Editor’s Corner – November Edition

November 16, 2010

With 31 bureaus around the world and more newsrooms than all of our competitors combined, Business Wire is proud to provide local expertise and superior service, backed by the most accurate editors in the world. In Editor’s Corner, we ask some of our best to chime in on how to get the most out of your press release, based on their years of experience in the industry.

A Tip from Business Wire: Own Your Headline!

by Christina Jahnke, Editor, Business Wire/Chicago

Think your release will stand out in a crowd? If you don’t own your headline, think again! Hundreds of headlines scroll across the Business Wire website (and the multitude of feeds we reach) on a daily basis. How is it possible to draw crowds to you, when the only tools you have are words? It’s simple, really: Choose words wisely.

Having run the Chicago Marathon over Columbus Day weekend, I was entertained and inspired by the many spectator signs on course. Unfortunately, there were so many signs and only a passing moment to read them. The slogans that took hold were clear, witty and, most importantly, could be read inside three seconds. Anything longer and I missed the punch line en route to the next aid station. This is a great analogy for those scrolling feeds. Eyes are moving fast over those headlines. If you don’t stand out, you may be passed over. Take a tip to own your headline!

Here are three to consider:

1.  Include your organization’s name.
Ownership implies a name, and that is perhaps the most important element. Don’t assume the public knows who you are, no matter how big you are. These press releases are the story of your organization on the Web. Give your company the recognition it deserves! Additionally, those who search by your company’s name will have a way to find your release on the Internet.

2.  Be concise.
The three-second rule fits perfectly. Be brief in summarizing the content of your press release. Longer headlines are less likely to be picked up by search engines. Be concise. Less is more.

3.  Stay on point.
You have something important to say. While it’s good to be concise, don’t let the effort to be succinct overshadow the message. Read and re-read your headline. Are you staying on point or trying to fit too much in too small a space?

The headline is the first appearance of your message to the world. Own it, and help your release go the distance!

-Christina Jahnke, Editor, Business Wire Chicago

All Things Press Release Podcast: How to Write a Good Headline

July 14, 2009

Today the All Things Press Release podcast is addressing the question:  How to Write a Good Headline?

Headlines have always been important in drawing readers into your press release but with today’s nanosecond attention spans, they matter even more.   Write a crummy headline and your press release sits;  craft a dandy, and you draw readers in, increasing chances of engagement.

The three-minute podcast, a production of Business Wire, aims to help  communicators large and small get the most out of press release efforts.  Tips, how-tos and guidance based on experience will be served up courtesy of Business Wire staff and outside counsel alike.

How To Write A Good Headline is featured in the All Things Press Release podcast, below:


Like what you hear?  Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

Have ideas for a future podcast?  Please let us know.  Email blog_group@businesswire.com or connect with us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/businesswire.

Shorter Headlines Can Lead to Google Juice

October 10, 2007

Google juice

Lock up your long-winded headlines. Google alerted us this week that press release headlines should not exceed 22 words. That’s eight words shorter than what we were told months ago. “An ideal headline should be between two and 22 words,” advises the search engine giant.

While there are no guarantees, certain practices maximize your chances of getting Google juice. Having something to say, for example–something that is “news,” not “olds.” Writing clearly is a good bet. Keeping it brief is also advised.

Unlike most of Business Wire’s distribution which is pushed out via our patented NX system, there’s no such thing as a “feed” to Google. They are invited in to spider our news and do so every few minutes. And, because of the amount of fresh content we post daily, Business Wire is considered an authority site.

Every now and then, a release fails to post to Google News. The reasons are a mystery. Google deliberately protects its algorithms, the instructions written by programmers for the robots that match web content with search queries. Presumably, this secrecy serves democracy, accuracy and as a deterrent to hackers gaming the system.

So, even with best practices and timely technology, guaranteed Google juice doesn’t exist. With Business Wire, your chances of being indexed by Google are extremely high. But, a random bullet point, a link in the headline, a formatting glitch–can sometimes keep your release from being scraped into the news bucket.

Any wire service that says otherwise is not being honest.


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