How to Make Your Personal Finance PR Subject Lines Stand Out

Our recent subject line analysis dove into general trends and best practices for creating a subject line that increases open rates. But as we all know, catchy email subject lines take into account the medium and vertical of the journalists we seek to earn coverage from.

One of the most sought after and high-authority verticals for digital PRs is personal finance. Whether your pitch provides budgeting insights, or explores the nuances of financial planning, your subject line should capture the essence of your research while catering to the needs of the vertical. A high email open rate for personal finance writers is the ultimate goal.

How to Write the Best Subject Lines to Pitch Personal Finance

In this blog, we’ll dive into the nuances of crafting subject lines that are sure to grab the attention of personal finance and money writers across the U.S. Discover the strategies, tips, and best practices that will elevate your email outreach to boost your engagement and impact.

Why Writing Effective Subject Lines for Personal Finance Pitches, Matter.

As a former journalist, I know first hand what it looks like to have an inundated inbox–where pitches flood in by the dozens, if not hundreds, every day. Beyond personalizing emails, personalized subject lines for the financial vertical can make or break a campaign.

Picture your subject line as your foot in the door, your chance to say, “Hey, I’ve got something great to share!” A strong subject line can be the difference between coverage and the virtual trashcan in an increasingly competitive inbox.

Navigating the world of personal finance writers adds an extra layer of nuance to subject line craftsmanship. These wordsmiths have an appetite for precision—they look for relevance, specifics, and concise summaries that cut to the chase. While the contents of your pitch may vary across a spectrum of topics, we’re here to dissect the fundamentals of formatting that resonate with personal finance journalists writing for elite financial publications.

media logos for top-tier financial publications including CNBC, Wall Street Journal, Marketwatch, and Business Insider..

In this blog post, we dive into the art of constructing solid subject lines, using insights from our very own research here at Digital Third Coast. We’ll equip you with tips and strategies designed to increase your success rate when it comes to pitching personal finance content.

What Do Personal Finance Writers Cover?

Before we dive into the nuts and bolts on achieving placements in the personal finance realm, it’s important to have an understanding of what they cover. I, personally, love pitching content to the finance vertical because there’s so many different angles and approaches you can use to make your content relevant to these writers. 

Within the personal finance vertical exists even more specific topics these writers cover. Below are images from the database we use, to show just how many different subtopics live under the broad finance umbrella! 

laptop with text inside about "persona finance sub-focuses" including accounting, alternative investments, banking, credit management, debt, financial planning, retirement, and wealth management.

Personal finance writers are often your money-savvy pals, here to guide you towards financial well-being, smarter choices, and a better grip on your financial adventures. Depending on their niche and specialty they can cover everything from accounting and investments, to debt and wealth management. If you’re not careful about investigating their exact beat, you could end up pitching something about “financial planning” to a writer who exclusively covers “currencies” and you pitch could end up in the trash.

Remember, if you’re not carefully curating your media lists to match the very specific beats within the larger vertical, your efforts could be moot.

Best Subject Lines for Personal Finance Writers, Based On Our Analysis

At the beginning of this year, we rolled up our sleeves and excitedly dove into a massive project: conducting an analysis of over 450 subject lines sent to a variety of niche writers. We wanted to crack the code of what makes a subject line click, and what makes it tank. 

But we didn’t stop there – we took it a step further and broke that analysis down based on journalists’ verticals to see if subject line formatting, tone, length, etc. varied. 

To no one’s surprise, it turns out, there’s no one-size-fits-all rulebook for writing great subject lines for a variety of writers.

When it came down to personal finance territory, the measure of success was simple: how many of these writers clicked open those emails to check out the pitch inside. Not every variable caused major waves, but we were able to find critical takeaways amidst all the data noise. 

Length: How long should a subject line be when pitching a personal finance writer?

Is there a golden ratio of subject line length? We wanted to know if there exists a sweet spot that captivates the attention of finance writers by analyzing the character counts of both the crème de la crème and the not-so-stellar subject lines.  

