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How to write a better news release headline in just 10 minutes

By Lindsey Chastain

Avoid forgettable and vague headlines with these quick tips to make for a better news release.


A person typing a news release headline on a computer.News releases enable organizations to inform the media and public about key developments within the company. But with limitless information competing for attention, writing effective headlines is critical to stand out and earn consumer clicks. 





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Take this lackluster headline: "Pharmaceutical company releases new drug." 


Merely stating the news without context or some form of hook reads plain and can’t guarantee a reader’s interest. Convey the hook of the story and grab interest immediately with a headline, like “New drug treatment could save thousands of lives.”


Other poor headline practices are boring, passive, or even sensationalized instead of informative, such as "Company announces revolutionary new product launching soon.” 


This headline is sensationalized with “revolutionary” and still provides vague information to the reader and forgettable phrasing, which will cause your company to lose out on consumer interest. A stronger headline will give context to the news, focus on social impact, and use dynamic wording to engage the reader. The transformed headline may read as “Company announces the launch of new product designed to keep you awake longer.”


Similarly, overly long headlines lose reader attention, while concise headlines get to the point fast. Aim for a headline that is 65 characters long.


Unoptimized Headline: Spring Clean Your Air Ducts: Revolutionary Duct Cleaning Process by Best HVAC Improves Indoor Air Quality


While this headline delivers all of the important information and has a good keyword, “Spring Clean Your Air Ducts," it’s 81 characters long, and the keyword can be improved to better relate to consumer searches. It uses words that mean nothing to the consumer or media like “revolutionary” and focuses on the company rather than offering something of value to the reader.


Consumers will likely search for something like “How often should I get my air ducts cleaned out?”

Phrasing your headline to answer that question will be more effective.


Optimized Headline: Wondering when to clean ducts? HVAC experts recommend every 3-5 years


This headline avoids unnecessary hype, answers a common consumer question, and is within an acceptable character limit. You can then mention the company or a newly developed process in the subhead such as “New process developed by Best HVAC reduces duct cleaning time by half.”


It's also helpful to incorporate relevant keywords and phrases that will optimize the release for online searches. But, keywords should not overtake the headline at the expense of captivating language. Avoid overly promotional words like "revolutionary" or "groundbreaking" and instead let the announcement speak for itself through clear, descriptive language. Similarly, sensationalist terms should be avoided in favor of accuracy.


Great news headlines highlight benefits, utilize active voice, are scannable, incorporate keywords, avoid fluff, and showcase creativity. This grabs attention amid information overload. Poor headlines risk great news never being read. Craft headlines carefully to ensure your message is heard.


For more tips like these, register for Axia’s free 60-Second Impact, packed with tips and tools on how to use PR to promote and grow your company.


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Photo by Pixabay

Topics: news release, earned media, news media

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