What is the state of the press release headline? Odd question perhaps, but one that’s important to people who write these headlines and who want journalists and Google to notice them. Schwartz MSL Research Group and Business Wire address this topic in a report on headline optimization out this week. The aim of the study is search engine optimization (SEO) in press releases, and it includes useful information about word choice and word length in headlines. The bottom line of the study is that PR pros are doing a lousy job of optimizing their press release headlines. (More on that in a moment.) There is good news: The use of buzzwords in headlines is dying out. The second annual study, which analyzed 16,000 press releases on Business Wire during a 31-day period last year, compiled the 20 most common buzzwords and noted how many headlines included each one. The most overused word—”solution”—was present in a mere 1.8 percent of headlines. This chart provides the full breakdown:
Schwartz and Business Wire also listed the top action words in headlines. They are:
• “Announces” (used 13.7 percent of the time); • “Launches” (2.4 percent); • “Partners” (1.8 percent).