When it comes to media pitches, which is better: A long subject line or a short one?

By Marjorie Comer

52462352_sOne of the most critical elements of a pitch is the subject line. It’s the first thing reporters read, aside from your name, when they go through their inbox. Because it’s such an important element, you should put some thought into creating your subject line. There are two sides to the subject line debate: Some say short subject lines work best and others think long subject lines are the better choice.

 


Short

Some people believe that short subject lines get more opens. A short subject line is one that is less than five words. If you really want to gain a reporter’s attention, then consider a subject line that stands out with only one or two words. These tend to get more opens because they appear to be “short and sweet” in a full inbox.


Long

Other people believe that long subject lines of seven or more words work best to gain a reporter’s attention. Long subject lines often provide readers with information they need in order to decide if they want to open the email.


Crafting the subject line

While percentages vary on who prefers the short and long subject lines, you need to make sure your subject line is a fit for you and the reporter you’re pitching. Crafting the best subject line matters as much as the length. Before you draft your subject line, think about recent emails you’ve read – which subject lines made you want to open the email? Consider those that you opened and use them as examples for your future subject lines.


When creating your subject line, think about having it fall into one of these categories:

  • Urgent  – Give reporters a reason they need to open the email, NOW.
  • Intriguing – Pique reporters’ interest with a subject line that makes them want to know more.
  • Free – Do they get to try your product for free? Let them know in the subject line.
  • Action – Action verbs entice the reader to open the email or to take action; include an action in your subject line to motivate the reporter.

No matter what side of the subject line debate you fall on, be sure that your subject line is engaging and actually represents your story. Don’t mislead the reporter with the subject line; this could tarnish the relationship that you and your PR firm have worked hard to establish. And don’t forget about changing your subject line depending on the outlet you’re pitching. For more ideas on gaining media coverage for your company, read Axia Public Relations’ 15 insider tips for earning media coverage for your company.


As for me, I prefer a shorter subject line and often include the reporter’s name. By calling reporters first to alert them of your forthcoming message, you’ll increase your chances of them opening your email. The subject line is a key part of your pitch and telling your story. To learn more about building great relationships with the media, download Axia Public Relations’ complimentary e-book “Learn Media Relations from the Media” today.

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marjorie-newClients love Marjorie’s work ethic, speed and diligence. She has worked with Axia Public Relations since October 2011. Marjorie graduated from Rockhurst University with a Bachelor of Arts in communication and loves to cheer for her hometown Kansas City Royals. Learn more about Marjorie.

 

Featured image credit: 123rf.com 

Topics: Media Relations, Earned media

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