How can you get reporters to read your press releases?

By writing headlines that are fantastic!

My friend, sales training expert Jill Konrath wrote a great article about how to write great subject lines for sales letters and there was such great info there that I asked if I could share her article with my readers.

Fortunately for all of us, she said “Yes!”

Read and learn!


How to Write Irresistible Subject Lines

By Jill Konrath

If you’re like most sellers, you don’t pay a lot of attention to the subject lines you put on emails to prospects. They’re an afterthought. No big deal, right?

Totally wrong. Your subject line is the most important part of your message. If it isn’t a good one, your email gets trashed in a nanosecond. In fact, research by ExactTarget (my email newsletter service) shows that the average person spends only 2.7 seconds on a message before deciding if they’ll delete it, forward it, or read it.

Just 2.7 seconds. That’s all the time you have to capture a reader’s attention. That’s why your subject line is so darn critical.

What You Shouldn’t Put in a Subject Line

To avoid auto-deletes, it’s imperative for you to avoid:

  • “Salesy” verbiage. Get rid of words like excited, hot new product, free offer, or special pricing.
  • Information about your company. No one is interested in your new service announcements or company updates except you.
  • Capital letters. Just the first word should be capped. Otherwise it seems like a headline, not a personal message.

Here are several options that have proven effective with today’s crazy-busy prospects.

  • Use a referral. If someone has referred you to this person, put that in your subject line. They’ll want to know why. For example, you might write: Terry Jones said to get in touch.
  • Ask a quick question. If your prospect feels it’s simple and relevant, they’ll take a look. Your subject line might read: Quick question re: new client acquisition challenges.
  • Tempt with ideas or information.My prospects are always interested in subject lines like these:
    • Idea to reduce your sales cycle time
    • How XYZ company increased sales to Fortune 500 companies by 127%
  • Mention a trigger event. If something is happening within the company or in their greater business environment that’s relevant to your offering, bring that up. For example, if you read about a recent merger, you might write: Impact of XYZ merger on (insert relevant business issue you address).

Get the picture? To work, your subject lines must focus on something your prospect cares about. If you do that, they’ll keep reading.

Here’s a major caveat, though. When they start reading your message, it needs to deliver exactly what you promised in your subject line.

If you move into salesy mode or talk about your company, you’ll trigger your prospect’s auto-delete reaction. They can’t control it. And you will lose the opportunity to open the conversation.

Hopefully by now you understand just how critical those simple little subject lines are to your sales success. I suggest you sit down right now and create 10 new subject lines you can use in the upcoming weeks.

Finally, start your experiment. See if you can tell which subject lines are most effective with your prospects. Then create variations of the same theme. You’ll immediately see the difference in your sale success.

Jill Konrath is the author of SNAP Selling (#1 Amazon sales book) and Selling to Big Companies, a Fortune “must read” selection. As a frequent speaker at sales conferences, she helps sellers crack into new accounts, speed up sales cycles and win big contracts.
For more fresh sales strategies that work actually with today’s crazy-busy prospects, visit