The headline is one of the most important parts of a press release. It’s often the first thing journalists and readers see, so you need to make it count. An effective headline grabs attention and succinctly conveys the main message of your release.
When writing headlines for press releases, keep these tips in mind:
Choose Impactful Words
Every word counts when writing a short headline, so choose them carefully. Use strong verbs and adjectives that create interest and excitement. Avoid vague or generic terms that won’t capture attention. Some powerful words to consider include launches, unveils, announces, transforms, revolutionizes, and disrupts. These types of action-oriented verbs make headlines more compelling. Impactful adjectives like groundbreaking, cutting-edge, and innovative also help. Take the time to brainstorm a list of attention-grabbing words and phrases relevant to your industry and announcement. Then, strategically work them into your headline to maximize its punch.
Keep it Short and Sweet
Press release headlines should be short, snappy and straight to the point. Get your key message across in as few words as possible. Generally, headlines should be around 5-10 words maximum. Anything longer risks losing the reader’s attention. Resist the urge to cram in too much detail. You can elaborate in the body copy. Focus on highlighting only the most essential and intriguing information in a tight, scannable format. Every unnecessary word dilutes the effectiveness. Prioritize brevity and clarity of message above all else.
Focus on Benefits and Value
The headline needs to convey why your news matters to readers. Emphasize the benefits, value or impact of what you’re announcing. Promising readers valuable insights or solutions will entice them to keep reading. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and think about what problems your news helps solve or what advantages it provides. Quantify the impact with numbers and stats if possible. Clearly showing the reader why they should care is key. Don’t just make vague statements about product features or events. Demonstrate relevance and usefulness.
Use Active Voice
Headlines written in the active voice tend to be more compelling. Passive voice can sound dull or vague. For example:
– Passive: New software platform was launched by Company X
– Active: Company X Launches Revolutionary New Software Platform
Stick to active voice and avoid passive constructions with “to be” verbs. Active voice is more concise, direct and engaging. The subject performs the action, giving headlines more punch. Passive voice risks making your news sound stale or insignificant. Empower your headlines with a strong, action-oriented, active voice.
Incorporate relevant keywords so your headline resonates with your target audience. This also helps with press release optimization and SEO. Just be sure keywords flow naturally in the phrasing. Do your keyword research to identify terms and phrases people search for related to your topic. Then, work those words into your headline organically. Avoid awkwardly jamming in keywords that don’t fit. The headline still needs to read smoothly. But strategically including keywords can help attract more search traffic and readers interested in your news area.
Consider Search Intent
Think about the types of searches readers might use to find your news and align your headline with relevant search intent. This search-focused wording can help drive traffic. Put yourself in the mindset of readers by listing possible keyword searches. Then, incorporate that natural language into your phrasing. You want the headline to match and fulfill the reader’s search intent so it gets clicked and viewed.
Hook the Reader
The headline is your first and best chance to grab journalists’ attention. Use intriguing phrasing that creates an emotional impact and compels the reader to continue. Don’t just inform. Persuade with messaging that creates curiosity or urgency. Ask thought-provoking questions, highlight benefits, use evocative adjectives, and add specific details. Give readers a compelling reason to read your full press release. Your headline should act like a “hook” that draws them in. If your phrasing is dull or generic, no one will bother with the rest.
Use Numbers and Stats
Including numbers, stats, or data points in headlines can catch readers’ eyes by quantifying the impact of what you’re announcing. For instance, “New Initiative Cuts Costs by 50%” or “App Downloads Reach 1 Million in 6 Months”. Stats create concrete details people remember. But only use numbers if they’re accurate, provable, and truly meaningful. Don’t just throw in inflated or questionable statistics to try to make mundane news seem more impressive. Substantial, valid numbers meaningfully convey your news results.
The more ultra-specific and detailed your headline, the more likely it will only appeal to readers truly interested in your exact news. Keep that tradeoff in mind. Generic headlines cast a wider net but may lack impact. Highly specific ones strongly resonate with a narrower target group. Analyze your audience and their needs to determine if a niche-focused headline is best or if you need broader mainstream appeal. Ultra-specific headlines can gain followers but limit reach.
Rethink Common Press Release Topics
Put a fresh spin on common press release topics like new hires, partnerships, product launches, etc. Find an unexpected angle. Just announcing a new CEO or product release often won’t garner much attention. But giving the news a creative twist can break through the clutter. Maybe the CEO is the youngest ever in your industry. Or the product leverages an unusual advancement. Identify what’s distinct about even seemingly routine news, and make that the headline focus.
