How to Perfect Your Headlines

July 20, 2015

by Agnes Deleuse, Senior Marketing Specialist, Business Wire Paris

How to Perfect Your Headlines

Photo: startupstockphotos.com

Headlines are made to draw in readers.  They are bait to capture their attention.  On newspapers, magazines, blogs, social media, and, of course, press releases, this is what you see first. According to a recent survey by Copyblogger, 80% of readers don’t read beyond the headline. Thus, your headline better be a catchy one if you want your audience to remember you.

Here are a few tips from Business Wire to help you craft the perfect headline.

1/ Provide real information
No jargon.  Your headline should imply an interesting and relevant question.  You can include figures/data.

2/ Opt for short phrasing
It is a necessity.  Today, titles must be short. Think social media. Write headlines like a tweet or a post. Also, remember that if your release is going to be translated into foreign languages, English is one third shorter than French, for instance!

3/ Write your release first and finish by crafting the headline
It will help you focus on the main message you want to highlight.  You want to target the brain of your reader.  Don’t focus on news release discovery at this stage. To do this, integrate the keywords your audiences use to find your company information in the sub-headline or the first paragraph.

4/ Write at least three headlines, adjusting the order of the words and see which one has more impact.
Work like a sculptor. Add words, remove them, change them, move them around.  You can test the headlines on your colleagues.

5/ Think like a journalist!
If you want your news to catch a journalist’s attention, write a headline that is snappy, informative.  To think like a journalist is also a way to approach a subject the way a journalist would.  Journalists like it when they sometimes just have to copy and paste headlines and body texts directly from a press release!

Quality content, including well-written headlines, contributes to the entire process of delivering information to your right audience.

For additional information on how to craft an effective news release, click here:

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A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Journey of a News Release

July 7, 2015

We can tell you how a press release develops into breaking news, reaching everyone from industry reporters to regular folks enjoying morning coffee with their tablet. We can also show you the same information with a cool sharable video. What’s the difference? The difference is the same as reading a recipe for the perfect steak or watching Gordon Ramsey prepare one, step-by-step. Visuals relay information that is both unique and engaging and when executed correctly, highly effective.  These are the reasons why we won’t tell you how a news release works – we’ll just show you.

The release of How Your News is Made – An Inside Look at News Releases and News Distribution aims to showcase the steps that a company announcement takes before issuers can celebrate the full results of their communications outreach.

The new media playing field is changing. Taking full advantage of social and mobile platforms, as well as advances in smartMastercard Sample Release technology (even air conditioners seem to be smart these days) can make significant impact in maximizing news release visibility. How does that happen? First a news release needs to be written. Not all releases are written equal and certain actionable tips can go a long way such as crafting a compelling headline, ensuring the first sentence contains key information, inserting calls to action and leveraging well placed hyperlinks to drive inbound traffic.

The next step shows just how much influence the digital revolution has on how people communicate. Once you have crafted your interesting news release, it is time to add in supporting multimedia. The reach of a text-only news release is minor compared to the reach of a release that includes multimedia. An image, an infographic, a video—these assets push your news across the internet and keep audiences engaged while consuming your core messages.

3 times as muchThe reason for multimedia’s success is how easily it relays ideas. Humans process images 60,000 times faster than text. When reading text you try to paint an image of what you’re reading with your imagination. A video offers information in such a way that can’t be misinterpreted, both offering information and explaining it, simultaneously. Business Wire CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz does not hide her confidence in the role multimedia will play in the communications industry.

“My prediction is that multimedia will be a part of every single news release.” – Cathy Baron Tamraz during a conversation with Tim Bahr, CEO of Nextworks.

Once the release has been built and sent to Business Wire, our editorial team reviews the release, suggests edits and distributions to ensure the release meets your goals.  Once edited and approved, the final news release is disseminated across the wire and into the hands of your key constituents.

But you can’t celebrate just yet!  Once the release is out, media outreach performed and online discussions have begun, it is time to measure the results of your work.

Business Wire provides a wide range of measurement and monitoring tools to help you track the impact of your news rulerrelease. Business Wire NewsTrak and NUVI reporting shows not only how much activity your release received, it provides detailed information on social discussion and shares surrounding your news. For more specific data, the Market Impact Report tracks the impact of your release upon your (and your industry’s) stock price.

