Public Relations Writing: Write Better Press Release Headlines With More Impact in Less Time

Public relations writing when writing press releases can be a real challenge.

When writing press releases the most important part is the headline or title.

This is the information the media reads first so it has to grab their attention.

How can you write better press releases that get used instead of deleted?

Well the headline is essential when writing press releases.

Take this real life example of public relations writing.

"Triple Bottom-line Community Net Benefit Decision Time for Sustainable Economic Development Decisions Needed Says Economist"

This is an actual headline on a media release from MacroPlan Australia published in The Australian newspaper's Media Section on Nov 13, 2003.

Would you want to read more if you got this on your fax machine or email inbox? How can you write better headlines and improve the likelihood of your media release making the cut?

Writing a good title for a media release is essential for effective public relations writing. Here are my Top 9 Tips for Writing Better Headlines:

1. KEEP IT TO ONE LINE.

More than one line and you are likely to lose a busy journalist who would receive hundreds of media releases a day.

2. EDIT FOR BREVITY.

You probably won't achieve point one on the first go. Rewrite and edit every time. Remember with headlines that 'less is more'; so keep it to five words or less.

3. DON'T TRY AND BE TOO SMART.

Writing headlines for the print medium is a real art form. Leave it to the professionals, namely, newspaper sub-editors. Remember that newspaper headlines have to sell papers, your headline has to engage one reader - a cynical journalist or editor with a 'so what, who cares' attitude.

4. WHAT IS THE ESSENCE OF THE STORY?

The headline should summarise the story and answer the who, what, why, when and where.

5. USE A BIGGER FONT SIZE THAN THE REST OF THE RELEASE.

Don't go smaller than size 12 for the main body of the text and use size 14 or 16 font or bigger for your headline or title.

6. USE THE SAME FONT STYLE AS YOUR TEXT.

Never change font styles in a release. Times New Roman is the most accepted and professional.

7. USE BOLD TO MAKE IT STAND OUT.

8. CENTRE IT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PAGE.

9. ALWAYS SPELL CHECK AND DOUBLE CHECK FOR TYPOS.

Nothing harms your credibility more than a typo in the headline!

Thomas Murrell MBA CSP is an international business speaker, consultant and award-winning broadcaster. Media Motivators is his regular electronic magazine read by 7,000 professionals in 15 different countries.

You can subscribe by visiting http://www.8mmedia.com. Thomas can be contacted directly at +6189388 6888 and is available to speak to your conference, seminar or event. Visit Tom's blog at http://www.8mmedia.blogspot.com.

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