This is the best PR campaign I've ever seen…

I am being inundated with e-mail.  Spam seems to be increasing even with clever server-side and desktop-based anti-spam agents, I’m sure it’s the same for everyone.

Picking through my spam folder and trying to identify legitimate e-mail is becoming a more difficult task.  I’ve written about this before, but the subject line of your e-mail is critical.  If you want a journalist, analyst or business contact to open the message, particularly when they don’t know you very well, the subject line could well be the deciding factor.

Already this week, I’ve had calls from people following up their e-mails where I deleted their message, not because I wasn’t interested but because I assumed it was spam. In PR we focus on trying to write tight, punchy e-mails that capture someone’s interest up front.  But how much time do we spend on the subject line?

Also, I’m interested in people’s thoughts on press release subject lines. (Shock! Horror! I still send press releases via e-mail – and the wires, and RSS*….) I have come to the conclusion that if you’re sending a press release to a journalist that’s relevant and timely it makes most sense to be up front about the content of the message by placing “PR:” at the beginning of the subject line.  Feedback on this practice has been positive so far, after all there’s no point trying to pretend your e-mail is something it isn’t.  Does anyone have any thoughts on it?

*One last point about RSS for delivering information. We’ve been offering Press Release feeds over RSS for a long time so it’s an area I know something about. Some advocates of RSS have declared that with RSS there’s no longer a need to send press releases (and I know they’re dead… really I do..) via e-mail. I think that’s rubbish. That is the 1995 equivalent of saying: “I’ve put the press release up on the website so everyone will read it”.  RSS will ultimately become a primary medium for news dissemination, but we’ll still need e-mail.  Over time as more people adopt and monitor RSS feeds then the need for e-mail will be reduced but that will take time and you’ll still have to reach out to people who don’t know your firm or its products.  From talking to many of the thought leaders in the RSS area there are a number of very interesting developments taking place in terms of extending the reach of RSS and those developments will accelerate it’s adoption.


Footnote 2:

In the course of a talk I was giving last weekend to PR students, I polled the room to see how many of them were aware of blogs.  To my surprise nearly half the room had read or heard of blogs which is a huge increase over my last random poll.