Do You Need to Add

How we tracked open rates

The method to measure open tracking is similar for all online email providers. To run this experiment we used Prezly[6], our own software that combines a multimedia pitch editor[7] with straightforward contact management[8], newsroom publication[9] and story distribution[10].

How the magic works…

We embed a tiny, invisible picture in the bottom of your email. This image is unique to every email you send. Each time someone opens your email and views the images in it, we know which email was opened.

Disclaimer: Open rates are tricky to get right. We have analysed the behaviour of over 1 million emails from over 1,000 email campaigns. Although we feel that is a decent number to draw some conclusions it’s important to highlight the data might be more accurate with a larger data set.

Reading into the numbers

Emails sent to a known journalist or media will first be given a quick glance to see if it is worth their time. With very little time on their hands, journalists need to scan a numerous emails and make a decision on the newsworthiness of what they get in their inbox. Add to that that these people are on the go, and likely viewing your email on a mobile device.

Having a clear subject line that states exactly what the email contains immediately tells the journalist what they can expect. Knowing that journalists’ primary source of news is still their mailbox, we believe adding “press release” to your email makes them more likely to view the email resulting in an increase of open rates.

OK, got it. From today I should start all my email pitches with “Press Release:”

Hold on. Not so fast.

While labeling your press releases might have an impact on your open rate, remember that it does not generate a significant difference in clicks.

And clicks are far more accurate to measure interest.

That means that every story, labelled and unlabelled, gets treated equally.

In conclusion: There is no clear winner here.

What do actual journalists and bloggers say?

In addition to searching for the mathematical answer to our question we figured it was a good idea to ask the recipients of those emails.

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