Keep yours short, like The New York Times
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:
How long is too long?
Take a tip from the Times. Write headlines that:
- Average 8 or 9 words
- Never grow longer than 14 words
- Sometimes have as few as four words
Here’s what New York Times headlines look like:
A Coronavirus Epidemic Hit 20,000 Years Ago, New Study Finds
The Internet Eats Up Less Energy Than You Might Think
Alzheimer’s Prediction May Be Found in Writing Tests
How Can I Tell My Mother-in-Law to Buzz Off?
Once Again, the Earth Is Being Wrung Dry
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!
Instead of stuffing your headline with so many words, why not steal a tip from the Times? Keep release headlines as tight as those you find in the media you seek to sway.
How can you reach nonreaders with PR copy?
People skim 67% of news, according to a recent Harris Poll. Just 19% read news word-by-word.
Find out at NOT Your Father’s PR Writing — our media relations-writing workshop starting July 12.
There, you’ll learn to make the most of the hot spot in your headline … get found with Ann’s simple SEO techniques and tools … and make your message more skimmable with the palm of your hand.
Plus: Learn to make your PR message 47% more usable by adding a few simple elements.
Save up to $100 with our group discounts.