It can be tempting to spit out everything you want to say in a headline for your mat release or feature story. But top-heavy content doesn’t necessarily help you earn more media coverage. In fact, a really long headline can even hurt your potential for a successful campaign.
Follow this rule of thumb: a headline should be 65 characters or fewer (including spaces). The reasons are both technical and editorial. Keep in mind that an extra-long headline won’t necessarily be supported by certain media websites, wrapping multiple times or even breaking the page. And long headlines will almost certainly be chopped down by editors to run in print newspapers. What’s more, editors are sifting through lots of potential content, fast. Being short and sweet will help you to better attract the attention of the busy individuals deciding whether or not to publish your message.
Remember, you have about 300 to 500 words to state your entire case in the typical mat release, so don’t stress out about including every bullet point in the headline. Leave something for the body of the story itself.
Avoid jargon, slogans and branded language. Instead, focus on bold words and phrases, action verbs and promises of what readers will discover when reading your mat release, whether it’s “Tips,” “Ideas” or “Inspiration.” The goal is to first get editors to run your story and then to give as many readers as possible a clear incentive to click on it and continue reading.
Consider working with a sponsored content creation and distribution service, such as StatePoint Media, to get expert advice on how to best spotlight your brand’s message succinctly. The editor you work with will be happy to share several headline ideas with your team to see what works best for you, or pare down your existing headline ideas for maximum pick-up.
While there is no denying the importance of letting your audience know exactly what it can expect to learn by reading your mat release, you will ultimately get more traction with a pithier headline.
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