How to tweak your headlines for success

In journalism, clicks matter—despite what traditional news folks might say. One copywriter weighs in on how to catch the attention of reporters and the general public.

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Headline writing isn’t easy.

Although many online “How to write a better headline” articles can be helpful, they’re time-consuming.

Perhaps you’ve tried writing 20 headlines and asking friends and colleagues to help you choose one; this too, takes time. Devoting the same number of hours to the headline as you do to the story or press release itself isn’t feasible for a writer on a deadline.

It’s tough to tell what triggers reporters and readers to click on your story over another. It could be the topic or the headline, or simply that nothing else they’ve seen grabs their fancy. Still, there probably isn’t a specific formula to follow.

Last year, though, something eye-opening happened to me. As I sat down to write a press release on a breezy April morning, I began with:

“Bespoke Piano Company Unveils World’s Most Luxurious Piano.”

This seemed like the start to a pretty engaging story and felt bold and newsworthy.

Before sending it out, I built an online newsroom, displayed my assets and meticulously researched whom to contact.

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