Why Email Subject Lines Matter in PR

Compelling email subject lines are important in marketing to your customers and prospects. If the subject is

Email subject lines are perhaps the most important part of a public relations professional’s communication with reporters.

appealing, many more on your subscriber list may open it, if not, your message will be largely deleted or ignored.

The same rings true in the public relations world. When PR professionals communicate with the media, they are, in a sense, selling a reporter on what their client offers.

In a world where social media channels and the number of users are growing exponentially, email is still your best vehicle to communicate with press. According to PR Daily, 93 percent of reporters prefer to receive public relations pitches via email rather than on Twitter, or any other social media network, for that matter.

And since I’ve already shared that reporters email inboxes are flooded pretty much always, that means your pitch has to be air tight. The first step in crafting a top-notch email pitch is the subject line.

The subject line is the first thing that the reporter sees. If it’s dull or uninteresting – or completely unrelated to their coverage area – your story idea is easily deleted in about 2 seconds. (Feel free to brush up on the importance of the 5 W’s and 1 H here).

A recent project for one of my nonprofit clients, the Center for Independent Living of Bucks County, inspired this blog topic. Staff from the Center had helped a homeless Bucks County man get back on his feet. Their goal was to not only share this success story, but to also obtain additional resources in terms of furniture and other donations.

Compelling photos, in addition to top-notch email subject lines, are paramount in PR outreach.

I struck gold with the following email subject line: “Bristol man moves into apartment after 3 years in a tent.” Within an hour of distributing my pitch on a Friday morning (not the most ideal day to contact reporters), I heard back from three media organizations, including KYW Newsradio 1060, an all-news radio station broadcasting throughout Philadelphia and its suburbs. In all, a half dozen regional and local Bucks County media outlets covered the story.

To help your email subject lines stand out, consider incorporating some, or all, of these tips:

  1. Keep it short

If you can sum up the story in four words, don’t use eight. Only a portion of the email subject will show anyway.

  1. Keep them wanting more

Share enough in the email subject line to pique the reporters’ curiosity and leave them wondering what else they need to know.

  1. Keep it relevant

Write the email subject to coincide with the reporters’ beat and/or the media outlets’ coverage area.

  1. Keep it personal

Reporters don’t appreciate being mass-emailed. Sending the same generic email to everyone on your list will likely land your email in the trash bin.

  1. Keep it professional

A public relations pro can take the guesswork out of communicating with the media. Seasoned PR folks will know who best to contact and how to help in getting your business or nonprofit story told.

Theresa Katalinas worked as a print and online reporter and editor for more than a decade before starting her public relations company in 2014. Much of her nonprofit, small business and municipal government clients’ continued success is due to her knowledge of the inner-workings of the publishing industry. For help getting your business or organization the coverage it deserves, email Theresa at theresa@katalinascommunications.com or call 215-519-8833.

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