How to optimise press release headlines for maximum visibility and media pickup


The headline of any document is the first string of content a potential visitor is going to view. This essentially means it needs to be eye catching, relevant and compelling to help draw readers in. However you need to remember to optimise your title not only for your readers but also for search engines. This means you have to remember to have a keyword present as it will help search engines thus help increase the articles widespread success and conversion rates.

Getting the right combination of keywords within your page title is something which requires a little research using keyword tools or even a thesaurus. The rewards however can make it all worthwhile as it will most definitely increase click through rates.

Combining generic and longtail keywords for a happy medium

One of the best methods commonly used for page title optimisation is to not only use generic keywords but also long tail keywords. By combining a mixture of both helps target a wider range of customers looking for more specific and targeted information.

Generic keyword examples: "press" "news" "pr" "media" "source" "and" "wire"

Long tail keywords examples: “public relations in manchester” “media sources in London” “News wires in the UK”

Long tail keywords are more suited to customers who are at the end of the buying cycle and who are most likely to convert. Customers who are searching for specific products have normally already researched the product and have their payment details ready to make the purchase.

Also positioning the primary keywords you have chosen at the beginning of the page title not only makes logical sense but shows that the keyword is more relevant.

The English language is readable from left to right, keywords at the beginning are read before the ones included at the end. If a keyword is at the end of the title, search engines may think that it is not as relevant.

Unique headlines

A great technique is to make sure the press release headline is unique and has not been used before. A simple Google search for the title will confirm this. Search engines do not favour duplicate content. It essentially has no benefit to the user thus will be de-ranked.

Using other websites headlines for inspiration is fine but copying it word for word is useless and will have little to no effect not to mention may have negative repercussions on your website. In layman's terms your website might be removed from search as it might be considered spammy by Google and other dominant search engines.

Search engines use page titles as one of the main methods of calculating what your webpage is about and its relevance so above all make sure this headline is structured properly.

Making the most of your brand within the headline

Not only are brands unique but they are authoritative and some have a cult like customer following. Adding your brand name into the headline is always a positive step simply because not only are your results more likely to show up for the article content but also when your bran is searched for in search engines.

Don't over optimise release headlines with keywords

As a final note make sure you page title actually makes sense, avoid stuffing the title with too many keywords. Not only do search engines limit the number of characters they can display but stuffing the title with the same keyword will have a negative impact on SEO. Search engines are complex in nature and can quite easily identify content strings that are making use of black-hat techniques. We strongly advice against such behaviour as it does more harm than good.

Examples of good and bad press release titles

Below is a selection of good and bad headlines which show examples of how to optimise your press release titles.

Example 1: Bad example: PR Event In Manchester Good example: BRAND NAME Launches exciting PR event aimed at Manchester businesses Good example 2: PR networking event for small businesses being held by BRAND NAME

Example 2: Bad example: Valentines Day Competition Announced Good example: BRAND NAME Announces Spooky Valentines Day Competition Good example 2: A spooky Valentines day competition has been launched by BRAND NAME.

Varying keywords with synonyms and thesaurus tools

Instead of stuffing headlines with the same keyword a simple and effective way to optimise your titles is to vary your keywords with synonyms. One of the easiest ways to find synonyms that Google understands is too use the "~keyword" search function.

For example if your main keyword was "hotel" alternative words that could be used are "accommodation" "lodging" "B&B" "Tourism" "housing" "hotel rooms" etc.

Repeating the same keywords can become boring for the user reading the headline and can also flag your content as spam.

More headline techniques and tips

Here are some tips and techniques you can use for writing catchy and compelling headlines:

  • Alliteration - Repeating initial consonant sounds. Many popular brand names use this technique to help make the title more memorable e.g. Coca Cola, Krispy Kreme and American Apparel. It's also used in phrases and quotes such as Busy as a bee and Good as gold.
  • Rhyme bounty - The Boundless Bower Bows, The Quicker Picker-Upper.
  • Paradox - A contradiction that could be true. You can eat a bag of sweets but the bag will still be full, War is peace and so on. Paradox's get people thinking and will help entice your potential readers.
  • Puns - Puns are not only humorous but are catchy e.g "I tried to record an album in a reptile shop, but there was a terrible gecko".
  • Useful tools - Is an excellent tool for generating synonyms and keywords perfect for headline optimisation.

If you really want to push the limits of your press release why not look at our Optimising The Press Release Content Guide it's free!