Top 6 Qualities of a Good Headline

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What is a Headline?

A headline is a short, compelling line of text set at the top of an article, blog post, press release, or any form of written content. It serves as an introduction to the subject matter. Its purpose is to attract the reader’s attention, communicate the essence of the story, and motivate people to continue reading the entire piece.

In the online world, headlines also play a crucial role in search engine optimization (SEO), helping to make your content more discoverable online.

Social Media Headlines

Thanks to social media such as Twitter and Facebook, it’s easier to share content than ever before. And if you’re using these tools, there’s a greater chance that people will read your business blog posts. However, this also places more importance on the title of your posts than in the past. Why? Well think about this: when someone Tweets your blog article, what do other people see? Your headline. That means they will choose whether or not to click on your blog based on your headline alone. No summaries. Probably no pictures.

How To Write An Effective Headline

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So how can you write a headline that makes people click through? The truth is, it’s part science, part art. And while we might not be able to lay out a formula for you, we’ve found that good headlines all tend to share most of the following qualities.

  1. Eye-Catching – Sounds obvious. You want a headline that will catch people’s attention first and foremost. But how? Begin with trigger words that have proven to work. Things like free, sale, and win are good for posts that offer products. For informational posts, lists such as “top 5” or “how to” tend to catch the eye.
  2. Believable – Don’t get so wrapped up in trying to make things eye-popping that you are untruthful. Nothing will anger a reader like a headline that doesn’t deliver. Sure it might get someone to click, but they won’t come back!
  3. Easy to Read – Gimmicks are just that – gimmicks. Stay away from strange fonts, all caps, and the like. Anything that makes your headline more difficult to read will cause people to skip over it.
  4. Active Voice – If you use verbs in your title, keep them active. In other words, instead of “7 Ways to be a Millionaire,” make it active by saying something like “7 Ways to Generate Millions of Dollars.”
  5. Brief – Long titles make people yawn. Make your headline short but sweet. Brevity is key, especially since Twitter limits your characters.
  6. Accurate – Give your readers a good idea of what they’ll be reading. Ambiguity is nice in fiction – but this isn’t fiction.

Hint: Spend Most Of Your Time Writing Your Headline

Remember, don’t let your headline be an afterthought. It’s just as important as the actual content of your post. A bad one could cause your article to never get read. A good one could generate click after click after click.

My recommendation – spend 50-80% of your time crafting your headline. It’s worth it because a great headline will significantly increase the power and effectiveness of anything you write.

Press Release Headlines

A press release headline is arguably even more important than a headline on a social media post, blog post, or article, because it pulls the journalist into your story, increasing the chance they will run your press release or write their own story. Press release headlines amplify the power of your writing, because a great press release can result in millions more exposures than anything else you may write. 

Good press release headlines have all the attributes of a normal headline stated above, plus they are:

Good Press Release Headlines Are Concise

A good press release headline is typically short, ideally within 60 to 80 characters. 

Effective Press Release Headlines Show the Newsworthiness of Your Story

A journalist’s first question is “is this story newsworthy for my audience?” If it’s not, they won’t read further, and all the effort you spent writing and distributing it will be wasted.

Quality Press Release Headlines Convey the Entire Message in a Single Line

The headline should succinctly summarize the key point or the most newsworthy aspect of the press release. It should give readers an idea of what the press release is about, even if they only read the headline.

Journalists are busy, so they look for press releases to be written in inverted pyramid style, with the most important information first, followed by the next most important fact, and continuing in that manner. The headline is the top, most important part of that pyramid, communicating the essence of the story. (No pressure…)

Successful Press Release Headlines Are SEO-Friendly

In the digital age, incorporating relevant keywords can boost the visibility of the press release on search engines, which can significantly increase the reach of your news.

Good Press Release Headlines Use the Appropriate Tone

The tone of the headline should align with the company’s brand voice and the nature of the news. Whether it’s serious, exciting, or innovative, it should reflect the mood of the content.

Quality Press Releases Must Be Fact-Based

Avoid hyperbole and exaggeration. The headline must be rooted in truth, otherwise, it can harm the credibility of the company and the press release.

Need Help Writing Your Press Release Headline?

At eReleases, one of the services we provide is to review the headlines of every press release we distribute. Because our staff of professional editors has worked with thousands of press releases, we know what works, what doesn’t, and how to shift your headline to get the attention of the journalists who will receive it.

Questions? Want to know more about how we can help you get your press release message out to much bigger, yet highly-targeted audience? Give us a call, we’d love to discuss your needs and how we can help!

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab your free 160-page copy of the Big Press Release Book – Press Releases for Every Occasion and Industry here:

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