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Producers, reporters, and editors receive hundreds, if not thousands of pitches a day. When I was a journalist, I could barely keep up with my inbox between media pitches and the need to respond to emails from my colleagues and bosses for a television segment I was working on. I have been on the receiving end of thousands upon thousands of pitches, and if the pitcher didn’t grab my attention with the subject line, the email would get automatically deleted and never read. I don’t want that to happen to you!
If you’ve been pitching the media and aren’t getting many responses or any responses for that matter, you may be able to make one simple tweak before considering starting over with a new pitch.
The problem with lack of response from the media may actually lie within your email subject line.
Yes, you read that right. An email subject line can make or break a pitch. This is your one shot at grabbing a journalist’s attention and getting them to open your email. Subject lines that are too wordy, and don’t get to the root of the problem and expertise you are offering right away, will be deleted forever. This I can promise you.
Pitch subject lines should be punchy, buzzy, short, simple, and concise. They should state the problem and then have your expertise and credibility as offering a solution. Bottom line: You need to tell a journalist what your pitch is, and what type of expertise you offer, in less than a sentence.
If you don’t want your media pitch to end up in a journalist’s ethernet wastebasket, consider a few of these tactics that will make quick easy changes. Oftentimes, a problem with the pitch is just the subject line and therefore you should look to make a few tweaks.
Here are some tips:
Address a problem: Use a new study, a breaking news story, and a timely news hook to grab a journalist’s attention:
Example using a timely news hook: Parents Need To Teach Kids About Money: Financial Expert & Author AVAIL FOR INTVS Ahead of April’s Financial Literacy Month
Example using a study/data: 1 in 5 Americans Contribute Less To Retirement Since COVID: Expert Reveals Tips To Get Finances Back On Track In 2021
If you want to comment on a breaking story, SAY SO! You can literally write the word “BREAKING” in your comment line.
Example using breaking news: BREAKING: US Investigating Origins of COVID-19, Trace To Wuhan Lab **INTVS AVAIL w/ WHO Advisor**
Highlight your expertise! Journalists need to know what type of expert you are or your credibility in your pitch. And if your pitch isn’t a fit for what they are working on right now, they may be able to use you as a source for other stories!
Example: Moms On The Brink: Psych. & Mom Of 4 Reveals Tips For Moms To Navigate Stress At Home After A Year Of Pandemic **INTVS AVAIL**
Abbreviate where you can. You don’t need to spell out everything. Abbreviate states, and even the word “interview” can be shortened to “INTV”. Available can be shortened to “AVAIL”
Be careful with all caps! I hated getting an all CAPS email when I was a journalist. Please don’t do that. Everything is already stressful enough in a newsroom. Instead, I usually make just a few words “pop” by using caps so it grabs the producer’s attention. Words such as “BREAKING”, “NEW”, “STUDY”, or “INTV AVAIL”.
Try out a few subject lines to various journalists and see which one gets the most response. I recommend playing around with a few different subject lines and sending different ones to different producers. See what resonates and what doesn’t.
Making simple tweaks to your subject line could change everything for you when it comes to getting a response from the media.
Try these tactics and let me know how it works out for you!