3 Easy Steps to Writing Headlines and Subject Lines

What’s the first thing people read when they receive your release? The headline.

What’s the first thing people read when they receive your pitch? The subject line.

Your headline and subject line can be the key to your PR’s success or the reason it fails. Harsh? A bit, but at least we’re being honest.

Concocting words together to create a captivating headline or subject line can be difficult for most people. But, that’s why we’re giving you 3 easy steps to follow to writing the most riveting headlines and subject lines.

Here are the steps:

1. Look at Past Success

Look at your data.

If you’re writing an email pitch, take a look at your Top 5 most successful subject lines. What words did you use? What do you think caught their eye?

Headlines to press releases can be a little trickier than email pitches. Take a look back at your Top 10 PR headlines. Find out which ones were clicked on the most. What power words were most effective? Is there a connection between the words used in those headlines?

Depending on the content of the release, your headline must align with the most important news the release has to offer. Whether it be an award, product announcement, or conference attendance, pinpoint the most important and interesting aspect and integrate power words you’ve used in the past to enhance your release.

2. Leverage Pain Points

What does your audience want or need to know? What are they searching for?  What problem does your content solve for your reader?

Keywords and keyword phrases that you’re using in your content along with a bit of keyword research can help you here. Think about the emotions that your reader is experiencing. Are they angry, frustrated, hopeful? These emotions can be leveraged in your headline. Get them to open your release or email by striking fear.

Using words like “missing out” or “did you know?” can help get you more opens and reads.

3. Leverage “Proven” Formulas

There are a handful of proven headline and subject line formulas that are quite effective. The example headline above contains one of these formulas. Here are some of the more effective proven headline writing formulas:

Use Numbers: For example, “21 tips to lose weight”

Ask Questions: For example, Frustrated by fad diets?

Be Direct: This is particularly effective for subject lines. Example, “FREE limited-time subscription to….”

Use the Words “How-to”: For example, “how to write effective subject lines in 3 easy steps”

Make a Promise: Example, “Double your business in 60 days.”

People want to see proof of concept, it draws them in, turns their head. Try mixing things up and including facts in your headline or subject line.

Follow these steps for the next time you write a release’s headline or an email pitch’s subject line. Try and be versatile with your writing. You want to captivate your audience to keep reading your release or pitch.

Anthony Santiago is Director of Marketing at Newswire. With over a decade of experience in PR, he helps ensure that clients understand the value of brand messaging and reach.

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