5 subject line mistakes to avoid when emailing a reporter

For instance, certain words will set off a spam filter. Find out what those words are, along with the four other mistakes.


Chances are that email is one of your most frequently used communication tools. You probably use it to send your press releases to reporters and to market to your customers and prospects.

One of the most important parts of any email is the subject line. Not only does the subject line play a huge role in determining whether someone will open your email, but also it helps determine whether your email will be delivered in the first place. A bad subject line could set off your recipient’s SPAM filter.

With so much riding on your subject line, it’s important to make sure you get it right, and to do that you need to avoid these big mistakes.

1. Including spammy words

Including certain words in your subject line can trigger SPAM filters and prevent your emails from being delivered. Some of the words you should avoid include:

• Free
• Buy
• Money making
• Opportunity
• Make money
• Cash
• Hidden
• Success
• Sex
• Click
• Guaranteed
• Win/winner/won

For a complete list of email SPAM trigger words, check out HubSpot’s full list.

2. Using all capital letters

Some people mistakenly believe that using all capital letters in their subject line is a great way to get the attention of the recipient. What they fail to realize is that using all caps is a great way to trigger SPAM filters. Even if your message gets through, it could annoy the recipient and make you look unprofessional.

3. Lacking clarity

The purpose of the subject line is to let the recipient know what your email is about. You want to be clear and compelling so the recipient will open your email to read more.

Too often, senders sacrifice clarity for cleverness. Here’s an easy way to determine if your subject line is clear enough: Show just the subject line to a friend or colleague who hasn’t read the email, and ask that person the email is about. If she’s unable to answer correctly, it’s probably a good indication that your subject line is unclear.

4. Misleading the recipient

Want to lose the trust of your recipients immediately and permanently? Lie to them. Your subject line should always match the content of the email. If you’re misleading in your subject line, your recipients will feel duped, killing any chances of them responding to your offer or pitch. Be clear and honest.

5. Failing to nail the length

When it comes to subject lines, size matters. If your subject line is too long, it won’t display fully, and the recipient might not understand what the email is about. If it’s too short, you might do a poor job conveying the message of your email. Typically, you can write a good subject line that’s about 5 to 10 words in length.

Mickie Kennedy is the CEO and founder of eReleases and blogs at PR Fuel, where a version of this article originally appeared.

(Image via)

Topics: PR

COMMENT

Ragan.com Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive the latest articles from Ragan.com directly in your inbox.