Kimberly Mehrtens

A press release headline can make or break whether your press release achieves its marketing goals. After all, this is the first metaphorical step in the door when trying to grab the media’s attention.

That’s why your press release headline should not only be accurate but also attention-grabbing.

You want a headline that’s exciting enough to convince a journalist that your story is worth sharing with their audience. Yet, creating the perfect headline is a tricky skill to master.

It can’t be too short because it needs to have relevant information, and it can’t be too long or you’ll lose your reader’s attention — the headline sweet spot is around ten words or less.

In this article, we’ll break down ways to build a successful headline, as well as our top 5 press release examples that hit the nail right on the head.

The Importance of a Strong Press Release Headline

Drafting a press release is an integral part of a marketing strategy — but it’s not easy.

The number one question that should be top of mind as you create a press release headline is, “What is my press release trying to accomplish?”

Whether it’s a new product release, an award you’ve been given, a company event or another successful endeavor, a press release will help you tell the story how you want.

A press release headline is your best tool when it comes to reaching a broader audience. An attention-grabbing headline not only hooks your audience but also dictates how readers interpret and interact with the copy.

Play your cards right and the headline will help you influence how the PR is interpreted, covered and shared by journalists, the media, social media, your clients and potential customers.

Check out the difference between public relations and marketing here.

Elements of a Successful Press Release Headline

Attention-Grabbing Press Release Headline Examples

Think of writing a good press release headline as both a science and an art; there’s an accepted set of formatting guidelines and vocabulary that you must meet, but you have creative liberty when it comes to the actual words and style.

This may seem intimidating, but once you master the hard and fast rules of press release headlines, you can get to the fun part: creating an exciting narrative.

Below are some elements that will help you write a successful press release headline, whether it’s your first or hundredth:

  • Keep it short, sweet and straightforward: You don’t want to lose the reader halfway through. If possible, stick to 10 words or less for a powerful and concise headline.
  • Avoid hyperbole: Exaggeration can be a huge turn-off for a journalist. Keep to the facts and don’t overhype the story — the news should be worthy for media coverage just on its own.
  • Focus on the new or innovative angle: Journalists should mirror how your headline delivers the exciting news, so take advantage of that and write it the way you want the press release to be covered.
  • Use numbers, if possible: Statistics make a difference. If you have numbers, be sure to pop them in the headline. Readers and journalists (especially) will be more inspired to read a press release when the headline includes quantifiable news.
  • Avoid cliche phrases or language: It may be tempting to put a humorous spin on your headline, but if that means using a pun or “dad joke” — avoid it at all costs. You want your audience to be hooked by the headline, not roll their eyes at it.
  • Don’t forget the main message: A press release has a purpose, so don’t forget it! Identify the heart of your story and make sure the headline conveys that concisely.

5 of Our Favorite Press Release Headline Examples (And Why They Work)

Now that we’ve covered different elements that can build the perfect press release headline, here are 5 examples of successful headlines that can inspire your future press releases:


press release headline examples NASA

The press release headline: “Virginia Middle School Student Earns Honor of Naming NASA’s Next Mars Rover”

Why it works so well: Right off the bat, this headline summarizes the entire story in one short sentence. Without even reading the rest of the press release for details, the audience instantly understands what happened and why it’s being shared.

Not only that but highlighting the student that won the award at the beginning of the headline (rather than the NASA brand) creates a feel-good narrative that will inspire journalists to latch onto the story. It replaces what could come off as NASA patting itself on the back into a community piece about a young student who’s achieved a rare award. Meanwhile, it also debuts NASA’s next Mars Rover.

Once hooked, journalists will read on to discover more about the history of the Mars Rover and any other details that NASA wants to be shared.

Read the full press release here.

2. Heinz

press release headline examples Heinz

The press release headline: “Heinz Is Searching for Its First-Ever ’Head Burger Artist’”

Why it works so well: What could have been an ordinary announcement of a ketchup design contest quickly becomes an active search for the one-of-a-kind “Head Burger Artist” crown.

Heinz took their design contest and made it a public quest to find a winner — a very sword in the stone move for them. Color me impressed!

This headline announces a new event for the company and creates an immediate call-to-action that can excite readers and journalists to share the press release. It’s newsworthy and fun.

Read the full press release here.

