How To Write A Good Headline For Your Press Release

The headline is the most important part of your entire press release. If the headline doesn’t do its job, then no one will read, share, or publish your release. Your headline must:

+Be short and sweet

Generally, the rule of thumb is between 60 and 80 characters. Some distribution services have a limit. Think of it like a really interesting tweet, though of course Twitter allows 140 characters. Write very tightly.

+Be keyworded

You should use keywords related to your niche or industry in the headline of the release to make it more discoverable to search engines and the search feature at press release distribution services. Think of the typical words journalists and bloggers who specialize in your niche use in order to find press releases that might make for good stories they can pass along to their readers.

+Be information based.

No hype! A press release is not a sales letter. It needs to be newsworthy.

+Pique the reader’s curiosity

Get the reader wondering what the press release is about. Give them an idea of what’s in it for them if they take the time to read the release.

+Use active verbs

Active verbs are much more exciting than passive ones.” The bank was robbed (by someone)” is a lot flatter than, “Bank robbers snatch $10k in ram raid.”

+Use power words

There are many power words that command attention. In particular, nouns and verbs can convey power depending on your word choice.

Rob/steal versus snatch, grab, nab create a certain impression of a robbery.

Strange odor forces 22-story building to evacuate

Odor is a good word, but smell or stench would be more powerful.

+Make an emotional connection

Headlines can evoke emotion. Look at the plain facts of this headline:

1-Microsoft to Acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 Billion – Wall Street Journal

versus the more emotive:

2-Microsoft Buys LinkedIn for $26.2 Billion, Reasserting Its Muscle – The New York Times


3-4 Reasons Microsoft Wasted $26.2 Billion To Buy LinkedIn – Forbes

Headline 2 seems to convey a favorable impression: that Microsoft is making some sort of comeback, due to the word reasserting.  Power is conveyed through the word muscle.

Headline 3 seems to convey a negative impression, calling the move a waste.

+A Hook

There are different tactics that you can use to grab your audience’s attention and pull them into the news you’re sharing in your press release. The hook is the element that draws them in to learn more.

Wells Fargo Claws Back Millions From CEO After Scandal

This is an interesting headline due to the words claws and scandal.

How Ford’s Twitter strategy helped it win Monday’s debate

Donald Trump attacked Ford in the first presidential debate, but Ford fought back. This is an intriguing headline that encourages readers to click to learn more.


Check spelling, punctuation and grammar. Aim for perfection so you will look like a pro. Otherwise, a busy journalist will pass by your headline because it has errors in it, and all your hard work will go to waste.

Pay attention to the way you craft your headlines and see what a difference it can make to your media pickups.

Call us today to speak to one of our PR specialists: 1-800-713-7278

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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