Opening sentences…


Here’s my advice on avoiding mistakes in PR pitches, supported by the openers of actual emails, along with my italicized comments. (Fleur: this can also be used in general emails, content, and more)

  1. Don’t tell me what I already know.
  • “Brrr . . . it’s cold outside!”
  • “Winter has arrived in Chicago!”
  1. Don’t act as if you know me, unless you do.
  • “If you don’t read this now, you’ll hate yourself later.”
  • “We think this would be great for you!”
  • “I hope you’re doing well and staying warm. It’s quite cold here in NYC, but I know it has NOTHING on Chicago. I was a there a couple of weeks ago and thought I’d die!!”
  • “Hi Mark, I hope all is well! Are you getting ready to watch some NFL Monday Night football at a bar?”
  1. Don’t assume I know what you’re talking about.
  • “This is MJ from the Quarter team. I would like to introduce the Quarter Super Charge Powerbank to you, a PowerBank we developed to take advantage of the MagSafe.”
  • “Remember Aereo Inc., the startup that attempted to transform the pay-TV industry and was shut down by the U.S. Supreme Court on Jun 28, 2014?”
  • “Today the Illinois Blockchain Initiative announced its partnership with self-sovereign identity solutions leader Evernym, leveraging distributed ledger technology to provide secure digital identity solutions.”
  • “Teeny Drones, creator of the Teeny Drone – a speedy, durable and lightweight quadcopter; and SheDrones, an emerging nonprofit that will engage, support and train girls in unmanned aerial systems and related technologies, have announced a co-sponsored contest.”
  • “Are you covering ASCO this year or is someone else at the paper?” (No further explanation about ASCO. When I asked what ASCO was, the emailer replied that it was a big medical show and he was surprised I didn’t know all about it. But I wasn’t covering medicine.)

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5 tips email subjectlines


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1. Use numbers. Numbers are your email subject line’s best friends.
Extensive A/B tests by email platform Campaign Monitor found subject lines with numbers achieved a 57 percent better open rate than those without.
2. Remember, characters count.
Next, remember real estate for your subject lines is very limited. Desktops usually display about 60 characters and mobile devices about 25 to 30.
3. Use these 10 words that increase open rates: thanks, golden, iPhone, breaking, advice, course, thank you, exclusive, review, top stories
4. Skip these 10 words that decrease open rates: get rid of, secret of, shocking, what you need to know, won’t believe, quickest, aim, call, put, 2 for 1.
5. Do your own A/B testing.

12 email tips

Business email tips, how to compose the best email?

1. Leave the TO field blank until you are ready to press SEND.

2. Use the SUBJECT line to inform rather than simply to identify; it should read like a headline that summarizes your message and draws in the reader.

3. Base your message content on your receiver’s need to know. Consider journalism’s five W’s: Who, What, When, Where, Why (and sometimes How).

4. Use standard grammar and spelling. Go easy on the acronyms, abbreviations and jargon.

5. Use short words, short sentences (eight to 12 words) and short paragraphs (50 words or fewer), with a line of space between paragraphs.

6. Use bullet points and numbers to organize information into tidy chunks.

7. Fill no more than one laptop computer screen with your message.

8. Keep your spell-checking function on, but still reread and proofread your message before sending it out.

9. Avoid attachments whenever possible. If an attachment is necessary, add it before you start to compose your email. We’ve all received or sent emails that refer to missing documents.

10. Reply the same business day, even if it’s just to confirm receipt and advise the sender when you will respond in full.

11. Respond to all questions posed, and try to anticipate others to reduce the number of back-and-forth messages.

12. In an ongoing thread, change the SUBJECT line if the topic changes.


Email is next

“Email—yes, #email—is the next great #mediaplatform

Editorial-focused newsletters are gaining momentum”. Re-rising in your inbox.

“Yet, for all the animosity, email, by most measures, is not only thriving but also spawning a whole new style of publishing—one that promises to fill an important void in the modern media landscape.”

3 tips for email subscriptions

Social media advertising
1. Drive users to a newsletter subscription page with a strong CTA
2. Drive users to the landing page of a premium gated piece of content
3. Drive users to a post optimized for email acquisition
Content marketing
What’s going to get someone to sign up for your email list? The promise of value. That could mean coupons and free offers, but even more so, it means amazing content that’ll help people do their jobs better or live a more fulfilling life.Great content is now table stakes, and there’s little chance a reader will press “Subscribe” unless they just read or watched something amazing.
Search engine optimization
One trend we see across Contently clients is readers who come from search are the most engaged compared to other channels. Our clients index heavily in B2B and finance, so this makes sense. People who come from search are usually looking to solve a problem, and they’re happy to sign up for a free resource that provides them with a solution. This is why you have to ensure your article pages and subscription pages are optimized for your target keywords.

The 3 Most Effective Ways to Grow Your Email List