News & Highlights

From Nardi Media

If Your Media Pitch Isn’t Working, Try Tweaking Your Email Subject Line

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!
Happy Pitching!

Tracy Mccubbin


"The biggest piece of advice a first-time author is given is to “hire your own publicist,” but what they don’t tell you is to “hire your own Ashley.”  Looking back, I don’t know how I could have released my book without Ashley & her team.  We started working together before the book was published.  First local TV and small blogs and as I got more seasoned and the book got closer to coming, she booked me appearances on bigger and bigger outlets. 


Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D.

New York Times Best Selling Author of Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin, and Free

"The biggest piece of advice a first-time author is given is to “hire your own publicist,” but what they don’t tell you is to “hire your own Ashley.”  Looking back, I don’t know how I could have released my book without Ashley & her team.  We started working together before the book was published.  First local TV and small blogs and as I got more seasoned and the book got closer to coming, she booked me appearances on bigger and bigger outlets. 


Susan McGinnis

Correspondent, CBS Newspath

“I am so pleased that Ashley is embarking on this new venture. For many years she has shined as an outstanding booker and producer at CBS News and at start-ups including Clean Skies News.  She was my first hire at Clean Skies, and was the shining star among the pack. She has always had  tremendous dedication to her work, and an untiring ability to accomplish whatever faces her, letting no obstacle stand in the way of an outstanding product.  She consistently goes above and beyond expectations, and never takes “no” as an answer, and never settles for less than outstanding. I would hire Ashley again. And again. And again.”


Jennifer Oko

Partner, Mad Squid Media

“Ashley and I have worked together is a few different capacities, including CBS News, energyNOW!. I cannot say enough good things about her. Ashley is smart, thorough, quick, creative, and incredibly hard working. Most importantly, to be a successful media liaison and guest booker, relationships are everything. Ashley is a genuinely lovely person, and she wins the respect and trust of everyone she works with. She is the first person I call whenever I need a guest booker or segment producer.”


Margaret Ryan

Energy Journalist & Analyst

“Ashley Bernardi is a dynamic professional who consistently produces excellent results.  In my three years working with Ashley as the head booker at Clean Skies News/EnergyNOW!, I never saw her fail to complete a job she had been assigned – and complete it admirably. Ashley is creative, energetic and goal-oriented, a true team player who works congenially with other professionals but can also be relied on to execute an assignment on her own. Ashley is the person I wanted on my team when I faced a challenging assignment!”


Hardy Spire

Senior Producer, CNN’s Reliable Sources. Former General Manager at CleanSkies News and Senior Producer at CBS News.

“Ashley Bernardi has every rare quality in a TV producer — aggressiveness, insight, creativity, a strong work ethic, and pure charm.  She has all this plus she’s a kind and positive person.  And she has great contacts!”


Silvio Marcacci

Principal, Marcacci Communications

“Ashley is hands down the best media trainer I’ve ever worked with, and she uses her considerable producing experience to make clients feel at ease and ready to learn. In addition, her ability to book clients on television and radio interviews is quite impressive – be ready for hours of interviews if you’re working with her!”


Mary Jordan

Washington Post National Correspondent and Founding Editor of Washington Post Live

“There is nothing Ashley Bernardi cannot do when it comes to media.  She books top people for TV shows and national conferences and knows the business inside out. I worked closely with Ashley at the Washington Post  and she is not only savvy, but great to be around. She is the always cheerful, smart voice on the other end of the phone who persuades busy people to drop everything they are doing and do what Ashley tells them.”


Scott Behson, PhD

best-selling author of The Working Dad’s Survival Guide: How to Succeed at Work and at Home

“I was a relatively unknown first-time author and Ashley was fantastic in getting my name out there, and ultimately booking me on national TV and radio, as well as major podcasts. She also provided top-notch media training and was always a great listener and advisor. Finally, she was on top of everything and we communicated constantly. I couldn’t have been happier about her efforts on behalf of my book launch!”


Ron Friedman, Ph.D

author of The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace

“Ashley Bernardi is extraordinary at her job in every way. Smart, strategic and relentlessly energetic, Ashley is someone I’d want on my team in any public relations campaign.”