Hatchett PR

creativity, culture, community

HEADLINES GONE WILD! What Does Your Email Subject Say?

When you send emails, do you think about the subject line?  Your headline can be a very effective marketing and PR tool if used thoughtfully.   Recipients will have an idea of what kind of message they are getting, and what tone you are trying to set.  Ultimately more of your emails will be opened, which is what we all want.

You can have fun with headlines.  You can be exuberant.  You can be informative.  But realize that your headline is like a first impression.  You want to put your best words forward.

Like most people, I’ve received some pretty crazy emails with ridiculous or cryptic subject lines.  Here are a few of my favorite bad headlines.

  • Done.  Since I knew the person sending the email I felt obliged to open it.  I wasn’t sure if they were at their wits end and standing on a ledge, or if their cupcakes were baked.  But it turned out that they were telling me that a project had been completed.
  • Shots.  This one got me just a little alarmed. I didn’t know if there had been an outbreak of violence and my contact had been caught in a drive-by shooting, or if they were going out for drinks.  Turns out they wanted some photos.
  • Fergive the short notice.  I could “forgive” the notice, but it was hard to forget the spelling.
  •  Toast lunch.  I thought maybe I was in charge of lunch and that my friend was on a new diet.   It turned out to be an invitation to go at a new restaurant named Toast.
  • Er.  I never did figure out what this headline was supposed to be. 

One of my pet peeves is getting an email that has obviously been forwarded many times.   Usually I don’t even bother to open it, especially if it just says FW: FW: in the headline.  I just hit “delete.”

Are you making a positive impression with your email subject line?  Does it clearly state the topic of your email? This is important when communicating with media, clients, and co-workers.  And for those who are job hunting, the proper subject line will let recruiters and hiring managers know that you are sending your resume or follow-up information.  

My goal is to send emails with subject lines that give an idea of what’s going to be covered in my note.  I enjoy headlines that are memorable, specific, helpful, or humorous.  But ultimately I want to entice the recipient to be interested in reading what I have to say.  

Do you have email headline experiences you’d like share?   If so, let me hear from you.



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