Letter: Your poor headlines destroy PR stories

Kate Nicholas's piece on sub-editors ('Sub-editors can make or break your story,' 8 Sep) reminds me of a famous Sun tale, not surprisingly involving Kelvin MacKenzie.

One of the reporters was trying to craft beautiful words for a news story to deadline, and Kelvin, in his inimitable way, said: 'Never mind the fucking writing. We've got sub-editors to do that.'

But the issue of sub-editors has a relevance to PR - and not just the core lesson about getting grammar and spelling right. I see far too many press releases carrying headlines full of puns, alliteration or simply heads that mean nothing until you read the release (and sometimes, not even then).

It's unlikely your headline will be printed as you've sent it. For a start, headlines match design, not the other way round. The role of a PR headline should be to tell the story. (I'm not talking about case histories or commissioned features here, but simply news releases.) If it doesn't do that, it is a bad headline.

Keith Elliott, chairman, PMA Training.

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