Does Your Press Release Headline Pass The Test?

Your press release headline is perhaps the single most important element. If your headline isn’t effective then no one will read, share, or reprint your release. And if it doesn’t grab the media’s – or anyone else’s – attention then quite frankly, what’s the point of writing it and distributing it in the first place?

For many press release writers, the time spent on the headline is equal to or longer than the time spent writing the press release itself. Sure the press release needs to be informative, newsworthy, relevant and interesting. However, if the headline doesn’t pass the test then no one is going to get to the body of the release anyway.

You get the point; the headline is important. The next logical question then is how do you create a great press release headline?

Elements of a Successful Press Release Headline

Not surprisingly, the headline rules for press releases and other content are practically the same. Let’s first take a look at the similarities between traditional headline rules, and then we’ll look at the differences.

Unique – Your press release headline needs to be unique. What’s different about your news? Many times press release writers work so hard to include keywords into the headline that anything resembling unique news goes right out the window. Focus on writing a great headline first, and then worry about keywords.

Timeliness and Relevancy – A press release addresses information that is timely and is relevant to your audience. It answers the question, “Why does this matter right now?” When it comes to press releases, timing is everything. Make sure your headline addresses the urgency of reading the information. For example, this headline – “New Report Ranks Top U.S. Cities for Bedbug Infestations,” would have been a perfect headline during the peak of the bedbug problem.

Value – Your headline needs to make some sort of promise or offer value. Using the headline example above, a list provides inherent value and the promise is that readers will learn where their city sits on the list.

Newsworthy – This is the only element that’s different between a press release headline and any other type of content. Your press release headline has to be news, and the news needs to be attention grabbing.

So What’s the Headline Test?

The headline test is simple. When your target audience reads your headline will they say, “Who cares?” Or will they be motivated to click on the headline link to read more? If you’re not sure your headline passes this test then it probably doesn’t. The unique value, relevancy, and newsworthiness should be apparent to you and your target reader.

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