Of course there’s no such thing as the absolute, perfect press release, but we can imagine a conceptually perfect press release headline. For every press release, there’s an amazing headline waiting out there for it, and it’s your job to find it each and every time. Reaching that pinnacle is no small feat, though, and there are several things to look out for.
You can’t really say “four words maximum for a headline” or “no more than 50 characters and no less than 14,” as that doesn’t take any other factors into account. Still, there are a few rules to follow when it comes to length.
For instance, you absolutely cannot have some gigantic headline. Long headlines automatically scare away anyone who might even be remotely interested in reading your press release. A giant headline (“Despite the explosion of its factory, Fantasy Teddy Bear Fun Inc. declares it will survive forever”) implies the rest of the release will be a nightmare to et through, and a busy reporter or intern will skip over it as fast as possible.
On the other hand, a teeny tiny press release headline can also terrify a reader. They could take it as a sign you’re not confident in the material or don’t even have enough to fill out an entire press release. A one-word headline (“Explosion!”) does not give the reader any idea what it’s about, so why would they read it?
So while there’s no set, ideal length, you should strive to cram as much information into a small as place as possible. Something like “After disaster, Fantasy Teddy Bear Fun will continue” gets the idea across without boring anyone.
Your headline has to capture the attentions of readers or the release is doomed. Again, there’s no universal way to do this, and sometimes there is no telling what people will react to.
However, you should have some idea of what will grab most people’s eyeballs. For instance, if there was an explosion at your factory there’s undoubtedly news about it, which means you can play with that in the headline. People want to know more about it, especially people in your community.
In this case a headline like “Local Company vows to stay open” isn’t exactly amazing, but “Teddy Bear Fun Inc. stays open despite disaster” could perk up some editors’ ears. It’s possible they’ve all covered the news of the explosion already and are anticipating the arrival of your comments.
It doesn’t have to be anything as dynamic as an explosion to capture eyeballs, though. The most mundane thing in the world can be amazing with the right headline. If your vice president of sales moved up to position president, that’s not earth-shattering, but a human interest headline like, “Local man completes journey from janitor to president” could get some attention.
Have you ever written a perfect or near-perfect press release headline? What was it?
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