Your release has been crafted, assets added, received editorial review and feedback, crossed the wire, activated your key and secondary audiences and provided you with data to help craft the next one.

This is the path of a news release.

Interested in learning more about Business Wire’s news distribution service? Let us know! And just click here to share out this exclusive sneak peek on the distribution of a news release:  http://ctt.ec/CdaQm.


A picture’s worth a thousand words – but how much for the caption?

April 24, 2015

By Hannah Kelly, Business Wire Paris

Here at Business Wire, we know that over half of journalists and media professionals are more likely to review a press release that includes multimedia, and that images/photographs are one of the top content types for the online newsroom, but in order to truly launch effective multimedia, we must remember one very important detail – the caption.

When looking for the first time at a news release, readers’ attention immediately goes to the caption, and then the added image. This creates the ideal opportunity for you.  With up to twice as many people reading captions than body copy, captions provide an excellent opportunity to attract the reader’s attention. This short but sweet accompanying paragraph is your key to unlocking the image – it is the who, what, where, when, why and how, all rolled into one short sentence.

Small Town Big Fish Caption

Immediately after reading the caption, the reader will flick back to the image, and view it, usually, from a different perspective. This is more commonly known as the loop, and is essential to engaging the reader. The photo and the caption complement each other, building suspense and satisfying curiosity.

But it is not only that captions define images, captions put images into context. In many instances, the caption and image can result in coverage when an article is not possible. Business Wire captions can be up to 100 words each, more than enough space to create a connection between image and story.

ServiceNow Caption Example

Given the importance of captions, and their role in not only increasing coverage but building connections between your product and your customer, what are the best practices for writing one?

  • Use prepositional phrases, interesting adjectives and action verbs
    The caption should focus on action, and help the article to progress, while providing as much information as possible as to the relevancy of the multimedia to the news you are sharing
  • Use phrases that have been cut out of the main narrative
    This is the ideal time to retrieve phrases that were cut out for length reasons, but that are still pertinent to the text and work well with the release
  • Do not repeat body copy
    For the simple reason that nobody likes déjà vu, whatever they’re reading!
  • Provide information that’s not available by simply looking at the photo
    A reader will look at the caption to learn more, not for reinforcement of already formed ideas. Captions allow you, the brand, to define the image and those captured in it, properly.
  • And, finally, do not use the phrases “above” or “pictured here”.
    These phrases are of little use to reporters who may choose to use your image and caption instead of the entire press release.

Tony Romo Caption

Multimedia is more important than ever within the news creation and sharing process. The caption serves as a reference, increases the impact of the image and adds to the credibility of the piece.  Don’t overlook it, instead take advantage of this space and use it to not only increase coverage of your news, but conversions as well.

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How Business Wire Works: The Digital Journey of News Release Distribution

March 26, 2015

By Kourtney Hannaway, Editor, Business Wire

The life of a press release begins with a piece of newsworthy, specific content. It contains tight, efficient text focused around industry keywords and clear formatting. Multimedia assets, like photos and video will give it a boost, and links to social media sites spread its reach and encourage clicks.

Intel Example of a Business Wire Picture Capsule

After initial development, the release is submitted into the Business Wire Connect platform. Through this process, distribution possibilities become available, including regional and industry-focused options, translations, and specialty circuits like LatinoWire and HealthWire. The submission system includes an option to see a proof of the release before distribution, and a section for special instructions to pass along any questions or specific issues so they can be quickly resolved.

Business Wire NX Distribution Technology

When the submission process is complete, the press release pops into the Business Wire Newsroom. From there, editors carefully look over the release and its chosen distribution, making suggestions to both when appropriate. Editors add keywords based on the release content, making sure the release gets directed toward relevant media and boosting the release’s ultimate reach. They also connect relevant releases to the Business Wire tradeshow archives, when relevant, for free.

A release that has been fully prepared then gets scheduled for the time requested. When it crosses the wire simultaneously and securely through the NX network, Business Wire editors monitor the release to confirm third party sites like Yahoo! and AP are posting it correctly and on time. The release will appear on many platforms, including mobile apps and promoted stories sites like Dlvr.it.

Following distribution, the press release’s effectiveness can be measured through the included NewsTrak report, which gives information on traffic and search data. And the NUVI social media monitoring report displays social media conversation information, relevant influencers, virality, and more. These reports provide valuable info that can be used to create more press releases in the future.

