Have you ever sent an email pitching to journalists, only to find you’re met with no response? Chances are your email wasn’t even opened in the first place. With journalists receiving hundreds of messages a day, the reality is that pitches live and die by the quality of a subject line.
While there’s no guaranteed way to get a journalist to open your emails, here are 5 quick tips to make your pitches stand out in a crowded inbox:
- Keep it short: Time is always an asset, and the likelihood that a journalist is reading their emails from a mobile device is quite high. What this means is what was already a small window to get your point across has gotten even smaller. In response, use short, descriptive, 8 to 10-word subject lines. These fare much better than cheesy lures.
- Tell them what you want, but never mislead: This goes hand-in-hand with the previous point. Journalists are busy people and don’t like to be misinformed by deceiving emails. Be upfront and make sure your subject line presents the offer/information clearly so journalists know what you’re emailing about. No matter if you are pitching an exclusive, pre-brief, briefing or resource, let the reporter know right off the bat.
- Make it clever, not confusing: A unique subject line can make your pitch stand out among hundreds of dry, dull emails surrounding it. If you can make the journalist laugh, or even just do a double take, that might help to get your pitch open and read. However, if the subject line doesn’t make sense, or is too cryptic to understand, it can deter a journalist from opening it altogether. A good subject line strikes the balance between being creative and clever.
- Make sure it doesn’t read like spam: The junk folder is your biggest enemy when it comes to pitching. When crafting your subject line, make sure it doesn’t look like just another spam email by avoiding exclamation marks, the word “free” and UPPERCASE LETTERS LIKE THIS.
- Triple check your spelling and grammar: Misspelling words and using incorrect grammar is a surefire way to guarantee your emails won’t be opened. While we’ve all used the wrong they’re, there or their at some point, when dealing with journalists, these errors may be the difference between whether your email is opened, let alone read. Simple errors can give off the impression that you don’t have the time or interest to check your work, so don’t just double check, but triple check your subject line (and, more importantly, the message within the email) before you send your pitch off.
Faced with a plethora of pitches each vying for their attention, journalists are getting savvier about their emails and want to clean out their inbox as quickly as possible. To prevent being dumped straight to the trash, remember these tips to get more eyeballs on your pitch.