Craft a Smart Headline to Grab Your Editor

An engaging headline is often your best chance to make your news stand out from the hundreds of other items vying for an editor’s attention. Sometimes that will be a short but clever tweet. Other times it will be an astute email subject line. Whenever you’re announcing something, take time to fashion a compelling headline based on some of these points:

1. Think like an editor and ask yourself why a reader would care about the subject of your news release. What you come up with could be the essence of the headline.

2. You’re announcing something newsworthy, so be sure that your headline says what’s unique, surprising, different, or innovative. If your news has to do with a controversial topic, a trend that’s generating a lot of discussion, or some development within a particular industry or geographical area, say so.

3. If possible, include a relevant statistic or fact. It can immediately establish significance and set a tone of credibility for the information that will be conveyed in your news release. As a bonus, editors, like their readers, are drawn to fascinating facts.

4. Consider including the name of the organization if that in itself would be newsworthy. That is always the case with Fortune 500 companies but is usually not so with a small start-up or local agency.

5. Keep your headline short – no longer than would be visible as an editor scrolls through subject lines of emails on his or her smartphone. Remember that your reader may be viewing what you sent on a device that’s different from what you composed it on.

6. Whenever possible, tell a story. That’s often a challenge when limited to five or 10 words, but storytelling is one of the best methods to capture someone’s attention.

7. Be fun, but not overly cute. A pun can be effective, but make sure not to go overboard. An editor sees hundreds of announcements every day and will notice something that has some charm. However, the same editor will be turned off by a line that seems to try too hard to be witty. And if you’re conveying something serious, do not use humor in the headline. A balance of both fact and fun will make for a well-received headline.

With all that in mind, which of these do you find more engaging?

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