Editor’s Note: Part One of this blog by George Carson can be found here.
Of the “Five W’s” (as mentioned in Part One of this blog), the headline is the most important. When creating the headline, make it effective.
Use this as a guide: Be Informative; Keep it Short; and Make it Relevant.
It’s okay to be creative, but not so much that it sounds like an advertisement, or too creative that it sounds untrue. Don’t mislead or make false claims.
“Incredible Technology Boosts Mileage for Diesel Engines” … This is too sensational. Is the technology really “incredible”? What is the amount of the “boost”? And is the technology new?
Stay away from headlines such as, “Limited Time Only! Amazing Deals on Step Ladders from the RV Ladder Store! Only $299!” Although extreme, this does happen. Businesses get excited about their sales, or discounted products, thinking it’s newsworthy.
Headlines should be 60 to 80 characters. Use a subhead to further explain the news. Subheads have added information to support the headline and not intended to be a stand-alone title. Here is an example:
Headline: “New York Couple Wins a Yamaha Quad at the Charity RV Show Last Month”
Subhead: “This is the first time Bill and Kathy Jones entered a contest and won”
- Make the headline impossible to ignore. Keep away from false claims and sensational words.
- Create interest so the journalist will want to continue reading the release.
- Check for spelling errors. This is critical. Don’t just rely on spell check, proof read your headline for accuracy and clarity. Have someone else also proofread.
Body of the release
The opening paragraph should be concise. Use the “Five W’s” in this section. Keep the first few sentences short and to the point. The next paragraphs should fully explain the purpose of your release. Keep it informative. If you use quotes, they should be from someone prominent or important to the company.
End the release with “For more information, visit (URL for website), or call Tim Daly at (555) 555-1111.”
The boilerplate is a short paragraph that explains the identity of the company and what it does.
When to Submit Your Release
As a general rule, Monday is a very busy media day and Friday reporters are usually finishing up stories. Wednesday and Thursday are typically good days to send your release. Tuesdays are also good. No matter what day you choose, always send releases before 9 a.m. Eastern Time.
SEO Press Releases
Yes, even press releases should be optimized. When not sending your release directly to a journalist, but to online news, using keywords and phrases will increase your rankings. Choose specific wording your customers type when they search for your type of product or service. The Internet can help you reach your target customer. In this case, your release becomes a mini webpage. Don’t “stuff” too many key phrases into the release. Stick to the guidelines we discussed, just optimize it. Include a photo(s) or video when possible. This will increase visibility and rankings.