Write a good headline, not just a boring header

FRIDAY INSIGHTS

Write a good headline, not just a boring header

The first advice here should perhaps have been the last. Since you should always write the headline last of all.

But then again, it is fun to break the rules. Most rules about writing are there to be broken. Not always, but quite often. The things you were taught in school about grammar is not something that applies to the exciting work of more creative writing.

Back to headlines!

Headlines only have one purpose: to make the reader read on. They are not supposed to describe the content of the text that follows.
“Instructions for dish washer” is not a headline.
”Dish washers cause 10 000 fires a year” is a headline.

When you write a press release there is a few things to keep in mind:

  • The text has to be relevant for the one on the receiving end
  • If they want, they should be able to publish the text without to much editing

To succeed with the first part, you really have to think about who will see the text: an editor, your clients, employees, visitors to your web page. Perhaps it is all of those and more.

If you do not write for a household brand, one that more or less everyone has a relation to, you need to adapt the text for exactly the right target. A press release made for all audiences will be watered down, lukewarm and plain boring.
If you succeed in making exactly the right top 1 target media interested and to publish you have won. Everything after that is a bonus. Think ”sniper rifle” rather than ”shotgun”.

When you have recogniced your target it is much easier to start thinking about an angle that will work. What’s the story? The real story. For them. Not the one you and your boss and co-workers think is the most interesting. You are not the receiver. And your boss definitely is not.

To motivate publication you need news value. And in order to complicate things further, each news outlet and each editor have different ideas about what is worthy to print.
But here is four things that always – yes, always – increases the news value of a press relase:

  • Numbers and statistics. Cold hard numbers always beats ever so lovely words.
  • New, or at least not well known, facts.
  • Real life examples. They are always better than hypothetical possibilities.

Never underestimate how you can make use of current affairs and things that already are in the media. They are published for a reason: they generate traffic and sells. Use that.

Hopefully, an interesting news angle and good news value will make the reader keep on reading far below the headline. Perhaps all the way down to the boilerplate (the often smallish text in the bottom that tells the most important facts about the sender).
The best way to find the right angle is to write a good start. The first three sentences is key.
So rewrite them.
Again and again.
Perhaps 50 times. Or perhaps 100.

When you have nailed the start the rest will go easy. It is like getting the ketchup out of the bottle. But it can time to get it going.
Writing is an art. But it is even more just plain hard work. Rewriting and killing your darlings is a big part. The rest is stamina and sweat.

As Hemingway said: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

And you always write the headline last.

niclas

WRITTEN BY

NICLAS LÖVKVIST, senior advisor & CEO

The Swedes recommend Huawei

The Swedes recommend Huawei

In BrandIndex, YouGov has made a ranking of businesses and brands with the highest brand advocacy and which brands who are good at creating satisfied customers who recommend them to friends and familiars.

The smartphone producer Huawei has improved their brand advocacy score by 7.9 units during 2018, making it the most increasing brand. According to YouGov, the Swedes experiences that they get good value for money when buying Huawei products.

The ranking is based on average data during the period of November 1th 2017 to October 31th 2018. The method is a qualitative study and all interviews have been done with customers of each brand. YouGov only included brands that was based on at least 200 customer interviews during the time period mentioned.

Beauty Bubbles
SodaStream

SODASTREAM

Beauty BUBBLES

Korean skin care, so-called K-Beauty, has become the word on everyone's lips. One of the hottest trends in K-Beauty is to wash your face with sparkling water. According to beauty bloggers around the world, the bubbles works like mini-brushes and clean the pores, remove dead skin cells, increase blood circulation and give the skin more gloss.

As the world’s largest producer of sparkling water, we launched a specially designed beauty kit, Beauty Bubbles. The kit, that was sent to journalists and influencers, contained a SodaStream bottle designed for face wash and information that describes how the beauty treatment, depending on the skin type, is best used in the daily face wash routine.