Link Outreach: How to Create Effective Email Subject Lines
Investing time into carefully crafting outreach emails without receiving a single reply is beyond frustrating. It’s likely that a small percentage of those emails landed in inboxes that either aren’t checked frequently or are owned by people who aren’t quite the right target audience for your messaging.
Although your initial instinct might be to start curating a more refined email marketing list, your first step should be to review your email open rate metrics. If this figure is below 5%, your email subject line is probably the issue.
How Much of a Difference Can Subject Lines Really Make?
A great deal! Subject lines have been written about extensively in relation to email marketing, but they are relevant to content promotion too. Although marketing messages are targeted towards audiences who have opted into communications and outreach emails are very much about pitching to people who perhaps aren’t familiar with your brand, getting a foot in the door and encouraging people to give you the opportunity to elaborate is crucial in both situations.
So, what goes into the ideal subject line? Let’s take a look.
Be Specific and Manage Expectations
Audiences want to know what they’re going to presented with before they open an email, so you need to specify both the topic and the format of your content and clearly communicate this in the subject line.
Only Mention Websites by Name if it’s Important
If you are pitching content to bloggers and journalists who only write for one site, you don’t need to mention this in your subject line. You know who they write for, they know who they write for, and no one needs to be reminded. If you are reaching out to someone who often writes for different sites, mentioning the specific website you are targeting will ensure that all parties are on the same page and no one’s time is unnecessarily wasted.
State Your Purpose
Conveying the specific purpose of your email will help editors, journalists and bloggers to clearly identify your communication as a pitch. Including words like ‘story idea’, ‘tip’, or ‘story’ might be helpful, especially if the subject of your content could easily be mistaken for a very different type of communication, such as spam or a sales pitch.
Communicating to your recipient using the kind of language they use should work in your favour because they will likely get the feeling that your content is a good fit for them and their publication(s). Spend a bit of time reading the content that has already been published on your target website, particularly the pieces written or commissioned by the recipient of your email. Are there any particular words that are used often and how do they construct their own titles and headlines?
Don’t prefix a fresh communication with ‘Re:’
Tricking your recipient into opening your email under the pretence of an ongoing conversation won’t help you to secure a link. In fact, it will probably have the opposite effect.
Don’t try too hard
You really don’t need to include superlative adverbs and adjectives. Above all else, keep your phrasing simple and clear.
Monitor your open rates closely and you will soon begin to discover a formula that works for you.