When you’re creating the perfect press release, you need to start with effective media subject lines. The best press releases are those that precisely outline each of their main points, have a crystal clear message and the right tone – right from the headline. Combine all of this with stunningly sharp graphics and you’ll find yourself with a press release that captures media attention and earns you media coverage in all the right outlets.
The right subject line is also important when you’re sending email pitches. Unfortunately, most people hit ‘send’ without taking the time to craft an effective subject line. It’s common for people to just improvise in a few seconds and hit send since they don’t have time to linger on it. While this might seem like a small deal, failure to develop an effective subject line can easily ruin your prospects of getting published.
Simply put, if you don’t take the time to develop a compelling subject line, then your carefully designed pitches will most likely be ignored. If the subject line doesn’t strike a chord, the person in charge of the editorial inbox will simply mark the email as archived, and it will go unread. In other words, you might as well say goodbye to any kind of media attention.
Before we dive down into some tips on creating an effective media pitch subject line, we will first look at what a media pitch is.
What is a media pitch?
Before we begin, keep in mind that journalists and editors are bombarded with press releases and other requests for their time and attention.
According to a recent survey from journalists, 46.5% of media professionals receive at least 11 pitches every day, while 28.64% receive more than 26.
A media pitch is a brief, succinct email (or letter, in the past) that is sent to a journalist or influencer to introduce a brand, project or product to them. People send pitches in the hopes that these media professionals will create content related to the subject of the pitch and present this content to their audience. A media pitch is similar in length to an elevator pitch. However, the message is tailored to the journalist or influencer’s interests rather than being generic.
Effective media pitches require individualized contact and research ahead of time to learn about a journalist’s or influencer’s interests, topics of coverage, and how you can add to their beat.
Keep in mind that excellent media pitches rely on the concept of reciprocity. The journalist is doing you a favor by covering your brand or featuring you in a piece. Ultimately, by doing this, they are helping you gain more exposure for free.
Principles to follow when pitching
Being tactical and using targeted approaches when it comes to media relations is essential.
1) Adopt a personal approach
There’s a reason we call it media relations – after all, you need to build relationships with members of the media. You must get to know the journalist, including their passions, pertinent subjects they’ve covered, and the exact locations where their pieces appear. Then, throughout your pitch, you need to show off your knowledge. Additionally, you should explain why you’re approaching them in particular. Show that you care by being friendly and showing that you understand what they’re going through.
2) Make the journalist’s work easy
Ascertain that photos and other visual assets are ready and approved, that spokespeople are identified (and briefed), and that case studies are created. Have everything the media professional that you’re pitching will require on hand and ready to go. If a journalist has to do too much work to get missing facts, understand your technical jargon or dig for your contact information so that they can follow up with you, then you will lose their interest.
3) Be clear
Journalists have little time and are overwhelmed with hundreds of ideas every day, so it’s important to be succinct and direct. You should be clear about what the story is about and why this is a good opportunity for them (including any unique aspects). Demonstrate the news value of your story and highlight its relevance and importance to their target audience. Your pitch must be valuable; otherwise, a journalist will be less likely to open another email from you.
4) Make your pitch timely
Make sure you’re up to date on what’s going on in the world around the time of your launch, as well as what the journalist is working on. Perhaps you’ll need to refer to or connect with specific dates, or maybe you’ll want to avoid them altogether. Then, when you pitch, give the journalist ample time before the story goes online so they can plan how they’ll cover it. Follow up a few days before the article goes live to give them a nudge.
What makes a good media pitch subject line?
With the knowledge that journalists receive multiple media pitches on a daily basis, it is essential to know how to create a media pitch that will stand out from the rest. This means having a good media pitch subject line to entice the media professionals to actually open and read the email.
