How to Write Pitch Email Subject Lines and Get the Media’s Attention

When you’re pitching to a media representative, everything counts. Your news has to be relevant to their audience and of interest to them. And your pitch has to not only pique their interest but also sell them on your story. You’re competing, potentially, with dozens of other pitches (or more) as well. Every word counts, including your subject line. In fact, your subject line may be the most important element of your pitch email because if it doesn’t grab attention, your email may not get read.


Here are a handful of tips, best practices, and tactics to write pitch email subject lines that get the media’s attention.

  1. Personalize the Subject Line – Researching the media representative before you pitch is imperative. You have to understand their audience, their publication, and why they’d be interested in your story. Carry your research into your subject line and personalize it. Be very specific as to why they would be interested in what you are pitching.
  2. If You Have a Connection, Mention It – If you have any relationship or connection with the reporter, mention it in the subject line. Let them know if you’ve worked together in the past or if you both know a particular person. It lends to your credibility and it will motivate most media representatives to open the email.
  3. Is it An Exclusive? – If you’re only pitching to one media representative, offer them an exclusive and mention that in the subject line. Journalists prefer to be the only one covering a story and may be more likely to open an email that promises an exclusive. However, if you do offer an exclusive, make sure to honor that commitment. Don’t send the story idea to other journalists if you’ve already promised it to someone.
  4. Original and raw data? – If you’ve conducted research or are releasing a study, mention that in the subject line. Again, it adds to your credibility and for a journalist, raw data is a positive thing. It’s something they can run a story on and it gives them the data and information that they need.
  5. Keep It Simple – Brevity is key here. You don’t want to write a paragraph. Keep it as short and simple as possible. Include keywords, if relevant, but don’t make it a sales pitch. Facts are key here. Yes, you want to convince the journalist to cover your story, but you’re not “Selling” them. Leave the sales copy headlines for marketing materials and keep your email pitch headline on the straight and narrow.

Practice writing subject lines and track your results. Depending on your industry and the media representatives that you’re pitching to, you may do best with certain headline style or format. Tracking your results and following up on them is an important part of the process. Keep these five tips and best practices in mind when writing your next pitch email.

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Anthony Santiago is Director of Marketing at Newswire. With over a decade of experience in PR, he helps ensure that clients understand the value of brand messaging and reach.

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