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7 Tips For Writing A Great Media Pitch Subject Line For Press Release

7 Tips For Writing A Great Media Pitch Subject Line For Press Release

When you think about writing a press release, you probably think about developing a message that attracts attention, is informative, and provides media contacts with all of the information they want in order to persuade them to become more interested.

Keith Peterson
Last updated: Nov 29, 2021 | Nov 16, 2021

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When you think about writing a press release, you probably think about developing a message that attracts attention, is informative, and provides media contacts with all of the information they want in order to persuade them to become more interested.

Every word counts in the body of a press release, and the objective is always to convert interest into media attention. But, with so much emphasis on the press release, it's easy to neglect a critical piece of text when it's time to send it out—the subject line of your media pitch.

We all know that journalists receive a large number of pitches every day, and one method they deal with the torrent of emails is to examine the subject lines of those pitches. A one-line statement that is ambiguous, imprecise, or dubious might lead to a quick trip to the "Delete" button. If you're very unfortunate, it can forever connect your name with something journalists believe they should ignore.

The subject line is frequently your initial point of contact with journalists, and it sets the tone for the rest of the email. It is just as crucial to do it right as it is to get the idea through. Here's how to improve your chances of getting your email pitches in front of journalists, complete with suggestions, samples of outstanding subject lines, and more.

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7 Tips For Writing A Great Media Pitch Subject Line

Let's start with a few things to keep in mind while writing media pitch subject lines that will help your pitch receive the clicks, opens, and engagement you seek. Here are our top seven suggestions:

Keep It Short

There are two compelling reasons for this. The first is enforced by email service providers, who, depending on the service, allow between 60 and 80 characters in subject lines. The other issue is focusing on the objective of your communication and going straight to the point. This is not the time for ambiguous allusions to what's inside your message—simplify things and make it clear to recipients what they'll discover within your mail.

As a general guideline, if your subject line requires more than eight to 10 words, you're doing it incorrectly. Subject lines for press releases are not the place for lengthy discussions of anything. Short and uncomplicated is always the best way to go.

Don’t Impress With Style

To make a PR pitch subject stand out in a crowded inbox, too many people believe they must create clever, tabloid-style headlines. In fact, editors and journalists will warn you that this is exactly what you should not do.

The reason for this is that attempting to be humorous or controversial sets off the clickbait detector. Remember that you're attempting to utilize your subject line to convey the concept that there is useful stuff inside your email that can be readily translated into intriguing content for their readers. This isn't a warm-up for a stand-up routine or a script for a sitcom.

Being direct and detailed in your PR pitch email subject line isn't dull; it's respecting journalists' time while increasing your chances of interaction.

Beware Of Spam Filters

Let's keep on topic here by reminding ourselves that crossing the boundary from "boring" to "interesting" comes with hazards. When it comes to press release subject lines sent by email, the same rules apply as they do for any other communication.

Sales language, excessive capitalization or punctuation, and other formatting features are exactly what cause spam filters to take action and move your message to a location where it is unlikely to be viewed, let alone opened.

The prospect of your communication being lost in the ether due to spam filters is possibly the most compelling argument in favor of keeping things simple and clear. Avoid marketing jargon, define your pitch plainly, and the subject line of your press release will work for you rather than against you.

Mention A Connection To What's Within Your Email

This is a continuation of the preceding point about being upfront about why you're contacting a certain media contact. A typical example is the addition of phrases such as "Subject concept," "Background on XXXX," or some reference to a trend or ongoing story that a journalist is covering. It's another approach to indicate that you're writing for a specific cause that warrants a look, as well as a hint about what they'll discover in your pitch.

When you frame your press release subject line as an invitation to assist, you're framing the conversation as something that benefits both sides. You make it simple for a journalist to start something fresh or build on what they've already begun. It's normal for you to stand out from the crowd when you make a presentation about how you can help them.

Make Your Subject Lines Unique

Most PR solutions allow you to include personalization tokens in your subject line.

When utilizing names in your subject line, keep in mind that the customization should continue throughout the body of the letter itself. Putting a name on top of a one-size-fits-all message with your email sender does not deceive anyone.

Personalize your message content using references to past emails, discussions, or encounters, or anything else that demonstrates that this message was created specifically for them. Obviously, if you say you're going to follow up on anything, be sure you're actually going to follow up on something. This is where segmentation comes into play—if you meticulously classify and organize contacts based on where they are in a funnel, personalization becomes a lot easier and more successful.

Use "PR" Or "Press release" In The Subject Line (Or not?)

This is a difficult one since there are valid points on both sides of the issue.

On the one hand, using "PR" or "Press release" in your subject line clarifies what your communication is about and distinguishes it from sales or spammy messages. As previously stated, getting to the point and being upfront about why you're contacting someone is always a good thing.

Some journalists, on the other hand, maybe offended if they find your letter branded as a "Press release." The matter appears to be fairly evenly divided in terms of opinion.

According to research, while mails with "PR" in the subject line may have a minor increase in open rates, this does not convert into greater click rates, which is the more relevant measure.

The recommendation here is to rely on the statistics you use to assess engagement and base your choice on that. Using "PR" or "Press release" in the subject line of your PR pitch email appears to be a risk/reward calculation that varies quite a bit.

Mention Any Multimedia Components

According to research, media pitches that include graphs, movies, and other interactive features get much better levels of engagement. It should go without saying that if you have such materials to support your pitch, you should absolutely use them.

When you use them, be sure to add a reference to them in the subject line of your email.

"Video demonstrates...", "See how...", or "Watch..." are all excellent ways to begin your subject line and pique readers' curiosity in what's within. Multimedia features not only convey your tale more compellingly, but they also provide a type of shortcut by getting your point over more swiftly and effectively—all of which win points with journalists.

Use your subject line to convince them that your pitch will save them time while also presenting your pitch in an entertaining and useful manner.


Even if you maximize every aspect of your public relations efforts, being noticed in today's hectic environment is difficult. Ignoring even a minor edge you may acquire with the limited real estate available in your email pitch subject lines just makes things more difficult. Putting a little extra time and effort into your subject lines can help you obtain the engagement you want.

Follow these suggestions to make the most of what is typically the initial point of contact with journalists and increase your chances of finding a receptive audience for your email pitch.

Should I Send Press Release In Word Or PDF?

The PDF is the "static" king. Press releases are often made available to journalists by firms who maintain a news- or pressroom on their website. It is, in fact, a great practice to do so. However, if a newsroom solely has PDF releases, the public relations department will suffer in terms of conversion, engagement, and measurement.

Who Do You Send A Press Release To?

Individual journalists in the media have their own specialty (referred to as a "beat"). Instead of sending your press release to a news outlet's general email address, direct it to the individual most interested in whatever subject you're writing about.

Keith Peterson | I'm an expert IT marketing professional with over 9 years of experience in various Digital Marketing channels such as SEO (search engine optimization), SEM (search engine marketing), SMO (social media optimization), ORM (online reputation management), PPC (Google Adwords, Bing Adwords), Lead Generation, Adwords campaign management, Blogging (Corporate and Personal), and so on. Web development and design are unquestionably another of my passions. In fast-paced, high-pressure environments, I excel as an SEO Executive, SEO Analyst, SR SEO Analyst, team leader, and digital marketing strategist, efficiently managing multiple projects, prioritizing and meeting tight deadlines, analyzing and solving problems.


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