The purpose of this article is to help writers create news release headlines for their books. This is part three of the series ‘Sell more books with news releases.’

A news release to a media outlet is not a sales letter to promote your book. It’s a one-page presentation to get an interview or share something newsworthy. Your headline should deliver the message that you have something of value that the editor will want.

Your mission is not to sell books at this point but to help the editor, reporter, or blogger with a story, message, helpful tip or information that their followers will be interested in.

Editors will often get a hundred or more news releases a day. They barely have time to scan the headlines. If a headline is interesting enough they will move on to the first sentence and, if that is intriguing enough, take in the whole paragraph.

A headline that doesn’t make it past the quick glance stage gets deleted. No second chances!

So how can you get your news release headline noticed? How can you make your headline interesting enough to draw your targeted audience (the reporter) onto the next line?

A man who’s dying of thirst in the desert won’t be interested in a new car or a new way to make a killing on the stock market. He will be very interested in a cup of water. So don’t mess around. Find out what your editor wants and give it to him or her.

To do this you must do some research. Many writers skip this step or skim over it. They create sizzling headlines that sell steak when steak isn’t what’s wanted. Put the editor, blogger, or news person’s need, desire, and want as the focus of your headline.

Use your most important keyword in the first 65 characters of your headline, if it makes sense. If your news release goes out to hundreds or thousands of news sources than that keyword will make the difference in being found or not.

Current events is the top leading factor for making a direct hit with most editors. Everyone wants to stay at the top of their game and that means zooming in on what is hot.

There is a lot of information out there. A ton of breaking news, celebrity announcements, break-ups, and breakdowns. The economy is improving one minute and it’s going down the tube the next. Scientific breakthroughs; scientific exposures. It’s all there: the good, bad and ugly. How can you link all these to your book in an intriguing way?

Focus on finding an interesting story, a compelling fact, breakthrough information, or must-read tale of adventure, and then figure out how to connect with it. Tie in a celebrity or known figure with your message for a little extra pizazz (you don’t have to ask their permission, if done correctly.)

Copyblogger did it with their headline, Ernest Hemingway’s Top 5 Tips for Writing Well. Amanda DiSilvestro in her article, “How to create a catchy title in 2012 shared two examples:  “Why Justin Bieber Wins Klout” or “Why John Mayer Doesn’t Understand SEO.” She went on to say that, “Even if the article is not entirely about the celebrity, just putting their name in the title and then tying them into the article will help get people excited about the piece.”

Another good way to come up with a title that connects for your news release is to look at the most popular headlines on leading websites in your niche. Study them carefully and use them as a starting point for creating your headline.

Business Headline Examples

Inc magazine (a magazine for entrepreneurs and business owners) has these popular titles:

5 Things That Really Smart People Do
8 Things Remarkably Successful People Do
Freshii Founder’s 5-Point Leadership Manifesto

Health Headline Examples

The New York Times’ Well – Tara Parker-Pope (a popular health blog on health) has these popular articles:

The Not-So-Hidden Calories From Alcohol
The ‘Love Hormone’ as Sports Enhancer
Younger Students More Likely to Get A.D.H.D. Drugs

If you want to see what other authors and book publishers are using for headlines, check out the press pages on these leading publisher sites:

Simon & Schuster

Leading copywriters will spend hours, if not days, on finding the perfect headline. Once you put yourself into the headline mode you will find tons of examples as well as many different “headline” articles. It’s a critical, if not the most important, part of creating your news release.

Keep learning and practicing headlines. Here are 3 more great tutorials on headlines to help you:

How to write magnetic headlines
7 Headline Writing Links That Will Revolutionize Your Content Marketing
10 powerful headline formulas

At Wheatmark, our work with authors does not stop once their books are published. In fact that is just the beginning. That is why we place an emphasis on educating our authors about book marketing.