You finish writing your press release and read it back with a big grin on your face. Yes, this is the shit!
It’s newsworthy, it’s captivating, you’ve included great images and included all of the information the journalists could possibly need.
You distribute and can’t wait to see your release in the press!
The next day, you eagerly check your e-mails. A million people wanting you to buy stuff, an e-mail from your accountant wanting you to send over that info he’s been asking for months, a few business enquiries and one from your mum asking if you would like to come over for dinner tonight- it’s magic mash. Your favourite!
Nothing from any of the journalists… but that’s OK. You were careful to include all of the information. They’ve probably just gone ahead and published them. You go on a Google bender. They must be there somewhere. Damn you Google, where is my press release?
Aha, it must have gone straight to print! You run to the local newsagents (in your Giraffe onesie, because why not?) and rummage through the papers hoping to see your face grinning back at you, but alas, all you see is Boris Johnson’s hair.
Look, here’s the thing.
The most important part of a press release is often overlooked.
You could have distributed a stunning press release but if this isn’t right, it won’t go any further than sitting in the journalist’s inbox singing sad songs about what might have been if it had been allowed to grace the world with its newsey presence. But alas, it was not meant to be. A tiny little tweak, however and potentially, it could be all over the press.
Consider this for a moment.
If you had hundreds or even thousands of e-mails and very limited time to go through them, what would you do?
Naaaaw, behave! Imagine that you need the info that’s in these e-mails… just not all of them. So, how do you choose which to open?
Yep, you’ll scan the subject lines. When you send your press release, that’s where your headline goes.
Your headline may be the shortest part of your release, but it’s the most important because if it doesn’t grab the journalist’s attention, it may not even get opened. This means that it wouldn’t matter how great the rest of the release was because it wouldn’t be read!
So, how do you create a captivating headline?
Your headline should create intrigue! A great headline will make you want to stop and read the rest of the article to find out more.
Use Power Words
Use words that your audience will respond to- buzz words that will get them excited! If you want help in choosing alternative words, www.thesaurus.com is your friend!
Tweak the Order of the Words
Play around with the order of the words. A simple switch can make a huge difference!
Use present tense and active verbs
‘Bill Davies Announces Book About Cat Monocles’ not ‘Bill Davies Announced Book About Cat Monocles’.
Length of Headline
Keep it short and sweet. The length of the headline should, ideally, be under 60 characters, which will prevent a part of it from being cut off on various platforms.
Check Your Punctuation
Hire a proofreader, or use an app such as www.grammarly.com to check your whole release, including the headline.
Don’t use the words ‘a’, ‘an’ and ‘the’.
Capitalise the first letter of each important word. If you’re not sure which should be capitalised, use a handy tool such as www.capitalizemytitle.com – you can also use this tool to help you analyse your headline so that you can see how effective it’s likely to be.
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