You know how busy your inbox is? Aaaalllll those emails that you scroll through, probably deleting most of them without even opening them up?
That's what you're sending your pitch into - a whirling vortex of constant emails flowing into your target journo's inbox, so your subject line NEEDS TO BE KILLER!
You've got to grab that journos attention in a micro-second, stop them scrolling and make them want to know more.
We talk about clickbait in online advertising and direct marketing, but it's just as big a deal in PR and it’s crucial to the success of your pitch!
Your subject line has gotta be attention seeking, spark curiosity, but do it in a way that clearly connects what you're pitching to the audience of the media outlet you're targeting. If you can plug a direct benefit/outcome for the reader or rouse a chuckle, even better!
To give you an example; I recently wrote an article for Collective Hub all about biggest pitfalls and easy-to-make mistakes I see people make over and over again when they’re writing their own media releases.
(You can check out the article here)
The original title I had on the article was changed before publishing to ‘How to Write a Press Release That Doesn’t Suck’. I love this alternate headline the editorial team used, and it’s the perfect example of clearly telling the reader that they’re going to walk away with a tangible outcome or benefit, namely, the knowledge of how to write a non-sucky press release.
The original title I wrote for the article was ‘5 Reasons Why Your Press Release Sucks’. So this is where I’ve used a strong newshook and leveraged it as clickbait.
It’s eye-catching, it tells you exactly what the article is about and immediately tells you that it’s an informative piece (because there’s 5 reasons) and that the tone is probably going to be a little cheeky. (I also used a swear word in my pitch email - if ‘shit’ counts as a swear word :P)
I love Collective Hub, I read the magazine and the online articles all the time. So I’m really familiar with the tone, approach and type of content they regularly feature. I’m also really clear on who their audience is, and that this audience aligns with my ideal client - so when I was writing the article and the pitch it was all specifically targeted at that audience.
Which brings me to the number 1 reason why pitches fail - your headline, and the subject line of your email MUST BE ENGAGING FOR THE AUDIENCE.
Yes make it clickbait, yes be intriguing, cheeky, irreverent, provoking, but make sure you’re aiming it at the end audience, the people who read/watch/listen to the media outlet you’re targeting and make sure that aligns with your ideal client.