The point of this press release headline was completely lost on me when I first saw it.
“[Acronym of industry group] Pleased House Passes New Farm Bill”
So what? Every organization, company, person and their dogs have opinions for and against everything. So why should we care about what this group has to say? How are we better off knowing that some industry group is happy or sad about something?
They buried the lead, or the key message, near the end of the story in which the group’s president extols the farm bill’s benefits and calls on the Senate to pass it.
“[Acronym of industry group] urges the Senate to quickly follow the House’s action and adopt the farm bill so that it can be signed into law in the next few days.”
Here are examples of headlines that I consider a bore or score with readers.
Bore: “Weekly Investor Insights”
Score: “Double Your Money in the New American Energy Boom” –Charles Sizemore, chief investment officer at Sizemore Capital.
Bore: “Four Regional Banks that are also ETF Holdings”
Score: “The Missing Ingredient of the Economic Recovery (Hint: It’s Not Jobs)” — Russ Koesterich, chief investment strategist at BlackRock
Bore: “Recent Research Study Reveals Attitudes of Independent Advisors and RIAs Toward Alts”
Score: “Berkshire Hathaway of Asia on Sale” — Carl Delfeld, founder of Pacific Economic Club
Much can be learned about headline writing from Upworthy.com, which by far has the best headlines on the internet. Articles about writing good headlines abound online. Check out Trevor Cook’s “8 Different Types of Headlines Which Sell,” CopyBlogger’s “10 Sure-Fire Headline Formulas That Work,” and Forbes’ “These Five Astonishing Headline Writing Secrets Will Make You Cry, Or At Least Click.”
What are the most heinous press releases or story pitches have you seen? Do you have any advice? Please share them in the comments.