Subject line or Lead?

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"Upon reading this revised, informative subject line, the recipient immediately starts thinking about the size of the room, not about whether it will be worth it to open the e-mail."

- Writing Effective E-mail: Top 10 Tips

This article helped me see aspects of e-mailing that I never realized or thought about before. The most eye-opening for me was the point about writing a creative and informative subject line. Until I read this article, I honestly never found the importance of trying to create an informative subject line and would usually just tack one on at the end saying whatever I though of at the time. However, having a few classes in journalism and newswriting, this article helped me realize that writing a subject line is almost like writing a lead to a story. The point is to "hook" the reader and draw them in to what the rest of the article/e-mail is about. When looking at writing a subject line through the lense of selling your e-mail to the reader, it unconciously makes you put more time and more thought into what that subject line would be. For example, like the article says, if the e-mail is a quick question, why not write it in the subject line? This way you save time and also, your e-mail has less of a chance of getting lost among the spam and thrown away or deleted.

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Good connection, Andy. I'd also say that a good subject line can also help the recipient know when NOT to open the message -- such as when I get an e-mail about a class my wife is teaching, and the student doesn't realize he or she has sent the message to the wrong person. (We'll get to that in more detail when we discuss writing titles for web pages and writing text for links.)

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