How Long Should a Press Release’s Headline Be?

Writing headlines is an art and science.

You need to have a clear understanding of your audience and be able to craft the words into a captivating phrase that resonates with them. There are simple strategies that copywriters use again and again to hit a home run, and yes, they can be used by you. Let’s take a look at some copywriting tactics that will improve marketing results, increase CTR, and drive traffic to your website…

Headline Issues

One of the most common problems people have when they write headlines is that they try to cram too much into a headline. They end up with run-on sentences instead of a headline. So how long should a headline be?

Let’s look at some possible answers:

1. No More Than Six Words

One general rule of thumb is that a headline shouldn’t be longer than six words. Now, this is a fantastic rule because it really forces you to be succinct. If you’re new to writing headlines or you’re finding that your headlines aren’t getting the job done, impose this rule on yourself and your writers. Within those six words, you’ll need to use simple but powerful language. Employ emotions, use numbers, make a promise to your readers.

For example,”5 Ways to Love Yourself More”, “37 Secrets to Debt Reduction”, or employ curiosity, “How the 1% erase the debt.”

2. Make it As Short As It Needs to Be

If you feel moderately comfortable with writing headlines, then you can embrace this strategy which is to make your headline as short as it needs to be. You can go over the 6-word rule, but only if necessary. This rule also depends on the situation. If you’re writing an email subject line, you want to stay short and succinct. If you’re writing a blog post, you may want a few keywords in your headline.

For example:

  • “5 Ways to Boost Self Confidence – Love Yourself More”
  • “37 Secrets to Debt Reduction – Get Out of Debt Today”

Hyphens can help you separate thoughts, keywords, or main points without using extra words. And, they help the reader because the content is visually separated.

3. Embrace Subheadings

If you’re working with two concepts that you want to get across in your headline, consider using a subheading to separate thoughts.

For example: 37 Secrets to Debt Reduction (how you can get out of debt starting today)

Subheadings often embrace parentheses to separate the ideas and to provide emphasis. By putting your subheading in parentheses you’re hinting that there’s an added bonus to the article. Writing a short headline takes practice but it’s worth the effort. You’ll notice that your click-through rates improve. You’ll get more exposure, more traffic to your website, and more shares on social media.

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.

Catch up on the rest of your content marketing news and strategy