How to Write a Killer Headline for Your Press Releases

Writing a press release headline is one of the most complicated and challenging parts of press release marketing. You essentially have two jobs to do. You want to attract attention, and you want to make sure that you’re actually announcing news. It’s not easy. The following tips and steps can help. 

1. Write the Headline Last

Sometimes people get hung up on the headline. This often means that they end up with a contrived headline that doesn’t quite do the job. Instead, write the press release information first. You can then go back and craft a headline from the information you’ve created in your release. It’s often easier to see the news and the benefit once the release has been written.

2. Take Your Time

It often takes as long to write the headline as it does the rest of the release. That means if you take an hour to write the press release, plan on an hour for the headline writing process. That doesn’t mean it takes an entire hour to write a single headline. What it does mean is that you will probably write several options, maybe dozens, and then you’ll need time to fine tune them and choose the best one for your needs.

3. Everyone Loves Lists

If you’re just stumped for a headline and don’t know where to go, consider a list. For example, “ABC Magazine Announces the Ten Best Places to Retire on a Budget.” Or “Five Tools No Interior Design Business Should Be Without,” or “5 Great Products for Stay at Home Dads.” The media loves lists because it makes their job easy. And consumers enjoy them too. It’s a simple way to gain value in a quick and easy way.

4. Use Active Voice

Active and passive voices are often difficult for people to distinguish. Generally speaking, a sentence that is written in active voice is simpler and easier to understand. Here’s an example:

“I am holding a pen.”


“The pen is being held by me.” 

Which is easier to read and understand? If you said “I am holding a pen,” then you chose the one with active voice. Essentially, the subject of the sentence is doing the action. Headlines written in active voice are much more effective. However, be sure to write your press release in third person. You want to present your ideas clearly without sounding like an advertisement.

5. Leverage the Power of Data

People, and the media, love facts and information. You’re releasing a new fish oil supplement? Talk about the data behind why fish oil is so important to health. Donating money to a charity? Share the shocking numbers about how many people need help and how much you’re donating. $10,000 donated to ABC charity to help stop homelessness is a much more effective headline than Fundraiser held to help stop homelessness. 

Finally, read your headline aloud. Does it make sense? Does it answer the question of “who cares?” for your audience? If you can’t answer the question quickly and without doubt, then it’s not yet the right headline. Writing great headlines can take time and practice. And don’t be afraid to test and track press release headlines to find out which types of headlines appeal most to your audience and to local media. 

Grab a Free Guide: The Ultimate Guide on 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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