Our analysis found these writers are willing to read a bit longer subject lines. On average, top performing subject lines had about 66 characters. 

screenshot of subject line with 67 characters reading: "Data, these are the most expensive cities to raise a family in 2023"

Phrasing: How should I phrase my subject line?

How exactly should you word that subject line to assure the best chance your target personal finance writer will open your email and share your content?

For this factor, we analyzed five prevalent subject line structures: the factual statement, the allure of ranking, the intrigue of a question, the complexity of a compound sentence, and the sheer simplicity of a straightforward statement.

Email preview on a mobile device
  1. Rankings: Rankings are effective because they tell journalists there’s potential to have information that relates to them and what they write about. Whether you’re ranking trends, states/cities, or sports teams, this type of format can be versatile. 

    We found rankings can be a great way to pique the reader’s interest and get them to open your email. 

    Our study found highlighting a ranking within a subject line performed the best overall when pitching to finance writers.
  2. Facts: Factual statements can be a good way to provide the reader with clear and concise information about your email by including numbers and specific statistics. 

    Factual-based subject lines performed second best overall for finance writers. When pitching, try forming your subject line around the single most compelling fact from your pitch to grab attention. 
  3. Statements: Statements can be a good way to make a strong impression and to get the reader to take action. For example, you could state the main finding or idea from your pitch: 

    Example: More Americans Are Living Paycheck to Paycheck, Study Finds. This form of a subject line 

    From our analysis, this type of subject line wasn’t the most effective, but it wasn’t the least either. If you have an idea for a subject line that doesn’t include a fact, this can be a reliable option when crafting an engaging media pitch!
  4. Compound subject lines: Compound subject lines are a good way to combine two or more of the above formats. This format also ranked in the middle of the five types of subject lines we analyzed.

    **Tip: (If you’re looking to get creative) You could ask a question followed by a statement in the same subject line. 
  5. Questions: Writing your subject line in the form of a question is typically thought to be an effective way to grab attention. But, our analysis found they proved to be the least effective out of the five.
Outlook preview of an email: "How much are Americans willing to spend on their bucket lists in 2023"

Capitalization: When to use sentence case vs. title case

Since the starting in media outreach, I’ve wanted to know if a subject line formatted in sentence case or title case is better perceived.

I’ve been set on the belief that it made a subject line more formal (and use title case), it would result in a higher click through rate. Unfortunately, our analysis provides a lackluster cliffhanger. ..

We found using sentence case for personal finance subject lines did slightly better on average than subject lines in the title case format. Overall, neither proved to have a major impact.

Referencing the research

When it comes to launching your subject line with a research-related trigger word like “Report,” “Study,” “Survey,” “Map,” or “Data,” does credibility automatically translate to performance?

That’s the riddle we set out to solve. In my opinion, beginning a subject line citing your research or data gives legitimacy and reliability. Well folks, this is where another strong opinion of mine is, again, proved wrong by this analysis.

We found finance writers don’t necessarily favor subject lines that reference research. Open rates for subject lines leading with research indicators performed roughly the same as those without.

In fact, subject lines that skipped the research nod seemed to boast a slightly higher average open rate. But, that’s not to say adding “Report” or “New Study” will deter these writers, either. In fact, the top performing subject lines were a mix between the two options

Final Thoughts: Quick Tips for Crafting Clickable Subject Lines for Personal Finance Content

Crafting compelling subject lines is a crucial aspect of pitching personal finance content to writers. Through our analysis of dozens of subject lines sent to finance writers, we have identified key insights and best practices. 

  • Length: Top performing subject lines averaged around 66 characters, indicating a willingness to read longer lines.
  • Phrasing: While questions were the least effective, factual statements and rankings performed well, with rankings being the most successful. Statements and compound subject lines ranked in the middle. 
  • Capitalization: Whether sentence case or title case, had a minor impact on open rates. 
  • Formatting: Referencing research in subject lines did not necessarily yield higher open rates, as subject lines without research references performed better on average. 

Ultimately, by implementing these strategies and tailoring subject lines to the preferences of personal finance writers, you can enhance your pitching success and increase the chances of your content being noticed.

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