Today we are going to dissect how each component of your press release can drive readership and engagement if done correctly. The first and perhaps most overlooked component of a press release is the headline.
Headlines have evolved from simple announcements that inform journalists of a new product or service. Today news releases are indexed by thousands of online databases & search engines, are shared multiple times via social media, and are still used by journalists to help write stories.
Your press release headline needs to grab the attention of readers facing a content glut.
But how do you do that? Here are a few tips to get you started writing headlines with impact:
Headline Should Be Short
The headline should grab readers’ attention and draw them in for more but also be short enough to be tweeted. About 100 characters is ideal. This leaves your audience some space to add hashtags, comment, etc.
For search purposes, the main keyword or phrases that you are trying to optimize for should be within the first 65 Characters. The reason for this is that search engines will typically only display the first 65-70 characters, including spaces in the headline of the content (whether that be a news release, blog posts, product page, etc..).
Lead With the Why
Leading with the why allows readers – whomever they are and wherever they are seeing your news – to instantly understand why they should be looking at this piece of content.
If the “why” is that the content is about financial information, then the “why” is the name of the company. If the release is about a new product, ask why the audience should care about this new product.
The headline should gives your audience a reason why they should read your content.
Research has shown that headlines with numbers in them outperform headlines without numbers. Numbers can be thought of as a promise you are making to the reader to deliver an interesting trend or list of tips that will improve their lives.
When using a number in the headline, use the numeric according to AP Style. The use of percentage signs as opposed to writing out “percentage” is still debated, but rule of thumb says that the symbol will process faster in the brain, and therefore should be used.
Subheadings help the reader and the search engine by giving additional context to the headline and content. They are also the ideal place to subtly mention the brand name. Limit the number of subheadings to no more than two to avoid losing the reader’s interest.