When I started work for Ogilvy in 1984, we didn't have email—we had memos. And memos lived and died based on their titles, or subject lines. All news account executives were schooled in producing informative, engaging subject lines for our memos. Or they wouldn't be read.
Now that I spend so much time communicating by email, I have sadly become lazy, frequently using the 'catching up' subject line. Maybe the purpose of my email is to catch up with a friend, but the purpose of my subject line is to make my friend light up.
Web Ink Now: Catching Up and Touching Base, 2014-May-29 by David Meerman Scott
My grandmother told me that if you want to receive a letter, you have to write one first. Wise advice. The more you give, the more you can ask. Give to get applies in social networking as well. Be helpful and share. Good things will come back to you.
Think about what you can do for others. Give gifts. Write thank you notes. Make introductions. Connect people who should know one another. Review someone’s book. Suggest a job opening to a friend. Link to a blog. Re-Tweet. Like.
Say what you mean
There is nothing wrong with asking for a favor. But use a descriptive email subject like: “I would like an introduction to Samantha” instead of saying: “touching base”. Instead of “catching up” as your subject line, it’s fine to say: “I am looking for a new gig and would like your advice”.