Dear PR Companies: Please use meaningful subject lines

I’m a writer, journalist and reporter for both print and online publications, I attend lots of trade shows and register (as press) for even more. As a result, I get a lot of press releases. Most are so-so (I’ve complained about ’em before) but sometimes there are releases that are remarkable in their unfriendliness.
Like this one:
From: 118.50410.61@em.taitra.org.tw (MIC)
Subject: MIC news releases

I follow consumer electronics, so I get releases from Taiwan, China, Korea, and other Pacific Rim nations. Not a big deal.
But the subject line? it’s almost a guarantee that no journalists or writers will even open up the email to see what’s inside. Who is MIC? Why are they sending me more than one release? And, most importantly, why are they making it necessary for me to open the email to find out what’s going on?
Of course, when I open it I find that the first release has the scintillating title of
Wireless DSL Router and IAD Shipments Continue to Play Key Role in Taiwan’s DSL Industry in ’09
Since I don’t actually know what “IAD” stands for, I might not actually be exactly the right audience for this release anyway, but why not have a subject line like
MIC: DSL Router and IAD Shipment News
which would at least let us categorize things and have a sense of whether we’d want to learn more as we skim over our latest wave of releases.
So here’s a homework assignment for PR people: look at the subject lines of your latest email press releases you’re issuing on behalfo of your clients. Are they succinct, informative, and helpful to someone who gets 30-75 releases emailed to them every day?

One comment on “Dear PR Companies: Please use meaningful subject lines

  1. Agreed. Subject lines are like headlines — you need to entice the reader, without crossing the line into irrelevance or bait-and-switch.
    In this case, I wonder why the release was bulk mailed at all, since you can probably fit all the reporters who care about Taiwanese DSL routers onto one bus.

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