While catchy headlines are obvious for traditional media, consider whether you can create them for social media as well.
Brevity is the key: When creating a headline for a traditional media pitch, brevity is key. Aim for 4-6 words, and the formula adjective noun verb noun. Example: “Prince William Weds Catherine.”
There is no guarantee that the outlet will publish the headline as you send it, but I find that blogs who are copying sections of text or news releases will use them and also add in keywords for their site’s attractiveness. From the example above: “Prince William Weds Catherine at Westminster Abbey, London, April 2011”
Content is the headline: In social media, unless you are writing a blog post, your content IS the headline. Twitter only gives you 140 characters, and the same brevity rules apply for Facebook. People are scrolling through their feeds, so there’s no time to read an entire paragraph or more.
Too many hashtags? I advise against using too many hashtags, as it will muddle the actual content, and the whole point of hashtags is to rank high for the ideal keywords related to your post.
On my WordPress blog, my Yoast Plugin recommends no more than 70 characters for the blog post title. Any more after that will not appear on search engines. Yoast also has a handy checklist that ensures the keyword(s) for my post are included in the title for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
No matter what type of headline or post, stop and review before hitting send, or get a second eye to read or listen to your headline to see if it grabs their attention.
Sandra Garcia has executed Publicity campaigns for some of Vancouver’s biggest events, including the EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival. In 2012, she launched Conscious Public Relations Inc., a brand that reflects more of her personal values. Its mission is to change what we see in the media and online by communicating client stories clearly and consciously. Conscious PR Inc offers free one-hour consultations via phone, Skype, or in person.