It might be the shortest sentence in your entire press release, but your headline is undoubtedly one of the most important. In fact, some might say that it’s more important than the actual press release itself.
The sad reality is that headlines are often treated as an afterthought, even though 8 out of 10 people will read your headline. Yet only 2 out of 10 will click through to read the rest if the headline catches their attention.
There’s an art to headline writing — but it’s not rocket science. It’s possible to write a headline that always captures attention, you just have to remember the fundamentals. This blog is here to remind you.
All too often we tend to overcomplicate things when it comes to marketing copy. What your readers want to see and engage with is simple, powerful language that they can relate to.
When it comes to headline writing, there is no room for long, complicated words, nor is there room for bland, uninspiring language. As with most things in life, simple is best, but simple doesn’t have to mean boring.
Words that hold true power are call-to-action (CTA) words. They encourage people with direction or they address people directly with words like ”you”. Keep your language relatable, i.e. why use the word ”utilize”, when its simpler version ”use” is perfectly understandable?
In short, a headline needs to be conversational and relatable, but also powerful.
If you’re not using keywords in your headline copy, then why even bother? In today’s day and age, keywords are king and they can make all the difference in grabbing the right attention.
A high-volume keyword attracts the attention of the right people, interested in reading a certain topic. This makes it all the more likely that they’ll click through to the rest of the article, and not lose interest after the headline.
You want to target people who are actively searching for a specific topic. If not, then your press release will most likely remain unnoticed. Before you dive into writing headlines, you want to research the top-performing keywords for that specific topic.
There are plenty of online platforms that offer free keyword research tools, too. Make sure to use keywords with a medium to high search volume. Those with a very high search rank might be a little too difficult to compete with.
There’s no denying that most of us love a good list (even if you’re not a ”list person”). And for some reason, readers are naturally drawn to the positioning of digits beside text, much like contrasting colors and shapes. It’s these types of headlines that attract the most attention and perhaps it’s because time is precious in today’s day and age.
The idea of a listicle almost promises the reader a short, succinct read that they can digest easily. So, where possible, you want to try and include numbers and list words in your headlines.
Some of the most popular listicle words to use include: tips, ways, tricks, reasons, secrets, facts, strategies, ideas.
While a sense of mystery has its place in the world of writing (namely fiction, let’s be honest), it does not quite have a place in the realm of headline creation. A sense of intrigue might have an initial impact, but the last thing you want is for your reader to guess what your article or press release is about.
In other words, make sure that your headline articulates what to expect from the rest of the content. This will most likely inspire them to read on if they feel the content could benefit them in some way.
Your headline is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate or explain why the rest of your content is worth reading. It’s almost like a very short sales pitch for the rest of your article or press release.
However, it’s important to do this in a subtle way, you don’t want to be too pushy or salesy. The best way to do this is to offer some sort of value to your reader through information and the promise of simple language.
For example, ”7 Quick Tips on How to Write a Great Headline” promises useful information in a list format that’s easy and quick to read. It shows that the rest of the article could be beneficial to them and worth the read.
Like it or not, but most of the global population today loves a bit of drama. And whether we like to admit it or not, cynism is a big part of what drives society. The reality is that most people steer towards headlines about drama, or how they’re being deceived or manipulated.
Without being too dramatic or sensational, there’s a measure of power in creating juicy headlines that entice people to question things. There’s no harm in playing on this sentiment when writing headlines.
Along with a bit of sensationalism, readers today are also enticed by content that they can learn from. This is one of the main reasons people search for things online, isn’t it? To educate themselves on a certain topic.
Whether it’s a question of how to improve your PR writing skills, or how to build a fire pit for your backyard, educational content is top of the pops these days. While headlines that begin with ”how to” may capture initial attention, this is one of the most overused ways to begin a headline. In truth, it’s a little stale.
Instead, think about how you can mix it up. Use words that are a little out-of-the-ordinary, such as ”methods”; ”strategies”; ”quick fixes”. Or, set your headline up to sound instructional, i.e. ”Inspire Your Audience with Your Content: Here’s How”.
Other useful words that tend to grab attention in educational posts include ”beginner’s guide”, ”complete guide”, and ”101”. Don’t shy away from using these phrases to reassure readers that they’ll find the information they are looking for.
An embellished headline is one that is not afraid to sell and market itself. It’s important to be a little liberal when it comes to descriptive language, but steer clear of over-exaggeration or over-selling.
Embellishment is all about enticement and it works best if you’re writing about a topic that could be a little dull or even niche. Another important element is a sense of urgency.
Using language such as ”your last chance” or ”don’t delay” can inspire readers to click on your article in fear of missing out on what you have to share.
If you don’t have a clear idea of who your audience is and who you’re targeting, then this is your biggest problem. It’s crucial that you know your audience well and cater to what’s important to them in your headline copy.
With this knowledge, you can ensure that your headline writing speaks directly to your target audience. This only increases your chances that your readers will click through and read the rest of your copy.
Understanding your audience allows you to be smart and strategic when writing effective headlines.
There’s a reason why these principles exist in writing. They help to define your headline writing while ensuring your content is relative to your audience.
When you’re struggling with content ideas, you can always fall back on the ”who, what, when, where, and why” of it all. These engaging words are great for helping you to gather information and write headlines that articulate clear thoughts.
If there was ever a time and place for addressing your audience in the second person, it’s with your headlines. Why? Because it speaks directly to them, and this draws the most attention.
Yes, writing in the second person can seem awkward for other forms of content. But when it comes to content marketing, the second-person perspective is a great tool. Again, this tactic includes words that call out your readers such as ”you”, ”you’re”, ”you’ll” etc.
Whether you’re a new business or one that needs a content revamp, eReleases is here to help you with PR and headline writing.
Well-written marketing content should be at the heart of your business in today’s day and age. But if you just don’t have the time or resources to write the content that your business deserves, outsourcing this task is your best solution.
Learn more about our press release writing and editing services and how we can help turn your content around!