3. ModCloth

press release headline examples ModClothThe press release headline: “ModCloth Breaks Up With Black Friday”

Why it works so well: This ModCloth headline, released on PR Newswire, finds that perfect balance between comedy and news. Turning the concept of a romantic “break up” on its head, ModCloth uses this term to announce that it won’t be participating in Black Friday, unlike other brands.

This tongue-in-cheek use of vocabulary turns what could be disappointing news for shoppers (after all, it means no insane deals or sales) into an empowerment move for ModCloth employees and buyers alike. Pretty clever.

In less than six words, the reader is hooked by the fun language, understands what the story is and has a positive interaction with the brand — just through the headline.

Read the full press release here.

4. American Girl

press release headline examples American GirlThe press release headline: “American Girl’s Newest Trailblazer Hits the Slopes — 2022 Girl of the Year Corinne Tan”

Why it works so well: American Girl is a brand for children, so it makes perfect sense that they’d use exciting vocabulary and tone to share a new doll, such as “newest”, “trailblazer” and “hit the slopes.”

Similarly, this headline nails the active voice that should always be used in press release headlines. No matter when the event occurred or will occur, the present tense needs to be used in the headline. The American Girl team utilized this headline rule to paint a picture of the new doll coming to life — she literally “Hits the Slopes.”

The goal of each American Girl doll is to inspire children, so it makes perfect sense that their press release headlines should match that aspirational mission.

Read the full press release here.

5. World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

press release headline examples WMOThe press release headline: “WMO recognizes new Arctic temperature record of 38°C”

Why it works so well: This World Meteorological Organization’s press release example shows that an effective headline can also be straightforward. Since the subject matter is serious (climate change effects on Arctic temperature), the headline should be similarly factual.

Without being hyperbolic, WMO includes the record-breaking data point that signifies concern for the Arctic by recognizing that this is a “new” and “record” temperature. Instantly, a journalist or reader can understand that this is a never-before-seen climate extreme by scientists that needs to be shared with the science community.

Read the full press release here.

Creating Your Press Release Headlines: 11 Do’s and Don’ts

When writing your press release headline, keep in mind that you’re competing for attention. Thousands of press releases are distributed each day and you don’t want yours to be lost in the crowd.


  • Master the structure: Press releases have an accepted formatting and template standard that needs to be followed. Aim for headlines with 10 words or less to pack a bigger punch.
  • Use present tense: No matter when the news, event or product release is, the headline must always be in the present tense. This will keep your headline up to industry standards.
  • Incorporate data: Any relevant numbers or data should be included in your headline, if possible. Journalists are more likely to see your headline as newsworthy if there is quantifiable data that can be shared to their audience.
  • Personalize the headline: Depending on your industry or company brand guidelines, your headline should match your tone of voice. If the company is playful, use bright and exciting language. If the news is serious or complex, stick to the facts.
  • Remember to use SEO: Search engine optimization is every marketer’s best friend. When in doubt, make sure you’re using keywords that matter for your news story.
  • Answer “What is the main message?”: The headline needs to match the core messaging of your news release. If it doesn’t, it’s time to head back and continue to workshop the headline.


  • Add too many words: You don’t want your headline to be confusing or lose the audience’s attention because it has too many words.
  • Sacrifice clarity for form: Not all press releases can stick to 10 words or less for the headline. Try to stay within that range, but if it changes or loses your main messaging, then you don’t have to follow that rule.
  • Include company names: Similar to the previous rule, you want to include what you do instead of who you are, if possible. This will catch the attention of your audience better than name-dropping who you are — especially since every press release already includes your logo, standard corporate details and contact information.
  • Use salesy language: A journalist isn’t going to pick up your press release if it seems like a sales pitch. That will instantly sound off reader alarm bells and dissuade them from reading your news.
  • Overthink it: A great press release headline is important, but it doesn’t have to drive you crazy. If you find yourself drafting multiple headlines and spending too much time with rewrites, take a step back and ask your team for feedback. Sometimes the simplest headline is the best solution.

Final Takeaway

With all of this information in mind, you may feel overwhelmed as you approach your next press release. Don’t worry, just take a deep breath.

Your key takeaway is to focus on your target audience. Will they want to read this? Is it shareable?

And if you’re feeling stuck with writer’s block, just come back to this article for inspiration and tips.

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