One of the best ways of feeling your way into what makes a great news release headline is to analyze existing headlines. Have a look at what is already out there and you will definitely get a sense of what works well and what doesn’t.
Besides that, here are some handy tips that give you the recipe for writing successful news headlines:
Make your headline short and sweet
Readers and search engines alike get bored with long headlines. You just need to give readers an immediate idea of what the news is about. No more, no less.
As a general rule, try to limit headlines to 100 characters or less.
Make your headline social media friendly
Another reason to keep a headline short and sweet is that it makes it social media-friendly. Think Twitter (140 characters or less, remember). Craft your headline so that it can be easily promoted on social media platforms.
Make your headline trendy and trending
Make sure you are au fait with keywords and terms that are popular and commonly used on social media. Make your headline ‘hashtag friendly’ – you might even get your headline trending too!
Make your headline SEO friendly
Bear in mind that you are writing for real people and for search engines too. Keywords need to feature, skilfully, throughout the news. Sub-headings are great places to position keywords, but they must be in your headline. Ideally in the first three words.
Use emotive language in your headline
Use language that plays on people’s emotions. You want to elicit a response: laughter, anger or sympathy, for example. Whatever the emotion that is stimulated is, you need to provoke some sort of reaction and curiosity.
The best way to do this is to make your headline powerful. Use an active rather than a passive voice. This gives your headline the power it needs.
Make your headline work for you
Make sure your news release headline grabs your attention. Don’t get too caught up with getting all the information you want to put in it. The acid test is whether it will catch the eye. And if it doesn’t catch your eye, it won’t catch anybody else’s!
End with your headline
We don’t mean to make your headline the final paragraph of your headline. What we mean is that the headline should be the last thing you write. Only when you have completed the whole news will you be able to hone in on the killer headline that encapsulates the piece.
Use online headline analysing tools
The icing on the cake is to test your headline out. There are various headline analysing tools online that can help you. They are no sure-fire guarantee to success, obviously but they can be very useful. CoSchedule is a good one to try. Another one is this headline analyser from Advanced Marketing Institute. This will give you the ‘Emotional Marketing Value’ score of your headline.
Follow these tips and you will become more skilled in the art of news release headline writing.