If your law firm’s news releases are polished and professional, relevant and timely, your firm will attract attention. But have you looked at their titles lately? Can they stand to be improved? The right title can improve readership and in turn increase your firm’s reach to new potential clients. The wrong title can turn a reader off before they even click through to see the news.
Here are some best practices for hooking more readers with your press release titles.
First, identify the engaging story you want to tell. To stay structured, make and apply a checklist to the content to ensure that you hit every major point cleanly. The title should spring from the most important item on the list.
Your headline should be specific and summarize the release’s content precisely. Often, writers start with a snappy headline, then go on to write an article that develops in a different direction. But when the title and content do not match, search engine rankings drop.
Stay away from flowery superlatives. Keep headlines direct, clean and to the factual point.
What voice are you using for your news release headlines? Passive voice is very common in law writing, but you need to use the active voice in your news. Fewer words make a stronger impact. The passive voice dilutes the strength of titles. For example, a title like: “Law Firm Award Winners Are to Gather Over Supper to Discuss the Next Step for Debating Tort Reform” uses passive voice and contains too many wordy details. Replace it with something like this: “Award-Winning Attorneys Gather to Discuss Tort Reform.”
Once you have a draft headline created, try to remove at least three more words. Search engines find “small” words like “of” and “a” unnecessary. Keep the headline readable, but cut it down as much as you can. In our example, you could try: “Injury Attorneys Discuss Tort Reform” or “Malpractice Lawyers Talk Tort Reform.” Tight, specific adjectives and active verbs can help enormously.
Now that your title is as powerful as it can be, go back to your checklist. Make sure each major point fits under the heading your title provides. In your opening sentences, it will be important to answer the basic “5 W’s” of journalism (who, what, when, where, and how) to provide the basics behind the headline you’ve chosen. Later, add details that flesh out the story and quotes that explain what the news means to your clients. Finally, try reading your article backward. All the points you make should lead back to your title as a clear conclusion.