If you’ve read a newspaper or magazine at some point, then you’ve already done an introductory course on how to craft effective PR headlines. When you were skimming through the pages, which headlines caught your eye? As a reader, it’s the headline that determines which articles you will read and those you will ignore.
The same concept applies to press releases. Media reporters often get overwhelmed with the influx of press releases in their emails. It’s only those with exceptional headlines that capture their attention. Having said that, let’s look into the elements that go into the most effective PR headlines.
Why do you need an effective PR headline?
According to research, readers lose attention quickly while reading online content. If you think about the number of notifications that distract you every day, it’s not hard to understand why this is the case. As you’re reading an online article, you can get interrupted by an incoming email, phone call, or social media notification. However, most of us at least get as far as reading the headline of an article before we get distracted and wander off to the next article. In fact, roughly 70% of readers will even go beyond the headline to explore the first paragraph. This percentage drops as you move further into the article. About 10% of us will get to paragraph four.
All these statistics can be very discouraging if you are a content writer. However, there’s a positive side to it. Given that almost everyone reads the headline, with the right headline you can create a positive impression and boost brand awareness.
Even better, with the right headlines, your content can be among the few pieces of content that 10% of readers explore completely. As you can see, it pays to create an effective PR headline.
How to develop an effective press release headline
Before you even start working on any part of your press release, you should identify who cares. Truth be told, not every online user will be interested in your content. In order to identify those who will be interested, you should answer the following questions:
- Who are you targeting?
- What information do you want to share? This should help you to briefly describe what will be in your press release. Thereafter, you can use it to create a brief and straightforward headline.
- Is your press release newsworthy? You should highlight the newsworthy aspects of your press release announcement when writing your headline.
Tips and tricks for your headline
For starters, you need a short headline. To capture reader attention more, do the following:
1) Use numbers
Using numbers in a headline makes it more interesting by creating an inspiring image for the readers. Numbers also compel them to go beyond the headline and digest the entire release. Furthermore, numbers demonstrate specificity, which is something readers are looking for. Picture these two scenarios:
- Gain Followers Quickly
- Gain 10,000 followers in 4 weeks
Between the two, which headline will capture your attention? It’s no secret that the second option is more compelling. For this reason, you should learn to use numbers in your press release headlines.
2) Use the active voice
Using the active voice for your headline is more helpful than using the passive voice. Firstly, it allows you to be brief and straightforward. Secondly, while the passive voice can be monotonous, the active voice is engaging. Additionally, the active voice will evoke an emotional response while the passive voice sounds academic.
3) Be specific
If you know what you’re writing about, you need to demonstrate that in your headline by being specific. While a sense of mystery may apply in articles, avoid applying the same concept in your press release headline. If you craft a mysterious headline that leaves people guessing, the readers may start questioning whether your release is worth it. Remember, specificity evokes trust. And when the readers trust your content, they will engage with you.
4) Add some comedy
Comedy is a powerful tool when you use it in your headlines. However, the challenge is in how to use it. Comedy is effective in grabbing reader attention, but if you use it poorly, it can portray you as a joker. Therefore, before you use comedy, you must answer the following questions:
- Is it appropriate for your content?
- Is accessible humour (widely understood)?
If the answer is “yes” in both instances, then you can use comedy in your headline. However, if you are not sure, it’s better to avoid this strategy. You can still capture the user’s attention with other techniques in this guide.
5) Be unique
You know your press release will be competing against hundreds of other releases for the same attention. Therefore, you’ve got to craft a headline that will stand out from the crowd. While it’s not easy to implement this on a short headline, you’ve got to try. If you pull this off, the reader’s attention will be yours.
6) Don’t sell
This might seem like an opportunity to market your brand, but don’t pursue this course. A salesy headline is a turn-off, regardless of whether you’re targeting journalists or consumers. Allow your brand to sell itself through your informative content. In order to do this, you should keep your content factual even in the press release.
7) Create urgency
Effectively creating a sense of urgency in your headline can leverage people’s FOMO. If the readers sense urgency in your release, they’re more likely to read it. They’re also more likely to act promptly on your call to action.
8) Use punctuation effectively
If you are looking for an ingenious way to reduce word count, then you should substitute filler words with effective punctuation. For example, you can use commas, colons, and dashes as conjunctions instead of “and”, “or” and “to”, among others. This also reduces the character count and incorporates voice and creativity in your headline.
How long should your headline be?
The length of your headline is also a vital element that plays a part when creating an effective PR headline. Briefly:
- If you’re writing for search engines, your headline must contain no more than 65 characters
- If you’re writing for editorial systems, your headline must contain approximately 55 characters
- Social channels will accommodate longer headlines.
For the purposes of your press release, the most effective PR headline will be brief and concise to capture the attention of both journalists and target consumers.
Start publishing press releases with outstanding headlines today
Finally, launching a company and getting it to any level is no easy task. While learning to write effective PR headlines is achievable over time, sometimes this can be overwhelming when you’re the same person running the day-to-day operations of your company.
Luckily, if this is the case, you can simply outsource your press release writing and reduce the burden on your to-do list. If you need help with this, reach out to the PR specialists and expert writers at Pressfarm. In addition to helping you write a striking press release headline, the experts at Pressfarm can also help you develop content for the press release itself, and optimize the press release for search engine visibility. Beyond that, the Pressfarm team can help you distribute this press release widely, thereby putting it in front of your target audience.
In addition to press release writing and distribution, Pressfarm offers clients media kit design services. With an eye-catching media kit, you can capture a journalist’s attention during your targeted pitching or convince a potential customer to convert into a paying customer. By developing custom media lists for you, the experts at Pressfarm can also help you connect with the right media professionals to tell your brand story.
Finally, the Pressfarm team also submits client details to startup directories within their network. By doing this, Pressfarm can increase your brand awareness and boost your online visibility.
If you need help with your effective PR headlines, content creation, and publicity efforts, one of Pressfarm’s packages could be exactly what you need.