Building creative pitches, message points, and more

How do I create a subject line that will get the attention of reporters?

Media outreach
How do I create a subject line that will get the attention of reporters?

In today's PR 2.0 world of media relations, an attention-grabbing e-pitch subject line is critical.

“Those few words have to leap off the screen,” says Bradley Daves, MD of Loving & Company. “A great subject line is informative, unique, and harder-working than any headline you've ever written.”

First, be specific, he says. Make it clear to the recipient that you have valuable information that is of particular interest. Second, be provocative; your goal is to pique interest. Yet, this does not mean misleading. Nothing turns a reporter off more quickly than feeling as if he or she has been duped. Lastly, be timely, Daves adds. Make it clear that what you have is pertinent to the now.

“Approach the development of your e-pitch subject line strategically and creatively, and you will open more doors and get more ink that matters,” he says.

Message points
Should I tell my clients to memorize message points?

There are a few problems that come into play when memorizing message points, says Jess Todtfeld, president of Media Training Worldwide.

“Memorization of blocks of text usually results in the client sounding boring and canned,” he says.

A way to avoid this it to write out everything that you'd really like to put in the interview and then group it into three distinct categories, he adds. Those categories should have one to a few short words as their heading.

For example, three sample message categories could be “Problem, Solution, Call to Action/Brand Mention.” Remembering these is easier on the client, and creates more results, Todtfeld notes.

“The headings become your message points,” he says. “And if any of the original answers don't fit the three categories, get rid of them.”

Value proposition
What can PR pros do to emphasize value during the current economic situation?

Every client is looking to its PR team to provide value and produce results. With an economic downturn prompting businesses to look at every activity affecting the bottom line, this has never been more important.

“The key is to work effectively, streamlining unnecessary activities to focus on activities that will give the most bang for your retainer buck,” says Stephanie Barnes, account executive at Shift Communications.

Tools like Twitter should be used to keep abreast of noteworthy announcements and events pertaining to your clients, she adds. Proactive reporting and requests for feedback on relevant topics demonstrate that you're in the know and constantly working on their behalf.

“Initiating discussions between key analysts and your client in a manner that ultimately allows them to interact directly has many benefits,” Barnes says. “It allows the client to develop a more meaningful... relationship.”

Send your questions to: Please contact Beth Krietsch if you are interested in contributing to PR Toolbox or to suggest ideas for future columns.

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