Consider SEO Optimization
Research keywords and phrases related to your announcement that get decent search volume. Incorporate relevant terms readers are searching for. Optimizing headlines for SEO can boost web visibility and search engine rankings. But don’t just cram in keywords randomly. Organically work them into natural phrasing that flows well. Headline SEO should feel seamless, not forced.
Use Location Names
If your news has a strong regional tie or location focus, work the city, state or country name into the headline. This localizes the impact and helps geo-targeting. Readers pay more attention to news that feels directly relevant to their area. But only include location names if integral to the story and announcement. Avoid tacking on place names just for show if there’s little true connection.
Words like “first,” “best,” or “only” highlight if your news is truly exclusive, rare or unprecedented. But don’t over-hype or exaggerate. Make sure you can back up claims of being first, only or best in the industry. Journalists will demand evidence and proof. Vague superlatives like “innovative” or “cutting-edge” are safer if you lack rock-solid support. Use exclusivity wisely and accurately.
Exclude Company Names
Avoid prominently featuring your company name in the headline. The most newsworthy press release headlines focus on what the news is rather than who it’s from. Readers care more about how the announcement affects or benefits them than about your brand name.
Instead, convey the core news in the headline and subheadline first. Then, mention the company name in the body copy or boilerplate.
Cut unnecessary prepositions (like of, for, to) to tighten word count. Let verbs and nouns do the work. Look for opportunities to trim extraneous prepositions without losing clarity. For instance, “Software Leader Unveils New Product Line” is more concise than “Leading Software Company Unveils New Line of Products.” Remove filler words that don’t substantially add informational value or impact.
Consider Future Sharing
Will your headline still make sense and create intrigue when shared days or weeks after the initial release? Craft evergreen headlines optimized for longevity, not just short-term promotion. Avoid overusing timing words like “today” or “this week” that lose relevance quickly. Write headlines focused on the core news that retain interest over time.
Use Power Words
Emotionally charged adjectives like groundbreaking, jaw-dropping, game-changing can convey the impact of your news. Sprinkle in a few selective power words that pack a punch without going overboard. Intriguing verbs like transforms, ignites, disrupts also work. Just ensure power words accurately reflect your announcement and don’t come across as exaggerated hype.
Avoid vague pronouns like “this” or “that”. Be crystal clear about your subject at the outset. Remove assumptions about context and state your focus explicitly. Press release headlines should leave no ambiguity about the core news. Use descriptive nouns instead of generic pronouns. Don’t risk confusion, especially from readers who haven’t seen your full release yet.
Comparative words like then/now, before/after, old way/new way can highlight the contrast of what you’re announcing. Show how your news changes the status quo or flips conventional wisdom. Contrasting language emphasizes the impact of your announcement compared to current norms. But ensure contrast claims are fact-based, not exaggerated hype.
DO NOT write press release headlines in ALL CAPS. Capitalize the first letter of main words only. Avoid random capitalization. Overuse of capital letters reduces readability by eliminating word shape clues. Stick to standard headline title case by capitalizing the first letter of each word except articles, prepositions and conjunctions. Proper nouns should also be capitalized. Beyond this, don’t randomly capitalize words unless there’s a very strong stylistic reason. Consistent, professional title case improves scannability.
Maintain Consistent Tone
Match the tone and style of your headline with that of the full-release body. Don’t mismatch formal and casual tones. Keep vocabulary, language, and messaging aligned across headlines and content. If your release uses technical language, mirror that in the headline. Or, if you take a more casual brand voice, stay consistent. Mismatched tones will confuse and disconnect readers.
Translate Well Globally
If announcing international news, ensure your headline retains impact when translated into other languages. Avoid idioms, culture-specific references, or puns that don’t translate. Opt for straightforward universals that make sense worldwide. If releasing globally across regions, research how your headline messaging comes across in all target languages and cultures.
Optimize for Social
Headlines can get truncated or cropped on social media. Front-load key context so it’s immediately clear. Put your core subject first so readers understand the news even if the end gets cut off. Also, make headlines irresistibly click-worthy to boost social shares. Think “shareability” from the first word.
Writing great headlines for press releases takes skill and practice. But compelling headlines can make a huge difference in whether your news gets noticed and shared. Follow these tips and keep experimenting until you craft the perfect headline.