Beyond PR

Feb 01, 2013

Content We Love: American DG Energy’s Catch and Release

ContentWeLove“Content We Love” is a weekly feature written by a team of our content specialists. We’re showcasing some of the great content distributed through our channels, and our content specialists are up for the task: they spend a lot of time with the press releases and other content our customers create, proof reading and formatting it, suggesting targeted distribution strategy and offering SEO advice. In Content We Love, we’re going to shine the spotlight on the press releases and other messages that stood out to us, and we’ll tell you why. We hope you find the releases enjoyable and the insights gained from discussing them enlightening.

Talk about a jail-house rock!

Movie trailers hold a special and dear place in my heart. I always must arrive to the movie early so I can watch the color dance before my eyes. The purpose, naturally, is to showcase what is coming out soon in the theatres… but even more so, to catch you in an incredible hook. Turn a story into a must-see.

  • What does this have in common to a press release?

The trailer is the headline.

The headline is what is first seen, and sometimes only seen in regards to press releases. Therefore, how imperative it is to have a terrific headline!

energy headline

When the writers of a press release release about an energy contract for a jail transformed their message with the headline, “Reduced Energy Costs Begin 15-year Sentence at Cumberland County Jail” – people took notice!

It wasn’t long before a conversation began on LinkedIn to discuss the headline. Not only did people see the release, they read it, and then commented on it.

Our own VP of Social Media, Sarah Skerik, joined the commentary in favor of the catchy headline.

From a technical standpoint, it’s short, and our research indicates that headlines between 100 – 120 characters (not words!) get the most reads. There is a precipitous drop in average reads for headlines that are longer than 140 characters.

  • Rule of thumb is to always keep it simple.

Also from a technical standpoint, I like the fact that the headline has a search key phrase (reduced energy costs) in the headline.

  • Gone are the days of keyword-strings. Now a release is optimized by using a few primary keywords that are relevant throughout the release

Finally, it’s quirky and dare I even say fun, which given the subject matter – a municipal energy contract! – is really saying something. Had I seen it on the wire when it went out, I would have been apt to tweet it, for its clever quirkiness.

  • Personally, I love puns. I appreciate when words are played with, turned on themselves, or find liberation from doing hard time. The headline, once read, causes the reader to astoundingly proclaim, “What?!” due to the wonderful play on words.

My inner eight year old has something to say about this headline, too. “Made ya look!”

With the primary goal to have people read your release, a great headline is the ultimate first step to achieve that. Catch your reader with your press release!

Hearty appreciation to American DG Energy for their catchy release!

Author Emily Nelson is a Customer Content Specialist for PR Newswire. Follow her adventures on or on twitter

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