Rebecca Deczynski on Compelling Business Stories and Inc.’s Unique Stance on Breaking News

Last month, we sat down with Inc. Staff Editor Rebecca Deczynski to discuss her early career and the many variables attached to business reporting. Rebecca is a seasoned journalist, having spent time in both the consumer and business worlds, writing for publications like Refinery29, Nylon and Domino.

Since making the leap from lifestyle to business journalism two years ago, Rebecca has been chronicling unique entrepreneurial stories and interviewing founders across the retail, marketing and sustainability industries. What follows is an edited version of our recent discussion:

How did you get your start in the industry? And what led you to Inc.?

I come from a journalism background – specifically lifestyle media. I began as an intern at publications like Good Housekeeping, Nylon and InStyle, and soon became a lifestyle writer at Bustle. I continued on to Hearst and Domino, and in late 2020 started at Meredith as a health and wellness e-commerce writer before pivoting into business journalism. In the fall of 2021, I made the move out of lifestyle writing and joined the Inc. team as a staff reporter, covering retail, marketing and sustainability. Now, as staff editor my time is split between writing and editing content on founders’ stories and unique advice.

What makes Inc. different from comparable publications?

Inc. focuses on privately owned businesses based in the U.S. So, given that we’re talking directly to this audience of founders, C-suite leaders, and entrepreneurs, we’re a bit more service-oriented and aim to be advice-driven in our content. This means we need takeaways that are more than just a summary – we want to share what happened, why it’s important and how leaders should respond.

As far as news goes, we prioritize getting an angle or takeaway that feels most relevant to our specific audience.

What shapes a compelling startup or CEO?

For Inc., a demonstrated record of success and growth is crucial. It’s the metric we pay attention to most and what we’re known for. Raising a ton of money isn’t necessarily the most important thing – we want to see what you’ve done to be able to turn that into concrete growth. We’re always on the lookout for people who have a strong story: What are they doing to stand out and pave their way in the industry?

We’re definitely more likely to cover a founder who has grown their business to a certain degree, versus someone who is just launching their business – unless they’re launching it with a really interesting and creative strategy.

For instance, I recently covered the makeup brand EADEM which launched in Sephora and they spent $10,000 on guerilla marketing – which drove people to purchase and in turn drove sales.

<split-lines>"Raising a ton of money isn’t necessarily the most important thing – we want to see what you’ve done to be able to turn that into concrete growth."<split-lines>

Tell us about some entrepreneurial angles that are overdone and what you look for in a story today.

We look at founders and their stories very holistically, so it’s important for us to feel like the story speaks to business trends more broadly. Additionally: revenue, revenue, revenue. 

We look for metrics that signal earnings are growing or trending upwards – like growth percentages. Fundraising numbers are great, but they’re not representative of how successful a business is or how it’s growing. 

Lastly, we are looking to tell business stories that have a strong personal connection or narrative. It’s not just about what your business does, but rather if you have a personal connection to the business and understand what it takes to grow it.

<split-lines>"We look at founders and their stories very holistically, so it’s important for us to feel like the story speaks to business trends more broadly. Additionally: revenue, revenue, revenue."<split-lines> 

What role does timeliness play at Inc.?

Inc. always looks for a unique angle, regardless of timing. That said, timeliness can play a role, depending on the news. For example, we recently published an exclusive on an acquisition between two businesses because they were on our female founders list and were friends outside of work. This created a more interesting lens for the story.

On the flip side, we most likely won’t report on a new fundraising round. A fund-raise might make us more interested in a business, but it’s not a standalone story for us.

How often do you seek new entrepreneurial stories? Do you have a preferred pitching cadence?

Inc. has six print issues per year, so we usually look for new angles and stories on a rolling basis. Something may pique our interest but isn’t necessarily a fit for the online publication, but could work in print — or vice versa.

Also, there isn’t any specific pitching cadence that’s most helpful, but if one of your clients has a timely announcement, we’d like to hear about it beforehand.

Can you tell us about a favorite interview or story that you’ve done? What made it special?

Last March, I interviewed Stacy Flynn, Co-Founder and CEO of Evrnu, and later published a story, given her compelling background and the company’s extremely innovative product. She came from a material development background at Dupont and Target, and over time, saw the impact that technology sales had on the environment. She was then driven to seek new scientific solutions for recycled cotton textiles.

She also has a unique perspective on the entrepreneurial journey – referring to herself as a “reluctant entrepreneur.” That’s interesting to me, considering she is running a successful and growing business but hesitant to claim the title of entrepreneur. Overall, it was a super fun story to unpack!

<split-lines>"I treat my inbox like a database – I may not always respond to emails, but if I’m working on a specific trends piece, I’ll search my inbox first to see if I have a relevant expert or company waiting in my inbox."<split-lines>

What are your biggest PR pet peeves?

I don’t like getting pitches via Instagram DM or unsolicited calls or texts to my personal cell outside of work hours. Email is my preferred method of communication. I treat my inbox like a database – I may not always respond to emails, but if I’m working on a specific trends piece, I’ll search my inbox first to see if I have a relevant expert or company waiting in my inbox.

More posts

May 22, 2024

May 22, 2024

Expert Insights
Life Sciences

'The Pipeline' Podcast - Episode 2: Overcoming Skepticism in Life Sciences Communications

May 21, 2024

May 20, 2024

Impact of Tech
Corporate

Senate’s AI Working Group Roadmap Points to ‘Must-Do’s’ for Corporate Affairs Leaders

May 3, 2024

May 3, 2024

Impact of Tech
Enterprise

As the Clock Ticks on the TikTok Ban, Here’s What Marketers Need to Know

April 30, 2024

April 30, 2024

Inside Mission North
Talent/Brand

Leadership Lessons From Mission North’s Inaugural Sponsorship Participant – Alexis-Brianna Felix