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Writing a Great Subject Line for Your Pitch

You have an awesome pitch, and now it’s time to send it by email to the reporter of your choosing. And while you probably thought composing the pitch was the hardest part, the truth is that you still have one of the largest challenges ahead — getting the reporter to open your email. How can you guarantee that they won’t simply ignore (or delete) your pitch without ever even glancing at it?

Well, first of all, you can never guarantee anything. However, there are a few things you can do to up the odds a little bit. That being said, the number one step you can take to get noticed is to write a killer subject line for your email. Think about it, your pitch is sitting in the inbox of a reporter who probably gets 100 unsolicited pitches every day. If you were them, how would you go about sorting through them? First you’d probably look for names you recognized, although I can’t really help you there. But next, you’re going to look for a subject line that pops out and grabs you, right?

So the question is, how can you write a subject line that will convince the journalist to open your email and at least give your pitch a fighting chance? Here are a few pointers to get those creative juices flowing:

  • Be timely — First and foremost, when it comes to news, it has to be current. Your subject line needs to obviously have to do with something that’s going on right now — not yesterday, not last week, not last year. Journalists are looking for the next big story, not yesterday’s news that’s already been covered…unless your pitch somehow plays off a different angle.
  • Show them you read their work — While you shouldn’t be digging up old news to make it sound fresh, it is a good idea to try and refer to a piece the reporter has written. For example, if they recently wrote about new apps that help entrepreneurs and you created one that falls in line, your subject line might include something like “app x makes young entrepreneur’s lives easier (as per blah blah story).”
  • What do they like to write about? — Is there a particular topic the reporter tends to focus on? If so, you better know it…do your homework! And once you know what they like to cover, make sure you focus on their beat in the subject line. For example, if they typically write about technological advances, you might have a subject like “latest tech advancement: (insert your story).”
  • Study — Last but not least, to get better at writing subject lines, you need to make sure you study up on published ones. In other words, open that newspaper, scan through popular websites, read magazines; wherever you can find subject lines, read them and take note. The more you’re exposed to them, the better time you’ll have writing them. After all, they say the best writers are prolific readers.

Ever had your email pitch read by a journalist? What was your subject line?

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab your free 160-page copy of the Big Press Release Book – Press Releases for Every Occasion and Industry here: http://www.ereleases.com/insider/bigbook.html

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