When trying to pitch a story to the media, it takes a lot of time and effort researching and coming up with compelling content to reach media outlets and target audiences. However, one aspect of a media pitch that seems to be overlooked or an afterthought is the subject line. Subject lines are too often quickly put together in a rush but should be equally thought about because they are part of the pitch that convinces a media outlet to open the email because it contains essential information. Companies and individuals can make a memorable first impression, and the critical element to ensure that an email is being read rather than overlooked.
In this article, we will look at:
- What is a media pitch?
- How to create compelling media pitch subject lines
- Best email subject line styles to increase open rates
What is a media pitch?
A media pitch is a document, either a letter or email, or phone call, that aims to create interest in a news story to any media professional or media outlet. A successful media pitch is a great way for companies and individuals to gain publicity for their business and build good relationships with the media for potential future coverage.
For a media pitch to pique media outlets’ interest, it needs to be relevant, newsworthy, brief, structured, and timely. Targeting the right media professionals is one of the first steps and essential parts of increasing a company’s chance to get noticed by the right audience. The media pitch being sent out should reflect the interests of the medium and the individual being pitched to. Before sending out their pitch, companies need to do their research and read the content that the contributors have written in the past to see whether their content is in line with what they have already written and whether it is in the field they are attempting to target.
For example, if a company were in the health and beauty industry, they would need to send their pitch to a media outlet that focuses on that industry. If they were to pitch to any others, they will either be unsuccessful or completely overlooked. Secondly, a story needs to be newsworthy and something that audiences will find interesting. With many other pitches that are being sent daily, companies are always having to compete for limited space or broadcasting time. So, they need to provide a different angle to get the media’s attention, whether it is a breakthrough product or something that has never been seen before.
As mentioned before, likely, a company’s media pitch is not the only one being sent to the media outlet. So, in addition to being relevant and newsworthy, it needs to ride the fine line between being brief and informative. It should have all the necessary information to create content for the media outlets, but not too long to get bored or uninterested. It should give the outline details of a news story or article and explain why the product or service would be of interest to the journalist and their audience.
While it is only an outline, companies can also provide their contact information if media outlets need any additional information or want to arrange an interview. A successful pitch should also cover the critical points from a journalist’s perspective and answer the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the company and its products/services.
Answering these questions provides an outline for the content creator to assess the potential of a story. Finally, most media outlets follow a relatively strict deadline process, especially in radio and television or daily and weekly publications. So, when pitching to a target media outlet, companies need to figure out their deadlines and work accordingly to give journalists time to consider their pitch and put together a story.
How to create compelling media pitch subject lines
Much like a narrative hook, which is a literary technique in the opening of a story that gets and retains a reader’s attention, a subject line is what draws target media outlets in to read an email. So, companies need to think about ways to make their memorable first impression rather than it being an afterthought. A survey done by Buzzstream showed that 85% of respondents decided whether to open pitches just based on the subject line alone. So, when it comes to an open-worthy subject line, there are a few things that companies and individuals need to think about before sending their email out.
1) write the subject line first
Authors and writers generally follow the “introduction, body, and conclusion” format because there is a flow to the content being written. The introduction is how to present the content in a piece of writing concisely and gives writers a general outline. The same idea goes with a media pitch. By writing the subject line first, it not only gets the purpose of the pitch out of the way, but it also gives a company an idea and format of what they want to pitch to look like. A key thing to remember is that an email with a blank subject line will more often than not go unread or get lost in the sea of emails in a media outlet’s inbox.
2) Be specific and concise
A subject line is meant to summarize the entire message of the email pitch. Because there is generally a limited amount of space in a subject line, it should ideally be limited to six to eight words and present information to let the media outlet know exactly what to expect. If it seems complicated, try writing the subject line and then eliminate any comments that do not add value.
Sometimes, it can be more effective and more comfortable to hire professionals to create an email pitch and subject line when trying to get the word out there to media professionals. The purpose of PR professionals like Pressfarm is to help startups and companies create content that will help achieve the media outreach they deserve. They help generate email pitches, press releases, and press kits with the company’s information. Pressfarm can will also help you find the right media outlets to pitch through their extensive database and help achieve online visibility.
3) Be straightforward
With so many clickbait emails being sent out daily, sometimes the most effective way to get a media outlet is to be straightforward with the presented information. A mistake that some companies make is trying to be creative with their wording and using unnecessary capitalization and punctuation marks to catch the attention of media outlets. Capitalization is considered to be the digital equivalent of yelling, so rather than giving a media outlet anxiety, try to make the email as easy as possible to read. Studies have shown that emails that got right to the point without all the embellishments got the highest open rates.
4) Play on the media outlet’s interests
As mentioned previously, researching a target media outlet is very important when trying to pitch to them. Finding what they write about and their reporting styles gives companies a clear indication of whether media outlets will be interested in the pitch. Depending on the journalist, using buzzwords or topical information related to their previous content will give them a higher possibility that a reporter will open the email. Another thing to note is that it should be targeted to specific journalists when sending out media pitches, rather than being generic.
Best email subject line styles to increase open rates
Let us now look at some types of email subject lines that can generate a higher open rate.
1) Subjects that generate curiosity
Whether or not we admit it, it is human nature for us to be curious. Creating subject lines that peak interest is more than likely that reporters will click on it. Rather than providing a statement in a subject line, try making a question that people may be interested in. In this case, media outlets and target audiences would click to find out the answer based on the subject line’s question. By stimulating curiosity, a company has increased its open rate and piqued the interest of media outlets.
2) Subjects that communicate urgency
People also tend to have a FOMO case (Fear of missing out) when it comes to certain situations. Creating a subject line that creates a sense of urgency and an email that entices a call-to-action causes media outlets to consider picking up a story quicker so that they don’t miss out on a great opportunity. Setting a deadline or insinuating that there may be others interested in the content causes media outlets to think about creating their own story for their audience.
3) Subjects that are personalized
Media outlets like to feel special and email them because they need their help rather than the other way around. Through thorough research of understanding a specific journalist, their previous content, and writing styles, companies can specialize their subject line to focus on the media outlet’s interests and create and establish long-term relationships for future media outreach.
4) Subject lines that establish a company’s authority and expertise
Regardless of whether a company decides to send out an email pitch, they need to establish themselves as authorities and experts in the field. However, bring media outreach into the mix and give media outlets the confidence that when they decide to write a story about the company, they will be backing a company with expertise in the field. It further helps the reputation of themselves and the company, rather than hinder it.
Creating a media pitch to get media outlets’ attention is all well and good. Still, without a practical and attractive subject line, there is a very high possibility that the email will go unread and forgotten in the sea of pitches that media outlets receive daily. By creating a concise and informative subject line that is targeted towards a specific media outlet, companies have a higher chance of receiving media attention. However, sometimes it can be difficult for companies to figure out how to ride that fine line between concise and informative, which is where PR professionals come in. They will provide the content necessary for further media outreach, but their expert writers are there to help every step of the way.