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

Short rules: Most Press Release Headlines too Long for Google News

October 26, 2010

When it comes to press release headlines, short is better, a research brief by Schwartz Communications found recently.  

Most SEO specialists suggest headline lengths of 65-70 characters in order to pass muster for inclusion in Google News.  Yet 77% of  16,000 Business Wire press releases reviewed by Schwartz exceeded that recommendation.   Here’s how headline character counts broke down:

23% were 65-70 characters: IDEAL

24.3%  70-100 characters

24.8% 101-150 characters

15.1% 151-200 characters

10.8% 201-300 characters

2% 300+ characters 65

In a “headline showdown,” Schwartz reviewed datelines to determine which cities hosted the SEO savviest press release headline writers. “Based on our analysis, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia produce the highest percentage of news releases that are under the 66 character limit,” the report found.

Schwartz also took a look at buzzwords in headlines and found that 86% of news release headlines are buzzword free.

You can download the report on the Schwartz website.


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