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Which came first: the subject line or the email?

Should you write the subject line or email first?

I hyped this email up quite a bit in yesterday’s email.

So here’s what I want you to do:

If you’re standing, sit down. My answer will make you jump out of your seat (and I don’t want you busting your cranium on your ceiling).

Okay, so what’s my answer?

…hold one. wait a second….

This scene is missing a few things.

First, make sure you have a cup of coffee ready. (Preferably black.)

Okay, now I need your help with a…

…Drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrum-roll, please?

(We need more drama before I reveal my answer because it’s that good.)

Do I hear something?

Shh, be quiet…

I think I can hea—pudda-pudda-pudda-pudda.

Okay, can we make it a little louder?


Yes, we’re grooving now.

Add more oOMPH





*string section comes in*




*saxophone solo*



*in my best WWE announcer voice*

Anndddd in the left corner, clocking in at 190 lbs is the notorious email copywriter John “bookoobucks” Brandt with his even more no-no-notorious answer to whether you should write subject lines or emails first…

…the answer is…

It depends.


Got you, didn’t I?

Here’s the trooth:

Sometimes I write a subject line first. Other times I write an email first.

If my brain can cook up a great subject line, I’ll write it first.

If it can’t?

I’ll write the email first, and let my brain cook up ideas as I write it.

Don’t overcomplicate it.

Plus, I’d be a terrible host to these daily emails if I didn’t let you in on a little secret:

Sometimes I think I write a killer subject line before writing the email. But then one of two things happen: Either the subject line doesn’t align with the email content (paving the road to clickbait). Or I realize there’s a better subject line “hidden” in the body copy.

In both scenarios, I swap out the subject line for the better one.


Need help coming up with subject lines, angles, and email copy which makes your wallet burst at the seams?


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