People often ask me for tips on writing subject lines for pitch emails.
What’s the sole purpose of the subject line?
To get the recipient to open the email. Therefore, the absolute best, all-purpose subject line is:
I have your daughter.
I’ve found some formulas that work and have shared some of them previously via these emails. But what I really want to tell people when they ask that question is something different.
You know what’s even more important to a journalist or blogger than the subject line of your pitch email?
It’s what is in the “from” column.
You want the journalist to see the email is from you and think,
Oh, [name] knows what I cover and only writes me with relevant, concise ideas. So even though I’m super-busy, I’m gonna open this email over the other 30 that came in since I checked last.
How do you get to that point? Try to lay the groundwork of your relationship BEFORE you have a story to pitch. Write to your key target journalists to let them know what you think of their work. Share useful info from third-parties. Tell how you’re sharing their work more widely.
When you do this correctly, they write back, and you have a nice little dialogue. And then, a little while later, when you actually have something to pitch, you really do have the absolute best subject line ever:
The “re: . . .” subject line of a successful previous email conversation.
P.S. If your reaction to this post is, “Yeah, sounds great, but I don’t have time to ‘lay the groundwork,’” I understand. I’ve been there. Work your best subject line magic for your cold email, but then really think about tweaking your workflow and processes so you can reach out to these key influencers BEFORE the next time you really need something from them.
P.P.S. Of course, there’s more you need than just a subject line to engage journalists and influencers successfully. I’d like to help you learn those field-tested skills. See below.