Nailing the subject line of your pitch to a journalist

Journalists are inundated with pitches and press releases, the majority of which will be moved straight to their trash without a second’s thought. So how do you nail your subject line so your pitch isn’t immediately disregarded?

Here are a few simple steps to follow to increase the chances of a journalist always opening your email.

Label the subject of your email

This may seem self explanatory but before jumping straight into your subject line it’s a great idea to label it and let the journalist know what it is that your email contains. Are you pitching a press release? Do you have a amazing story idea they would be crazy to miss out on? Or perhaps you have some information regarding the journo request they tweeted, let them know. Simply beginning the email with ‘press release’ or ‘story idea’ can heighten the chances of your email being opened.

Is your release exclusive?

Does your release contain content that could be sold in exclusively? Another way to get your email opened is to pick a specific publication or journalist and offer this to them exclusively before sending the release to anyone else. If your email content is relevant, many publications are far more likely to publish your story if they have received this exclusively before any other journalists and especially before their competitors. Label your content line *exclusive* before press release and this should grab the journalists attention.


Sell your story

When writing an email subject line you should try avoiding puns and play on words, although you may think this is clever or witty it could potentially leave you in the trash as many journalists will see this as too ‘fluffy’. The subject line of the email needs to give a full insight of your pitch while still leaving the journalist wondering and needing to know more. You need to get the balance between giving nothing and giving too much – which can be a challenge.

Refrain from writing too much

When trying to squeeze your pitch into a single subject line it can be tempting to ramble to give a journalist your full pitch. However, the perfect size for a subject line is between 6-10 words or 50 characters. If you are finding it difficult to cut down your perfect subject line, cut out any ‘fluffy’ text where possible and stick with the core information that is going to get your email read!

Personal where possible

Another way to attract a journalist’s attention is to create a personalised subject line. If you are emailing a journalist from a certain town/ county with a story about their area you should always put this in your subject line, helping attract their attention. For example if a Manchester business has helped raise thousands of pound for an amazing charity – shout about it – let the journalist know that someone in their town is doing exciting things that they’d be crazy not to cover.

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Tecmark Author Sarah Pearce

About the Author

Sarah Pearce:

Sarah joined Tecmark in March 2016 as our Digital PR apprentice and after a successful year has recently worked her way up to become our Digital PR Executive.

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