3 Out Of the Box Approaches to Writing Press Release Headlines

Your press release headline is the most important sentence in your press release. Without a good headline no one, not even the media, is going to pay attention to your release. Don’t believe it? Head to a press release distribution site and try to read a press release without seeing the headline first.  You won’t do it, and neither will your readers. Experienced press release writers know that they’ll spend as much time writing the headline as they do writing the actual release.

The trouble is that even experienced press release writers stumble occasionally when writing their headlines. Here are some of the unusual tactics that they use.

1. Pretend it’s an Article

Instead of approaching the headline as if it’s for a press release, let go of that concept and write is as if it were for an article or blog post. Chances are, you have good experience doing that. That means using common article headline writing tactics like using questions, numbers, or arousing curiosity and other emotions. For example:

  • $5 Million Saved With Worksite Wellness
  • Is an End in Sight for State Schools Struggling with Poor Test Scores?
  • How ABC Consulting Turned a Client’s Sales from the Low Five Figures to the High Six Figures in Three Short Months

2. Write it, Then Make it Active

Go ahead and write your headline first. In fact, write twenty potential headlines. Then go back and start making each headline more active. That means using present tense and power words to add liveliness and interest. For example, the following headline, “Is an End in Sight for State Schools Struggling with Poor Test Scores?” could be changed to “Finally, an End is in Sight for State Schools Struggling with Poor Test Scores.”

3. Use Data

Data adds authority, credibility, and interest to a headline. And with a press release, there’s really nothing better than having all three. Look for opportunities to integrate data into your headline. Go ahead and write potential headlines first, and then work to add data to them. For example, the headline, “$5 Million Saved With Worksite Wellness” uses monetary data that you can then reference (citing the source) within the body of the press release. It’s compelling and pulls the reader into the piece right away.

Another tactic includes the “who cares” tactic. Instead of trying to come up with a headline based on traditional methods, simply ask yourself what your audience cares about, and who they are. For example, who cares about poor state test scores? Parents and educators, right? Another potential headline might be “Parents Relieved. End in Sight for State Schools Struggling with Poor Test Scores.”

Keep in mind that your headline writing approach may change. If you find that you’ve hit a dead end or are struggling to write a compelling headline, don’t be afraid to try something a little unusual. It may be the key to a great headline.

Grab a free guide: How to Write a Press Release

Anthony Santiago is Director of Marketing at Newswire. With over a decade of experience in PR, he helps ensure that clients understand the value of brand messaging and reach.

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