March 27, 2019
If you’ve made it this far, I have no idea why – I wouldn’t click on that headline. And that’s my point. Subject lines are the most important piece of screen real estate, and yet are somehow overlooked in most pitching conversations. What’s the point of having the most concise body content, all that time spent researching the journalists on your media list, and brainstorming the perfect hook for each of them if you can’t even get your targets to click? If a pitch lands in an inbox and no one reads it, does it make a sound?
A good subject line both gives an idea of the content within the body and sparks interest with your reader to continue to the pitch (this holds true for my sales and email marketing people too). By necessity this means it’s short. How many times have you gotten an email like this?
“PLEASE READ: Introducing new software and process to…”
I’m not picking on my operations or IT people, just trying to demonstrate that this doesn’t capture the attention of your audience because it’s boring, but also too long to get your point across. Plus, the most precious screen real estate is going to an all caps monstrosity that provides zero value. I’m going to assume if you’re sending an email it’s because you want me to read it. Here’s a better approach – pick out a specific thing to hook them in, like a pain point that resonates with your audience.
“We’re changing our awful expenses process” – 10/10 would click!
Raise your hand if you’ve read an email on your phone today. As I expected, it’s all of you. On mobile, subject lines can be even more critical because there is very little body text preview included. Think about how busy reporters might receive your early morning pitch – my first email check is on my phone from my bed – or later in the evening commuting home on public transit as many do who live in major cities. Short, catchy, to-the-point subject lines are going to be more successful.
“How ‘RandomStartup’s’ AI is transforming analytics,”
you might try,
“Advanced analytics: AI, BI or BS?”
This ties into recent storylines and provides a content overview making it both timely (one of the 10 news elements) and informative. Or you can go right after the problem the company is solving, Interest in AI + organized crime? Yes, I am! And you’ve hit on another news element: human interest.
Pitching Meetings at a Conference? Get right to the point:
“Meet w/ RandomStartup CEO at HIMSS?” or “HIMSS news – meet w/ RandomStartup?”
If you’re pitching a more well-known company, you can probably get away with the first option. For those with newer companies, leading with the fact you have news at the show will likely be your best bet.
Media tour? “Meet w/ badass female tech founder on 5/17?”
A reporter who is out of town on that date can move on without even opening the email – how thoughtful of you!
Don’t take this all to mean that the content of the actual email doesn’t matter, it definitely does, and you won’t win any friends with clickbait if your subject lines don’t ultimately have anything to do with the information offered. But, being more thoughtful in crafting your opening line can pay dividends. Revising this title, I’ll leave you with 3 tips to get your pitches read.
Need advice when it comes to the best email practices? Reach out to us today!