I thought I’d bring it up not to excuse myself if I’ve ignored / ghosted you (though sorry if I have!), but to highlight what makes PRs’ emails stand out in a clogged journalist’s inbox.
Naturally, things marked ‘urgent’ or with ‘high priority’ status draw attention. But when red exclamation marks are used inappropriately – bizarrely common alongside press releases – it only serves to irk.
Besides those that appear pressing – and ones from familiar names that I have tight relationships with – the subject lines help me prioritise what appear most relevant.
I’m sure this all seems obvious, but by dipping into my inbox right now, there are many subjects that aren’t as grabby as perhaps intended. Take these:
– Kickstart your new healthy habits
– Whatever the weather, this works!
– Press release: It’s time for a spring fling
– New Launch! Summer’s best buy
Others, which I’ve actually clicked on, lead with a practical opener such as ‘Interview:’ and ‘Invite:’ which clearly present opportunities. Or something exciting, like the mention of a relevant celebrity’s name, claim of TikTok virality, a short stat or a hashtag that’s trending. The reference of my own work or brand franchise (eg, ‘Bazaar’s Skin School interview?’) works well, too. Whatever the intent, they don’t waste words.
I’ll never be an ‘Inbox Zero’ person. I don’t have a tight enough grip on my life admin for that. But hopefully as I continue to get more emails, I’ll be compelled to open more, too.