During my days as an editor for a healthcare magazine, I received some interesting mail. Here’s a news release headline a well-meaning hospital PR executive sent me one day:
CDH TO HOST LAPAROSCOPIC HERNIORRAPY PRECEPTORSHIP
Huh? I’m guessing one in a half-million or so people would have a clue what that headline was about. And ask yourself: how much interest does it generate? The release itself was fairly well written, and once I read the first few sentences I realized the hospital was hosting a seminar about advancements in hernia operations.
Trouble is, most reporters wouldn’t get past the headline – the release would end up in the recycle bin before the first paragraph was read. Why not just say in the headline, in simple terms, what the seminar is about?
Headlines are vital to attracting interest and getting people to read the release or article, similar to how the wording on a subject line can make the difference between you reading or deleting the e-mail. Make your headlines readable or you risk having the release discarded before it even gets read.
Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.