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Monday, August 29, 2011

Proofreading Tip: E-mail Subject Lines

People form an opinion within seconds of meeting you--and you don't have to say a word! So you have to wonder, do people judge you by your e-mail subject lines? They're easy to overlook, although that's your reader's first impression of the e-mail and you.

I've received some interesting ones lately:

"Hot of the presses...see what's new!"
"Five tings you didn't know about the Paris Opera Ballet!"
"Your licence expires in 15 days"
"Truley Pivital"
"Come have diner on us tonight..."

Yikes! These messages are from reputable organizations. My husband, Beaver, forwarded that last one to me--good catch!

If you use spell check, it will check the subject line. However, sign, of, tings, and diner will pass that test because they're words. Just the wrong words. That's why we need to proofread--especially the subject line. Too bad Outlook's AutoCorrect (see last month's post) doesn't work in the subject line.

The subject line is the most important part of your e-mail message because its goal is to get the e-mail opened and read. Your message might be misconstrued if the subject line has an error. A friend received an e-mail with a subject line that said something about "signing"; the sender meant to type "singing." Oops!

So, take time to write an informative and grammatically correct subject line. After all, it's a first impression.

Judy Beaver, The Office Pro
Founder of National Proofreading Day

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