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Six Tips to Writing Effective Press Release Headlines

By Doug Farrick

If your headline fails, your press release will never see the light of day. Here's how to write headlines that will get in print - with examples.

A press release that actually is picked up and printed in a national publication reaching your target market can pay off big time.

Not only can it bring many new customers, it can also catch the attention of larger companies that might be interested in either licensing your product for resell, or approaching you with a buyout offer.

For these reasons, it is definitely to your advantage to write the kind of press releases that actually have a chance of getting printed.

To do that, start with the headline.

The Press Release Headline

Typically, the editor responsible for choosing which press releases will be published doesn't have time to read all the press releases he or she receives. So instead of reading the entire release, the editor has learned to scan the press release headline looking for something of interest to their readers.

If the headline is appealing, the editor then scans the first paragraph (also know as the lead paragraph or 'teaser copy') to see if the press release bears further reading.

But if the headline is boring, the editor usually passes on the press release - he has too many other things to do to try to figure out if the press release is worth pursuing.

This means if you fail to attract interest in the headline of your press release, and fail to keep the attention in the teaser paragraph, it is unlikely your press release will ever be published.

There are some things you can do to increase the chances of your release getting the attention it deserves.

Here are six tips to get you started down the right road.

1. Write for editors - Your job is to write a press release that makes writers/editors (those people who review and approve press releases), want to read it -- and use it. If you fail to do that, there is no chance for your press release to see print. So try to understand how these people think.

They read hundreds of press release headlines a week, and quickly learn to filter out the BS and egocentric ones from those that might merit additional attention. Understand that these people are looking for something interesting to print - but they have a lot to choose from.

Make their job easier by giving them what the want, and leaving out what they don't want.

2. Cut the hype - Editors and writers are a cynical bunch. When they see hype in a press release headline, they usually don't bother reading the rest of the press release.
If you write a headline like, "Fantastic new product solves all life's problems," the editor/writer will quickly toss the press release into the trash.

But if you write, "Survey shows most adults have allergies to five common foods," then the editor might say, "My readers will want to know about this!"

3. Cut the buzzwords - Don't include industry specific jargon and insider buzzwords in your press releases - unless the press release is being submitted to a tech savvy person writing for a tech savvy publication.
In most cases, if you write a press release headline like: "PENCILSOFT, INC. announces interactive, interoperable, cross-platform, multimedia solution", it will be over the head of the editor/writer - and over the head of their readers.

But if you write, "New microphone lets anyone sound like favorite singing star," you have something the editor knows his readers will be interested in.

4. Drop your ego - Unless you are a famous person with a big following of people eager to read about your adventures, don't include your name or your company name in the headline of your press release.
Including these names might pump up your own ego, but it generally has a negative effect on editors and writers. They don't care who you are - they just want to know what you have that might interest their readers.

So don't write, 'PENCILSOFT, INC. AND JOSEPH BLOWHARD ANNOUNCE THAT JANE BIGHAIR HIRED AS LOAN OFFICER'.

Instead write, '7 reasons why those over 70 should consider a reverse mortgage.'

5. Think like a reporter - A newspaper reporter knows that headlines sell papers. The headlines must quickly convey the kind of information needed to capture the readers attention.
Newspaper reporters know the headline should express in just a few words, what is being announced and why should anyone care.

When it comes to press releases, instead of writing, "LTEG HOLDINGS, A SOUTHHILL CAPITAL MANAGEMENT LLC BACKED COMPANY, ANNOUNCES POSITIVE EBITDA", write "Good news for investors in LTEG Holdings".

6. Pitch "lists." The media love stories that can be presented with clear, concise bullets.
And nothing fits this structure better than a "Best ..." or 'Six ways...' list - especially a list with a twist.

When thinking about your press release, think about how you can use the information you want to covey in a bullet list.

Example: "Six Best Places To Retire on a Budget". Or, "Six tools no web site business should be without," or "5 great products for desktop video producers."

Using the above six tips when writing headlines for your press releases will give you an advantage when editors and publishers review them for potential publication.

Checkout this automatic press release tool called Press Release O Matic.