Feb 05, 2012 / by Cision Contributor

Twitter OfficeIn addition to giving us a whole new channel of communication, Twitter has also revolutionized the way we craft content.  No longer can PR pros depend only upon their 500 word press releases online. Now they must create headlines for press releases that grab attention immediately – in 140 characters or less.

Twitter followers are a mass of busy people on the go.  They scan, browse and surf for headlines that catch their attention.  Creating such headlines isn’t always easy, but it is important.

Check out these headlines on Twitter that caused us to take a second look and see what you can learn from them:

1. Play duck…duck…@DACRONBrand this Tues. 10/18 in Union Square NYC.

Okay, we’re in.  Dacron piqued our interest into their contest with this clever play on a saying everybody remembers from childhood.

TAKEAWAY – Tap into phrases, words and memes that inhabit our collective memory for instant connection.

2. Is it the end of the hotel? The unhotel @onefinestay announces 150 homes across London

Good question.  The answer intrigues us.  Unhotel?  We’ll take a look at this release just to find out how London homes trump traditional hotels.  And for the benefit of our friends who travel frequently to that lovely city, we’ll retweet the press release.

TAKEAWAY – Ask a provocative question and you’ll press a nerve.  Headlines with questions are often irresistible – just make sure your answer is just as compelling.

3. Transparency. Health care. Learn how a rural hospital mixes oil & water

This juxtaposition of elements is perfectly framed with a visual metaphor.  We can’t resist wanting to know more.

TAKEAWAY – Use compelling conceits to help us understand the gist of your story.

4. Sandi Krakowski Ignites Moral & Ethical Business Debate

Where there’s smoke there must be fire.  We love debates.

TAKEAWAY – One of the keys to a successful headline is the ability to compel.  Use gripping, emotional language to draw us in.

5. Survey: Moms’ #1 Back-To-School Worry is Drinking & Drugs

We’ve been brought up on “Survey Says!”  Just the mention motivates us to read on.

TAKEAWAY – Surveys and polls are effective ways to communicate the news-worthiness of your topic.

6. New online service SaveOnBrew.com serves up “Beer On The Cheap” via 50,000+ retailers across the US.

Ah, now you’re talking.  Who wouldn’t want to find out where to save money?

TAKEAWAY – Appeal to everyone’s innate desire to have more for less.  Hint – it doesn’t always have to be about money.  Does your product or service solve problems better than your competitors’?  Give readers the feeling of being on the inside track.

7. The #GrainsofChange tour is asking Americans which oatmeal they prefer, @Better_Oats or the incumbent

Everyone loves to share their opinion.  We want to be part of the crowd so we’ll keep reading for details.

TAKEAWAY – Ask your audience for their opinions, advice and suggestions and you’ll automatically create a higher level of engagement.

The limitation of 140 characters doesn’t have to be daunting.  It can be a stepping stone to reboot your creativity.

One thing to remember, while Tweets can be 140 characters, online press release headlines should typically run less than 70.  So create a killer headline that’s short and sweet and then add a little frosting on it – 70 characters’ worth – when you release it on Twitter. Don’t forget that hash tags and even the tiniest URLs take up character spaces as well.

To learn more about how to build better press releases, visit our How To’s in the Quick Tips Section.

(Photo Credit – Flickr Creative Commons: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid)

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This post was written by a guest Cision contributor.