7 tips for writing headlines journalists love

PR pros need to entice reporters from the very beginning of a press release, and that starts by crafting a great headline. Use these tips to make sure your news doesn’t end up in the trash.

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If you think I’m being dramatic, get this: You could be sitting on top the most interesting news in the world, but everyone will pass it by if your press release has a boring headline.

Check out the difference between these two headlines:

Example: A magnificent new treatment is being used in medicine for some awesome things

Example: Mayo Clinic doctors pioneer first cancer cure

Curing cancer is a big deal, but if you hide it like the first example does, journalists may not even realize what they’re reading. The cancer cure will stay hidden and millions of people could suffer.

The results of your press releases might not be quite that dramatic, but you get my point. A headline should succinctly tell a journalist what they’re about to read. It should also pique his or her interest and make them want to read more.

Here are some tips for writing headlines for real journalists:

1. Keep it short. Headlines should convey your central message within 60 to 80 characters.

If you can’t do that, you haven’t refined your hook enough. Try using strong verbs, like the word “pioneer” in the second example above.

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