How long is a perfect headline: apparently 80, 130 or 160 characters

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A recent study into the effect of headline length on Facebook shares suggests the perfect headline is somewhere in the region of either 80, 130 or 160 characters, including spaces. The work was carried out by marketing software firm Hubspot.

Effect of headline length on FB sharing

The above headline is 68 characters. Apparently 70 is a really bad length, but, as I work in an electronics PR agency – so B2B marketing – Facebook isn’t as important to me as Google, LinkedIn or Twitter. And, for most cases, the same priorities exist for my clients.

So, with this in mind, here is Publitek’s top three tips on how to create the perfect B2B press release headline in the age of search and sharing.

1) Length

If you want it searchable then keep it below Google’s maximum of 70 characters – once again, including spaces.

And, whilst Twitter allows 140 characters this is quickly used up by other things, such as the link, RT and message to friends. For example the 85 character tweet: “How long is a perfect headline: apparently 80, 130 or 160 characters wp.me/p3cIK8-EP” quickly gets turned into a 136 character tweet when shared:

@jonsmith @jackjones This should help! RT@Publitek How long is a perfect headline: apparently 80, 130 or 160 characters wp.me/p3cIK8-EP.

Any longer and the link gets lost. Which isn’t desirable.

So, back to the length… Keep it short and ensure all the important information that you’d want in a Tweet / to appear on the Google listing is in the first 70 characters.

2) Numbers should be numerals, not words

The classic journalistic style is to write the numbers one to nine in words with 10 and higher being numerals. The need to keep a headline short means this should be cut… and this is also backed up by Hubspot research which showed that a release is more likely to be shared if the headline did this.
Indeed, PR Newswire has even said: “Numbers in the headline convey either immediacy (such as date) or facts, boosting your message’s credibility.”

3) It’s meant to be read by humans

SEO is vital to a press release, it helps drive traffic back to your site and increases the chance of it being seen. But a release is meant to be read by humans too.

Don’t just crowbar in the SEO term. Whilst Google places greater importance on information that’s in the top left vs the bottom right, you can also add this in the sub header or body of the release.

The people you’re trying to reach – that’s both journalists and engineers – consume content digitally. They find it, share it and interact with it differently than they did just a few years ago. In order to fully capitalise on this shift we need to rethink how we write press releases – and this will start with the headline.

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