Keep news release headlines short
Hey, PR pros: Would you like to see your story in The New York Times? Then why not write like the Times?
We recently analyzed 100 headlines from PR Newswire and compared them to 100 headlines from a recent issue of The New York Times. (We skipped the sports pages.) Here’s what we found:
- Average headline length. Times: 6 words. PR Newswire: 11.2 — 37% longer than the newspaper of record in the United States.
- Median headline length. Times: 9 words. PR Newswire: 11 — 22% longer than the newspaper of record.
- Longest headline. Times: 14 words. (There were two.) PR Newswire: 33 — 136% longer than the newspaper of record.
- Shortest headline. Times: 4 words. (There were four.) PR Newswire: 4.
How long is too long?
I usually recommend that you keep your news head to eight words max. That’s the number people can easily understand at a glance, according to research by The American Press Institute.
That not only makes your headlines look more inviting, but also allows readers to get your news in a single gulp.
What not to do …
But here’s what PR pros tend to write instead:
Dr. Reed V. Tuckson to Deliver Keynote Address at 2015 Digital Health Summer Summit Co-hosted by Center for Digital Health Innovation at UCSF
Magnetic Materials Market Developing at 8.9% CAGR To 2020 — APAC To Be The Fastest Growing Region Due To High Demand From Electronics & Auto Industry
LIFE TIME FITNESS SHAREHOLDER ALERT: Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP Announces the Investigation of Life Time Fitness, Inc. Over the Proposed Sale of the Company to Leonard Green & Partners and TPG Capital — LTM
At 23, 26 and 33 words, respectively, these are paragraphs, people!
Solution: If you need all of those details up top, put half your headline in the deck.
Instead of stuffing your headline with so many words, why not steal a tip from the Times? Keep release headlines as tight as those in the media vehicle you seek to sway.