So, what determines whether or not an email subject line is effective? We’ve compiled a list of pointers to help you make yours stand out:
1) Keep it short
You demonstrate your respect for the individual on the other side of the screen through brevity. Keeping your email subject line short says, “I understand you have a lot on your plate, so I’ll be brief.” According to studies, the longer the subject line, the lower the open rate. So, how long should the subject line of your media pitch be? According to experts, you should try to keep it within ten words. Additionally, several studies suggest that the more successful email subject lines have an average length of 44 characters.
Getting rid of characters is a difficult task. Including too much information in your subject line, on the other hand, will not only cause it to be chopped off in most preview panes, but it will also reduce the chances of your pitch being spotted in an overflowing mailbox.
2) Offer clarity
Creating email subject lines for marketing emails is one thing, but subject lines for media pitches are quite another. In either case, we prefer to avoid those that are very salesy. Journalists and editors, in particular, will get irritated by a misleading or sensational headline. If you want your recipients to connect with your email, then you should keep the fluff to a minimum and clearly express the value for the journalist’s audience.
Tip: Many PR professionals will title their emails with the words “pitch” or “press release” to make it apparent to journalists that they are getting a possible article rather than clickbait. If you choose to do this, keep in mind that this already reduces the length of your headline by one to two words.
3) Watch out for spam filters
As a customer, having more stringent spam filtering is a benefit. As a public relations professional, these filters may be a nightmare. Use of salesy words (look out for words like limited time*, sale*, and offer*), excessive use of capital letters (no one wants to be yelled at), imbalanced image-to-text ratio, and other formatting faux pas such as the misuse of emojis will all be penalized. If you want to make sure your message doesn’t get up in the spam bin, avoid using these features in your subject lines.
4) Make it personal
As Dale Carnegie once said, “A person’s name is the sweetest and most important sound in any language to that individual.” While personalizing an email takes time and effort, you should, at the very least, state the recipient’s name. However, referring to a common link, one of their recent pieces, or a trend that is pertinent to the journalist’s beat are all excellent add-ons. The most important thing is to show how your narrative complements the material they’ve already published. Personalizing your email is an effective way to grab your reader’s attention.
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5) Avoid clickbait
The subject line of your email isn’t a Daily Mail headline. While stimulating curiosity and establishing a sense of urgency are both effective psychological techniques, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of using clickbait. As a public relations professional, your job is to enhance email engagement, not pitch a specific product. Your first objective should be to establish trust with your media contacts. If you use clickbait, you will have failed your brand because once a journalist realizes that you exaggerated or sensationalized your news, they’re unlikely to ever engage with you.
- You should devote the same amount of time developing your headline as you do to producing your content. The same applies to your subject line.
- Write 3-5 distinct email subject lines after you’ve finished your press release and email pitch. Narrow it down to two based on which ones you’re most likely to open.
- What is the name of the sender you’re currently using? Do you send emails from ABC Company or a specific person’s email address? You can raise your open rates by as much as 35 percent by using a personal address.
- Don’t jump on trends that aren’t linked to your story to get a journalist’s attention. To make your story more relevant to a journalist, for example, adding “COVID-19” to the subject line can backfire. If the journalist opens your email and discovers it isn’t what you promised, you’ll most certainly be blacklisted.
Media pitch subject line examples
We’ve collected a short list of good subject lines that you can refer to for inspiration when writing your own:
- Here’s how Microsoft is setting a new standard in the metaverse space.
- Nike hopes to upcycle sneakers with recycled ocean materials
- WeddingWire creates real-time management software for easier wedding planning
- Kanye West Launches Next Generation Self-smart Sneakers
- Dogecoin launches decentralized meme token to provide better rewards for users
- IBM uses AI technology to help companies through the hiring process
Even when you maximize every aspect of your PR strategy, capturing attention in today’s environment is challenging. Investing a little extra time and thought into your subject lines will help you generate the level of engagement that you’re looking for.
Follow these media outreach suggestions to get the most out of what is generally the first point of contact with the media and increase your chances of landing a favorable response to your email pitch.