Retail PR & Digital Marketing

How To Write Media Pitch Subject Lines That Capture Journalists’ Attention

ChicExecs Senior VP of PR and Digital Marketing Kristen Wessel shares how to write media pitch subject lines that capture journalists’ attention on Forbes blog. Enjoy this recap from the piece.

If you’re sending out dozens of pitches and haven’t heard back, try tweaking your subject lines with these seven tips.

1. Avoid Spam Trigger Words

Many email clients will filter your message to the Spam or Trash folders if it contains spammy-sounding words and phrases. Even though you might want to use words like “sale,” “now,” or “limited time,” they can set off alarm bells.

2. Drop In A CTA

Aside from giving you a feature, is there something you want the journalist to do after they see your message? Try to drop in a call to action that gives them clarity or value. Something like “Pitch: Phoenix makeup biz goes plant-based [samples available]” can get a journalist’s attention.

3. Don’t Scream At Them

Subject lines in all caps definitely get attention, but for all of the wrong reasons. Typing in all caps makes it seem like you’re yelling at the recipient. It can even make you look demanding and difficult, which certainly doesn’t make you look like a good source to journalists. You might be able to use caps on one word for emphasis, but generally speaking, it’s better to stick with sentence case.

4. Just Say No To Clickbait

Look, clickbait can work for news stories, but most journalists don’t want to see it in their inboxes. Subject lines like “You won’t believe this” or “Open for an incredible story” take up a lot of room, don’t have a lot of real substance and will likely make journalists roll their eyes.

5. Offer An Exclusive Story

Seventy-six percent of journalists will be more likely to cover a story if you offer them an exclusive, according to 2019 Muck Rack data. Mention in your subject line that you’re giving the reporter an exclusive scoop with something like: “[Exclusive] pitch: 50% of San Francisco women want to leave jobs.”

6. Personalize The Subject Line

The more relevant you can make your pitch’s subject line, the better. While you can drop the reporter’s name into the subject line pretty easily, that might not be enough to personalize the subject line.

Instead, drop in relevant details like your location, the reporter’s beat or the name of the outlet you’re pitching.

7. Keep Your Subject Line Short

It might sound like you need to cram your subject line full of lots of details, but the best thing you can do is to keep it short and sweet. Actually, most email clients cut off subject lines at 60 characters or less. Keep it shorter than 60 characters and no more than 10 words.

Read Kristen’s entire blog here.


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