Make your subject line businesslike

Last week we promised that we’d totally contradict our PR Tip with a new one today. Well, here it is: Don’t mess around trying to be funny – make your subject line businesslike.

OK, so last week we said “Make your subject line attention-grabbing” and we recommended using a funny or clever line to grab a reporter’s attention.

The truth is, sometimes you just don’t have anything funny to say, nor do you have a clever play on words, a tongue twister, or an irresistible teaser. OK, then, suck it up and be straightforward and businesslike. Better that, than to finagle a forced “funny” and find that it falls flat. (Alliterations to be discussed in a later PR Tip.) The point is, if inspiration strikes and you come up with something truly clever, use it. If not, then be confident, clear, and to-the-point.

Most of the time, journalists appreciate simply clear and concise messages. And take heart in knowing that when you’re sending a pitch in response to a journalist’s query, you already have a potentially interested reporter as your audience. He/she has already said, “I’m interested in hearing from a person or business who fits a certain profile.” A subject line that says, in essence, “I’m the person who fits the profile you asked for” is likely to catch interest.

The best trick is to mirror all or a portion of the wording of the query in your subject line. That way, the reporter instantly knows that you are responding to his request and you have something to offer that may fit the needs of the article that he’s working on.

Following are six examples of PR Opportunities – journalists’ queries – and good, clear subject lines you would do well to send in response:

Query: Job Training Opportunities Created by the Stimulus
Subject line: Job Training Opportunities Funded by the Stimulus

Query: Getting More from Household Items and Food — Suddenly Frugal
Subject line: Chef Offers Second-Time-Around Recipes for Frugal Food Use

Query: Diversity in Employee Work Styles
Subject line: Company X Gets It: Diverse Work Styles OK – As Long as Job is Done

Query: Rewarding Employees for Their Green Workplace Solutions
Subject line: Green Workplace Solutions Earn Cash Bonuses at Company X

Query: Getting Over Phobias
Subject line: Phobias are the Focus of Workshops Offered by Renowned Psychologist

Query: Benefits of Yoga in Pregnancy
Subject line: Yoga Teacher – and Mom of Three – Offers Benefits of Yoga in Pregnancy

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