The power of ‘you’


To get inspiration for subject headers on pitch e-mails for features, I look at the covers of US magazines from a decade ago.

Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Elle - they knew how to draw the reader in with irresistible cover lines. Examples? ‘Look younger overnight’ ‘The best jeans for you’ ‘Get your best body’ ‘The miracle in your fridge.’

Because, at base, all of us like to be offered an insider secret, or a solution to a problem, or to feel understood or validated.

Yesterday I got an e-mail from hypnotherapist Malminder Gill.

‘What does your lockdown behaviour say about you?’

She offers you a choice of eager extrovert, acceptingly agreeable, conscientious and crafty, researching resistor or adapting and agile.

It’s a clickbait tactic as old as time (way before clickbait was a thing). We like thinking about ourselves. Simple.

And whilst we are on the personal - editors, writers, influencers - though we know we consider readers of different genders, class and ideologies - if an idea/product/treatment/spa speaks to our own needs and interests, we are 100 x more likely to pick up on it.

So pitch your client or service to a relevant hack. Anti ageing to a twenty something is less likely to result in a bite than if you are speaking to a forty something who is feeling bad about their crows feet. Ditto avoid selling in your lipo doctor to a journalist who is fiercely body positive.

All of which may seem obvious, but is easily forgotten. Don’t YOU think?