NUVI Social Monitoring Tool Dashboard

Click here to share this data on Twitter:  http://ctt.ec/s4hil

Want to learn more about crafting and distributing a press release that delivers higher results?  Read A guide to writing optimal press releases in 2015.

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Studies Show Reporters Rely on Press Releases — Are You Providing Them With What They Need?

February 21, 2015

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social + Evolving Media, Business Wire

In this day and age, there really should be no question on how to garner media coverage. Yet, day after day, organizations distribute news releases that lack the information needed for the reporter to initiate coverage.  In this PR Week article, Jahana Hayes, from Business Wire Atlanta, shares six ways to make sure your press releases hit, and activate, your target audience.

Read the entire piece at PR Week:  http://www.prweek.com/article/1332549/six-straightforward-ways-sure-press-releases-hitting-target

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Three Reasons Why PR Professionals Rely On Newswires

February 9, 2015

By Billy Russell, Business Wire Phoenix

Corporate communications have never been more important.  In an internet era where a wealth of knowledge is available at anyone’s fingertips, consumers now have an unprecedented ability to see an entire corporate history unfold before them.  Whether a company is publicly traded or private, it is crucial to a company’s current and longterm success that they communicate initiatives, product rollouts and personnel announcements to the public.  A press release is the tried-and-true surefire method of encapsulating an important, newsworthy event with a cohesive narrative. Once it is written, what happens next?

With so many options available, the task of actually releasing the press release can be daunting.  There are many methods for press release distribution including email blasts and direct pitching to established or discovered contacts at media publications, but for the broadest audience reach possible for your company’s content and breaking news, a commercial newswire like Business Wire is the most effective tool at your disposal.

Why PR Professional Rely on Newswires:

1.  Newswires Increase Visibility – The problem with promoting your news via email is that yay-9159998-digitalultimately it limits the potential impact of your news to only those you already know. A newswire, on the other hand, distributes news to thousands of contacts at one time, via the method they choose to receive news – electronically.  These outlets include major news services like the Associated Press, Dow Jones, Bloomberg, Reuters, international news points like JiJi Press and Agence France Press, online services like Yahoo! and key financial communities like J.P. Morgan H&Q.

Outside of the newswire’s proprietary list of media and journalists, many news aggregators utilize newswire feeds to provide relevant content for its desired reading audience.  This means company news can now be discovered and acted upon by thousands of investors and consumers—instantly and on demand.

2.  Newswires Provide Legitimacy – A news release distributed electronically by a newswire will be posted on multiple sites and media sources as opposed to just one company website’s news section, or social channel.   Every media outlet receiving a newswire feed understands that this content has already yay-8022260-digitalpassed through strict publishing guidelines to ensure accuracy and legitimacy.  The efficacy of using a newswire to distribute company news announcements is to live on the web as an official piece of breaking news, to not simply be a single-source announcement.

Distributing your news through a newswire allows you to reach out to the media as a whole (newspapers, magazines, TV and radio), thus inaugurating a company’s name as an official, recognized brand that has a placement in news around the country and in the web.

3.  Trusted Name Recognition – There is nothing more trusted than a familiar name.  Some names become synonymous with products—heck, some corporate names become verbs.  A trusted source is one with a name that is familiar, a name that has become familiar due to reputation and a history of legitimacy.

The media relies on newswires for reputable, vetted company news content.  With an established database of contacts and a unique delivery platform, a newswire can easily deliver a company press release to a media outlet. With thousands of news releases being shared every day, newswires ensure yay-15034446-digitalthat journalists and editors are provided with the content that they need in order to do their jobs.  To make their lives even easier, journalists can use keywords to make sure they receive only the news they are most interested in, by subject and region.

Company news releases are no longer considered to be just a media pitch requesting coverage.  Today’s news releases are viewed as the key source of originating data with more and more media outlets linking to the release to provide readers access to the raw data provided within the press release.

There is an entire world of options to consider when it comes to amplifying your company’s news.  Amplifying your content with newswire distributions ensures you have left no stone unturned in your quest to increase coverage, engagement and sales.

