If you’re trying to write press release headlines, you know it’s a cutthroat world out there! For small businesses, there is so much competition that all of your content needs to be top-notch.
When you’re writing a press release, there are a lot of elements to think about. Whether you’re announcing new hires, a new product, or a company event, a press release is a great way to communicate information in an objective fashion.
However, to get this information out there, you need a good press release headline. That’s why we’ve assembled a guide to 8 elements you should consider when crafting the perfect press release headlines.
A crucial part of writing a press release is considering SEO. If no one sees your press release, then it might as well not be out there.
Consider this scenario. Your small business is releasing a new product, and you’re trying to build hype around it. So, you put the time into crafting a press release.
After submitting a press release, you breathe a sigh of relief. You’ve done it, right? Your business has established a source of truth for all relevant information about the product launch, and now it’s available online for everyone to find.
Not so fast! Your competitor has done the same thing. Their product is in direct competition with yours. And while their version isn’t nearly as good, they’ve put in the work to optimize SEO.
With the right keywords, they’ve skyrocketed to the first page of Google. Your press release is lagging behind on the third page of search results, which means it might as well not exist in the SEO world.
SEO isn’t just for the text of your press release. Include a primary keyword in your headline too. It makes a big difference when you’re trying to edge out your competitors for the highest Google rankings!
The truth is, you can write a press release about anything. Whether you made a new hire or published a new blog post, you can write a press release about it.
The question to ask is whether it’s newsworthy or not. If you’re a talented headline writer, you can make almost anything sound newsworthy. Take clickbait titles on celebrities, for instance.
Whether a celebrity likes pizza or not is likely irrelevant to their art, their career, or who they are as a person. In fact, no one would even ask about their pizza preferences if they weren’t famous.
However, it’s a slow news day. So, a headline writer at a paparazzi-fueled publication decides to turn pizza into something newsworthy.
With the right spin and a little stretching, the headline is combative. It hints at a feud, which is something drama-addicted audiences will click on.
You can picture it because all of us have been conditioned to expect this type of ‘newsworthy’ spin. ‘X Celebrity Lashes Out at Pizza Haters’, is one example of how a simple preference becomes a headline.
Of course, as a small business, ethics are crucial. Don’t veer toward dishonesty when crafting your headlines. But make sure that before you ever think about submitting a press release, you’ve taken the time to uncover a newsworthy angle for your headline.
It’s a headline, not the next Great American Novel. When you’re writing a headline, review it with an eagle eye. If there’s a single word you can ax, cut it.
This is no time to be squeamish or precious about your writing. Can you turn ‘We cannot’ into ‘can’t’? You’re only saving a little space, but it’s worth it.
Think of it as a social media caption. Even though press releases are meant to attract a very different audience than an Instagram post, you’re working with the same attention span.
Many experts cite the study that finds modern audiences have the attention span of a goldfish. When you’re working with that kind of time crunch, there is no room for wasted syllables.
Focus on action words, verbs, and condensed language. You can always expound and explain within the actual context of the press release. The press release format is meant to follow a hook-line-sinker format.
The top of the release is where you generate interest. The rest is where you justify the interest that you’ve generated, with solid facts, statistics, and other qualifying information.
When you craft a headline, imbue it with a sense of urgency. For instance, note how local stores try to grab your attention with this technique.
Maybe you need a new mattress and were planning to put it off for a few months. After all, there’s no real rush. But your local furniture store is having a sale for 30%.
In big letters and urgent verbiage, they promise this sale won’t last more than a week. In fact, you need to make haste so they don’t sell out.
With some urgent marketing language, you’re now thinking about buying now instead of in a few months. After all, a sale that good won’t come around twice!
Just like that, you’ve been influenced by an urgent headline. When you’re crafting your press release, make it urgent. When surfing the Internet, many of us find ourselves craving the next hit of drama or dopamine.
What better way to achieve that than through urgent wording? People will feel compelled to click on your press release and take any CTAs that you indicate within the text.
When it comes to headlines, it’s crucial to follow the four U’s of headline writing. These tenets are: make it urgent, useful, unique, and ultra-specific.
When you’re making a useful headline, know that everyone hates wasting their time. If you make your headline sound urgent, you need to justify that urgency.
If someone clicks on your headline and finds it’s just fluff—like a celebrity’s pizza preferences—they will feel irritated. They just wasted their time and emotional investment.
This feeling of irritation will transfer to the rest of your products. Why should they trust your products, your new hire, or your event if they can’t even trust your press release?
Make sure that your press release headline communicates the necessary information. You don’t need to give away everything, but make sure people have a fair idea of the release’s contents from the headline alone.
If you’re struggling with press release elements, you may be tempted to rely on boilerplate text. After all, it does the job, right?
People see so much content every single day. From pop-ups in their Outlook email to billboards on their way to work, everyone is inundated with content. There’s so much that it all blurs together for many people.
If you use boilerplate, people will notice. Or, more accurately, they won’t notice. They’ll scan over your headline without ever clicking on it.
When you make it unique, you’re adding a sense of human interest to your headline. This is the sense of mystery we mentioned above.
It’s important to note that you might not be able to fit the 4 U’s into your headlines. After all, four unique tenets are a lot to fit into a single sentence. Aim to fit two, at minimum.
If you can fit all four, congratulations! But if not, focus on the two U’s that make the most sense for your specific headline and industry.
When you’re writing an ultra-specific headline, you’ll know that you aren’t wasting any verbiage or confusing your reader. A headline may seem crystal clear to you. But remember that you have years of backstory and context.
You may have been with the company for years, or you know the new product line forwards and backwards. That’s a lot of information that new readers won’t have.
And if a headline only makes sense with your layers of context, it will confuse everyone else. That’s why it’s important to make your headlines as specific as possible.
That way, every reader will be clear on what you’re offering or announcing. In fact, they may not even click on the press release. They’ll know from the headline, and will go straight to your website.
As we talked about, you want your press release headlines to be unique. But there’s a difference between unique and weird in the copywriting world.
That’s why it’s crucial for you to review press release samples. There are so many top-notch press releases and headlines, and you can learn something from each one of them.
If you’re struggling to write press release headlines, we can help. There’s a lot for a small business owner to do in a day, and the assistance of a writer can make a big difference.
If you’d like to investigate our PR writing options, contact us today! We’d be happy to help.