When creating content, it’s normal to pay the least attention to creating effective PR headlines. Unfortunately, as much as this is common, it’s also a big mistake because your headline is the most critical element of the content you’re creating. Some might even claim it’s more relevant than the content itself. After all, your headline will determine how many people stop to look at the rest of your content. Even so, people tend to undermine the role of a good headline. As such, it’s not uncommon for writers and content creators to throw together a strong of words that is remotely related to the content at the last minute.
Did you know that 8 out of 10 people will read your headline? On the other hand, only 2 out of these 10 people will go on to read the rest of your content once they’ve read your headline.
While writing effective PR headlines requires the right skills, it’s not rocket science. Writing a headline that captures attention is possible. What you’ve got to keep in mind are the basics guidelines to writing headlines.
How to write effective PR headlines
Be mindful of your language
Oftentimes, we overdo it with the language we use in our headlines. In order to be effective, your headline needs to be relatable. Remember, audiences need straightforward yet powerful language that conveys the message directly.
Having said that, there’s no room for rambling when writing a headline. Keep in mind that the ideal headline is 10 words and approximately 65 characters long. You must avoid making your headline longer than necessary because it’ll be cut off in search results and mailboxes. Few people will click on your content to read the remainder of your headline so that they can then decide whether the rest of the content is worth reading.
It’s also important to avoid uninspiring and bland language. Remember, keep it simple but interesting.
Calls-to-action hold genuine power in a headline. You can either address the audience directly as “You” or use powerful words that inspire action. You’ve got to make the language relatable and avoid jargon or unnecessarily complex phrases. For instance, you should stick to “Use” instead of “Utilise.” That’s because “Use” is easy to grasp, whereas “Utilise” sounds technical right off the bat. In summary, the most effective PR headlines are short, powerful, and relatable.
Use digits and lists to capture attention
Let’s face it – there’s something appealing about lists, especially if they are well-organised. Furthermore, many readers are also drawn to headlines with digits at the beginning. Listicles also attract a lot of attention.
Why are numbers and lists so effective?
That’s because they promise short and straightforward content. This gives your readers the impression that they will be able to digest your content easily. If it’s applicable, include digits and listicles in your headlines. The best listicles include ideas, strategies, facts, secrets, tips, reasons, tricks, and ways.
Try high-volume keywords
If you are leaving keywords out of your headlines, then you shouldn’t even bother wasting time writing them. In this era, keywords play a powerful role, especially when you care about online visibility. For instance, high-volume keywords will capture the attention of target readers. They will get the urge to click and read the rest of your content.
Your content should target audiences that are actively researching the topic you’re writing about. If you don’t optimise your content for these readers, then your content will go unnoticed. Thus, before you start writing the headline, invest your time into looking for high-volume keywords for the topic you’re writing about. You can leverage online keyword search tools to find these keywords. It’s usually wiser to stick to using keywords with a medium search volume. These are easier to compete with than those with high search volume.
Prioritise the audience
If you want to write more effective PR headlines, then it’s vital to think about your readers. In addition to identifying who they are, you need to take note of what they need. With this knowledge, you can write a headline that speaks to them directly. Furthermore, knowing the audience will enhance the chances of this audience reading the rest of your content.
Highlight your unique value proposition
Your headline gives you an opportunity to prove why the rest of your content is worth looking at. If readers are not impressed by your headline, they will not look at the rest of your content. Meanwhile, as tempting as it is, don’t attempt to be salesy or pushy. Salesy headlines are a complete turn-off to most readers, who want to be educated or entertained. The most effective PR headlines demonstrate their value to target readers.
Avoid mysteries in your headline
It can be a good idea to create a sense of mystery when you’re trying to create captivating content. However, don’t attempt that approach with your headline. If you leave readers guessing, they’re unlikely to read on to find out if your content meets their expectations. The world is so full of clickbait, and most of your readers will have come across their fair share of clickbait. Headlines that leave a reader second-guessing your intention don’t fly anymore. Thus, you should write a concise headline that accurately outlines what your content is about.
Address your readers by the second person
Addressing readers by the second person in your headline makes for a stronger and more effective headline. After all, addressing your readers directly captures and retains their attention. Of course, using the second person may seem tricky at first, especially in the beginning. However, once you learn how to do it naturally, it can be a powerful tool. Use words like “you’ll”, “you’re”, and “you”.
Address the 5 Ws
The best writers and content creators focus on the principle of the 5Ws for a good reason. Addressing these elements of your story is a good way to provide all the pertinent details as soon as possible. This is especially powerful when you’re trying to write a headline. Using the principle of the 5Ws will help you stick to the most crucial details, avoid rambling, and retain your reader’s attention.
Provide informative content
Sensationalism is not as effective as it was before because readers don’t appreciate having their time wasted. Instead, readers enjoy content that offers something new that they can learn from. Aside from looking to be entertained, the desire to learn is perhaps one of the basic reasons why readers search for content.
Regardless of what your content is all about, informative content is the trend nowadays. For this reason, starting your headline with “how to” can capture readers’ attention. At the same time, since many content creators have picked up on this in the last few years, “how to” headlines are rather overused. Using alternative phrases that suggest the same thing might be more effective. In this case, consider using words like “quick fixes”, “strategies”, and “methods. ”You can also use phrases like “101,” “beginners guide,” and “complete guide”.
Your content plays an important role in your brand identity. If you can create effective PR headlines, then you’ll attract the target audience that you’ve had your eye on. Over time, if the rest of your content lives up to what you promise in your headlines, you’ll be able to retain this audience and turn them into paying customers.