Often when writing a news release, the majority of the effort goes into the information in the body of the release. While creating text or multimedia that informs and interests the reader is important, headlines also deserve serious thought.
It might seem simple enough, but there are a few things to be considered when putting together a news piece that grabs the attention of the right media in the right way. How can you write a headline that intrigues media and consumers alike to keep reading?
Here are three ways to create a headline that counts:
- Avoid being too sensational: It’s tempting to create a headline that’s over-the-top to grab attention, however, you run the risk of your release looking like clickbait or worse. Including language that’s inflammatory or unattributed can also turn readers off.
With the abundance of false information online, journalists are increasingly careful about using credible news from verified sources. Many search engines, like Google and Yahoo, are responding by updating their algorithms with more sophisticated AI, allowing them to ensure the validity of stories and sources. Featuring the company, brand, or product name in the headline is a simple way to show off who is issuing and vouching for the information right up front.
- Make it quick: Journalists and media points receive news through RSS feeds or emails, so sometimes, the first and only thing they see is the headline. It’s important to recognize that RSS feeds, search engines, and social channels may limit the length of the headline that appears, and if yours is too long, it will be cut off. For example, Google only shows 110 characters. Try keeping the statement to less than 10 words, and include keywords that highlight the topic of the text.
A short, informative headline highlighting your brand’s news will entice readers to click through to the story and make it easier for them to share it through their own networks.
|Use less than 10 words||Use buzzwords|
|Add action words||Be vague|
|Incorporate keywords||Use first-person pronouns|
- Keep it plain: While search engines are getting smarter, there are still small things you can do in the headline to help your press release along. Creating a headline that is formatted as plain text is an easy way to cater to the widest range of sites.
Search engines and websites often display headlines in plain text, which means including things like hyperlinks, superscripts, and symbols in the headline may cause trouble for your press release. Sites like MarketWatch and Yahoo may drop embedded hyperlinks from the headline, or show the superscripts as plain text, and symbols may look garbled.
Using links or symbols in the headline can also cause searchability issues. Hyperlinks, superscripts, and symbols are often better supported in the body of the release, so it’s best practice to keep the format of the headline simple and give more sites the opportunity to host the news.
There are also a few things you can include in the body of your press releases to maximize the impact of your news.
Links – Since the vast majority of media points are online, embedding hyperlinks throughout your text is an effective way to drive traffic to specific landing pages. Direct links to key data and product info allow you to control your brand’s message. Business Wire’s NewsTrak Reports can monitor the amount of interaction these links generate, letting you know how well those links were received and what to do for future releases.
Multimedia – Supplementing your news with photos, graphics, videos, and other multimedia will help make your news release stand out. Graphics that illustrate data, photos of events or new hires, and digital mockups of products all help tell the story and like links, encourage the reader to engage with the news directly.
Keywords – When you are writing a news release, you should consider what kinds of keywords or phrases journalists covering your sector might use. There’s a ton of news being issued every day – reporters will search for specific topics or have google alerts set up to save some time. Help them out by including appropriate keywords and phrases throughout your news.
Quotes – Quotations from key players in your organization, or remarks from people who have experienced your brand can showcase your content in a different way. When writing quotes highlighting your content, think of how they help tell your story. You don’t need to include a ton of personal statements, you just need to make them count. Journalists covering the story will often reach out to get their own quotes. The quotes you include in your release should serve as a jumping-off point.
|Learn more about incorporating quotes in your press releases from writing expert Ann Wylie, CEO of Wylie Communications.|
Make your team available – If all of the above things work the way they should, journalists will need to reach out to you to follow up. It might be with questions about the current story, or to network for later opportunities, so including basic contact information keeps them from having to hunt around for who to talk to.
Writing an impactful and informative headline and press release doesn’t have to be a complicated task. By remembering to write with the audience in mind, and considering how algorithms can work for you, you can get your message across effectively.
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