Breaking news… is it? Is it really?

Over the last couple of months, the words ‘breaking news’ have become the bain of my life. They never fail to peak my curiosity. When I see them in an email subject line, my cursor jumps in for the click – it’s an automatic response.

The thing is, every time I click, I’m disappointed. Because these emails never seem to break any news. Instead I’m met with the usual industry updates and information – an ad campaign, a hire, maybe even a company going into administration (but only if I’m lucky).

So I’m left bitter and disappointed. I try to train myself not to open them, to convince myself that the next email will be just as dull as the last. But then those two little words appear in my inbox and I can’t help but wonder – will it be different this time?

Like the day the News of the World went out of business. Because that’s when it started – and it’s the only time I’ve been completely satisfied by a ‘breaking news’ subject line.

News flash – you’re losing me

I know you’re probably seeing amazing open rates, but think of the boy who cried wolf. He said it so many times that when a wolf actually showed up on his doorstep, no one believed him. So if you tell me one more time that you’ve got breaking news, and you don’t – I’m going to unsubscribe.

The moral of the story?

Subject lines have to work hard, they’ve got to sell the contents of an email in just a few words. But they also have to be accurate, because if you promise breaking news when you don’t actually have it – you’ll wind up breaking the relationship.

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