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Macedonia Media and Press Freedom: Q&A with Dragan Sekulovski

December 22, 2014

By Kai Prager, Senior Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire

If you visit Skopje, Macedonia today, you will be surprised. The central spots in Macedonia’s capital are crawling with enormous fountains, museums and bridges laced with statues over the Vardar River (which divides the city in two parts). Wondering when they might have been built, I learned that they were all quite new, produced within the last 10 years. The construction of these monuments is part of the project Skopje 2014 — the idea being to enhance a city that was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1963. However, the project is controversial, not only due to its high costs, but also because it is viewed as nationalistic historicist kitsch by many Macedonians.

Macedonian media can also be viewed as new and somewhat controversial.  Most publications were first published after the declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Under the promise of a free press, newspapers and magazines were printed and new broadcasters took to the air. But today, there is not much left of that free press. In 2009, Macedonia was ranked 34th on Press Freedom Index (by Reporters Without Borders). Five years later, it has dropped down to number 123.

A Man, Staning On A Bridge, Thinking About His Ex

(Skopje, Macedonia – Photo by Kai Prager)

When I visited the South East European Media Forum in Skopje this year, I had the chance to speak with Dragan Sekulovski, who works as Executive Director at the Association Of Journalists Of Macedonia.  He kindly agreed to answer some of the questions I had about the media in his country and about the aforementioned drop on the Press Freedom Index.

What caused Macedonia’s fall on the Press Freedom Index?

Unfortunately, Macedonia is setting new records with a drop down of 89 places in less than 5 years on the Reporters Without Border’s Press Freedom Index. The main difference in the media back in 2009 and now is the level of criticism of the journalists and the media. Nowadays there is almost no critique in the mainstream media towards the ruling parties and the governmental reforms. In a society where the politicians are not able to stand a critique and where critical media are shut down, journalists are imprisoned for writing a text. The government is the biggest advertiser in the private media and journalists are sued by officials … we cannot expect, with all this, for Macedonia to have a better place on the Press Freedom Index.

Dragan Sekulovski big(Dragan Sekulovski)

 The media market in Macedonia is small. Does this also have an effect on the media landscape?

Macedonia has almost 200 media outlets and they all compete in a small, distorted market and cover about 2 million citizens. They cannot survive financially unless they align their interests with the governing parties and politically connected large businesses. Apart from the public broadcaster (MTV), the vast majority of the country’s press is in private hands. However, the government comes out on top among the 50 largest advertisers in the country. In 2012 and in 2013, the government was in first place with twice as many campaigns in the private media than the larger local mobile operator T-Mobile. You cannot expect to have a free media market when there is so much influence by the government.

Other countries in the region (Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, etc.) have a small media market as well. Do you think they have similar problems?

I would not say that the problems are similar since the pressure points that are creating chilling effects and self-censorship in Macedonia are far more drastic than in neighboring countries. Two recent cases illustrate this negative trend:  the first one is the case of Kezarovski, a journalist who in 2008 wrote a text and published in local small print media. In 2013, he was arrested and convicted for alleged reveling identity of a secret witness, and at the moment, he is more than 18 months detained waiting for the final word of the Appeal Court in Skopje. The second case, as of this autumn, is about a court verdict for defamation where the plaintiff is the Director of the Secret Service and the defendants are [the] editor and journalists from the local printed weekly Fokus. The court here judged a compensation of non-pecuniary damage in amount of 9000 EUR, including court expenses, for the editor and the journalists of Fokus to pay. These negative examples that influence the freedom of expression and independence of media are unique for this part of the world.

How does the move to digital media (internet, mobile devices, social media, etc.) change the media landscape?

Following the global trend, the online media in Macedonia are becoming more influential and are being followed by large percentage of the audience. Based on the assessments of the regulator, 44% of the audience is being informed on a daily basis from web portals. These media can offer some criticism, media pluralism is generally present, and some investigative journalistic stories can be found.

What sources do Macedonian journalists usually use to access information?

Mainly from press conferences and releases from the state media agencies. Interesting to note is that journalistic questions are rarely present during a press conference. Some journalists are using the Law on Access to Information of Public Character, but the information is not always satisfactorily received or delivered in the desirable time frame.

Which information or topics are the most popular in the media?

News and propaganda that promote governmental policy and reforms; chronicles; news about celebrities; critiques of opposition political parties and civil society organizations/individuals; and global news. Very rarely we can see in the mainstream media TV debates from guests which are having different opinion[s] of governmental policy.


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