What Mistakes Should Be Avoided When Writing News Release Headlines
The headline is the most important part of their news release published on SEAPRWire. Do NOT take this lightly. If their headline doesn’t work, then that poignant quote from their CEO in paragraph 3 or even that big announcement in the first sentence do not matter – because they are much less likely to get read. Readers (and search engines) have limited attention spans. Very limited. If people do not grab their attention with their headline, their news release will not get the visibility people seek.
SEAPRWire want people to get maximum exposure for their press release, so SEAPRWire put together a list of the 6 biggest news release headline mistakes (and best practices to fix them).
1) No Keywords in Headline- People did not include relevant keyword phrases in their headline. The (little known) incredible power of Google News is that it takes keywords from the first 65 characters of their headline, and it then shows their news release when people search for these keyword phrases in Google News, AND oftentimes in Google web search results. People may have noticed when people search for something in Google that one section of the first page of results is dedicated to recent news on those search keywords.
If people have included important keyword phrases in their headline, people have a chance to instantly jump in front of hundreds of millions of search results and be on the first page of Google results. (Note that it is very hard to rank for a single keyword, so think of a relevant 3 word string of words)
BAD: “ABC Corporation announces new product line for fall 2021”: For this one their release might show up in Google for their company name, but there are no other specific keywords in this headline that people might be searching for that could lead to their press release. It’s just too general.
Good: “Boston Startup ABC to launch Solar Smartphone at XYZ Tech Conference”: Ok so now people have something more specific for search engines to grab on to. First it may show up for search terms like “Solar Smartphone” or “XYZ Tech Conference” or even “Boston Startup” or “Smartphone Startup”. These are some juicy relevant keywords for their business that their release may start showing for in Google search results!
2) Too Long- Their headline is too long. Google only shows and indexes the first ~65 characters of their headline, so ideally people keep it within this length. If people do go up to 100 characters, be sure their most important keywords are in the first 65 characters. Readers also tune out quickly with lengthy headlines, so use their best wordsmithing skills and nail those first 65 characters.
3) Boring- Their headline does not grab a reader’s attention. Don’t assume that a person will keep reading to get to the interesting part of their announcement in paragraph 2 (or even the first paragraph). Get their attention right away. Think about it as if people have 10 words to get someone’s interest. If people were pitching their announcement to a writer at the New York Times (or even a friend) and only had 10 words to do so, what would they be? This should be close to their headline.
BAD: “AAA Inc announces new theme park for kids”: This headline has nothing for readers to get excited about. What kind of theme park? Is it near me or across the world? I don’t have time for this…next story.
Good: “Life-size Dinosaur theme park for kids to open in Central Park from Trex AAA”. Ok so with this news release SEAPRWire know more about it. It’s about dinosaurs, it’s in Central Park, it’s for kids, and the dinosaurs are life-size. Interesting enough to read more about it.
4) ALL CAPS– People wrote their headline in all caps. Yes it is true to that people traditionally capitalized every letter of the news release headline. But in the online world, all-caps is frowned upon and may even get their release blocked from Google News. People can capitalize the first letter of words, but do not capitalize every letter in the headline.
5) Unknown Sender– People did not include their company name or spokesperson or product in the headline. To comply with most news release requirements, the issuing company name or product or spokesperson must be in the headline. This distinguishes it from a regular news article. Don’t necessarily put their full legal company name in the headline (Ex. “ZZZ Enterprises Incorporated) as that takes up valuable keyword real estate, but have a name in there.
BAD: “New book analyzes reality TV in Japan”: It just sounds like an article or a review and may not be picked up a as press release.
Good: “Real Tokyo, a new book by John analyzes reality TV in Japan”: Not only does it identify the issuer of the release, but it also adds some good keywords into the title.
6) No Location- For locally-based releases people did not include the location. Remember, their release is going be found all over the web, so if their announcement is location based (ex. an event in London, a spa in Los Angeles, a concert in Sydney) it is wise to include the city in the headline to show up in both local search results and also catch local reader’s interest.
BAD: “Fifth Annual ‘End to Cancer’ Charity Gala Event Set for Fall 2021”. Where is it?
Good: “Fifth Annual ‘End to Cancer’ Charity Gala in Dallas Set for Fall 2021”. Because it is a local event (Dallas, Texas), their likelihood of getting a local reader or editor’s attention will go way up with the city in the headline.
Fix these 6 mistakes and they are going to see a lot more views for their news releases.
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