home you get to take charge of your surroundings - I'm never cold like I am in offices (the male vs. female divide there ha). And I like me some good ambiance which is obviously subjective too so I appreciate being able to control it alllll myself.

So take charge of your surroundings and make 2019 your most productive - and comfortable - year yet!

#treatyourself

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Salary Negotiation Tips For Women: 10 Expert Tactics

Why Asking Matters and How To Do It The Right Way

"How much do you want?" can feel like a trick question when you're negotiating salary.

The first time I was asked this question, I had no idea what to say. I just knew that what I'd been offered wasn't enough. Having relocated from the U.S. to Argentina just a month prior, I was still learning the market and was worried about having my offer rescinded if I asked for too much. Knowledge is power in a negotiation, and in my ignorance of local norms and rates, I found myself feeling powerless and frustrated.

The hiring manager seized on my silence and asked me another question: "What's the minimum you'd accept?" Not knowing how to stall for more time, I blurted out my actual minimum. He flashed a toothy grin and said, "Done." I knew then and there that I'd gone way too low - his smile said it all.

I broke two cardinal rules of negotiation that day:

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A Look at Our Evening with Four Fast-Growing San Francisco Startups

On November 15th, PowerToFly returned to ConnectionsSF in downtown San Francisco for our second event.

For this evening of networking, product demos and panel discussion, we gathered women tech leaders from four fast-growing startups to tell us more about their latest innovations and to dive a bit deeper into their own career journeys. Our speakers for the evening included Dun Wang, VP of Product and Growth at Calm; Lisa Retief, Director of Engineering at Cloudflare; Jessica Venticinque, Engineer at Forward and Laura Dechant, Head of Customer Success & Ops at Philo.

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PowerToFly was so happy to be back in Seattle for another amazing evening of women in tech on December 5th. Sponsored by MAKERS Workspaces and held at their spacious, wood-accent venue in the Pikes Place Market neighborhood, the event featured three fast-growing Seattle startups: Convoy, who is changing the way companies think about trucking; Smartsheet, a cloud-based platform that makes it easier for teams to share and collaborate; and Stripe, who help power millions of businesses in 100+ countries and across nearly every industry by providing a set of tools for building and running an internet business.

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One of PowerToFly's missions is to provide educational outlets for women in tech, business and beyond. We strive to do this through our events, mentoring programs and through our bi-weekly VIP virtual Lunch & Learns, lead by women across a wide spectrum of fields.

This is why we were thrilled to partner with such a like minded company in Pluralsight, who are making it easy to keep up with technology through expert-led courses, assessments, and tools in fields such as software development, IT ops, data, and cyber security, for an evening of networking and learning on November 28th.

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