Journalists I interview as part of my PR over Coffee community in Austin report having to sort through hundreds of emails daily – literally hundreds. On Mondays when they come back to the office that number often doubles. This means you have mere seconds to stop a journalist in his or her tracks in hopes of getting a second, longer look. The only way to get a journalist to not hit the delete key is by having a carefully worded, high-impact email subject line.
Here are some thoughts and examples of email subjects that pack a punch and might cause a journalist to take a closer look at your news announcement.
Short: keep your email subject line short and to the point; basically no more than 8-12 words.
Example: Mobile health app predicts heart attacks, sends 911 alerts
Punch: add some punch to your email pitch with a subject that relies upon hard-hitting action verbs.
Example: Snow blower maker plows through revenue goals after record snowfall
Verbal vigor: consider using alliteration (words beginning with the same letter/sound in close proximity) to make the subject stand out.
Example: Austin Chocolatier to serve chocolate cherry ganache at Presidential Inauguration
Local, local, local: if you are trying to get the media to cover you in your own community then point out in your email subject line that you are a local company or mention the community by name.
Example: Local home builder to break ground on development in southwest suburb
Provocative: be as edgy as possible given your topic and audience. I’m not suggesting you say anything inappropriate. But saying something too conservative or tepid won’t arrest a busy journalist’s attention.
Example: New luxury car rental company promises zero crappy car policy at LAX
Deadline: if there’s a deadline or event date then mention it in hopes of getting the journalist to take action.
Example: Annual Take Back the Night marathon and candlelight vigil set for March 15
Name drop: sure, why not? If there’s a well-recognized name associated with your news announcement like a tech company getting funding from Mark Cuban then jump on it!
Example: PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel joins board e-commerce startup Xzap
Don’t sell: what I mean by this is don’t sound like you are selling something; you are trying to sell a story idea, not a used car.
Example: Enjoy “Chocolate Stout Night for Singles” on Valentine’s Day at Draft house
Relevance: try to capture the essences of why your news should be shared with a journalist’s audience. Pitching a college-related publication like U.S. News & World Report – Education on a new mobile app for college students? Mention something about the app’s ability to help students’ in their studies, find dates, travel abroad, etc.
Example: 25% of students in study abroad programs lack the proper insurance
Final tip: don’t be afraid to spend time on getting the subject line just right. Run it by your colleagues, staff and even friends and family. Come up with a subject that will stop the journalist in his or her tracks and you’ll win that coveted 2nd look every time.
Got a few left hooks and right jabs you want to share to help others create knock-out subject lines