Write a Funny, Viral Press Release: Great Inspiration From The Onion

Write a Funny, Viral Press Release: Great Inspiration From The Onion

Posted on 09/02/2014 by | 0 comments

traffic jam


Make your press release stand out: Imagine that each day the flow of press releases online each day is like traffic on the notorious 405 highway in LA. Thousands of them plodding along, most of them not really standing out or getting anywhere.

Maybe on your commute to work you don’t want to get noticed, and would rather just drink your coffee and blend in with the herd.

Well, in this analogy your car is your online press release, and you WANT to get noticed. Think of all those journalists and media outlets just watching the cars stream by, waiting for a headline to catch their attention.

Don’t Make Your Press Release a Toyota Corolla

In this case it doesn’t make sense to drive a 2003 Toyota Corolla, even though it’s safe and popular. If you want attention for certain press releases, I’d say it might be a good idea to drive something like this:

lobster car pr

Using Humor in Your Online Press Release

Humor is one way of getting attention, and, speaking of getting attention, who is better at writing catchy, funny headlines than the writers over at The Onion?

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Here’s a few examples of headlines that they re-imagined to be funny, and get clicks:

• Original headline: “Wal-Mart plans to Lay Off 30,000 workers”
• Funny, viral headline: “Wal-Mart Cuts 30,000 of What it Calls, ‘Jobs’”

• Original Headline: “Hikers Injured Fleeing From Mountain Lion”
• Funny, Viral Headline: “Brave Mountain Lion Fends Off Group of Hikers”

• Original Headline: “Boy Claims Discrimination From Church Members Due to Sexual Orientation”
• Funny, viral headline: “Gay Teen Worried He Might Be Christian”

• Boring Headline: Recent Study Seeks to Test Intelligence Level of Infants
• Funny, viral headline: “Study Reveals: Babies Are Stupid”

• Boring Headline: Annual Cost of War on Drugs Costs $50 Billion Each Year; Little Success
• Funny, viral headline: “Drugs Win Drug War”

onion press release headlines

OK, A funny Press Release Isn’t Always Appropriate

OK, so there are a million reasons to write a press release, so humor may not be appropriate in your specific case, but if you are launching a new product, business, book, restaurant, or website, it might be worth considering. Maybe you can rethink your headline, and content of your news release to really get noticed, and create an online buzz.

Ideas for how you could “Onion-ize” your own press release headline:

Boring Headline: “Local Resident Opens Cupcake Shop on Main Street With Over 20 Varieties”
Funny headline: “New Cupcake Shop Opens: Watering Mouths Prompt Flash Flood Warning”

Boring Headline: “New Salon, Stacy’s, to Open in Town With Great Service”
Funny, Viral Headline: “New Salon, “Stacy’s, Will Wash Your Hair, Then Blow Your Mind! Click for a Coupon”

Boring: Inventor Announces Great New Product to Help In the Garden
Funny: Inventor Creates Must-Have Gardening Product, Claims “This will be bigger than the Snuggie!”

Boring: New Lead Singer Joins Band, The Donkeys
Catchy: The Donkeys New Lead Singer is Bigger Than Jesus: (He’s 6 foot 5!)

Humor Can Capture Attention, and Clicks!

funny press release headlineAnyway, humor is one way to create a “hook,” to get attention. As I said, it might not be appropriate in some cases, and run your idea by friends before proceeding. These are just headlines, so you should have good follow-through in the content of your press release without over-doing it.

A little humor can go a long way, and it might be delivered better better dry or tongue-in-cheek than goofy, silly, or filled with puns.

Believe it or not, a lot of people are just not good at being funny, so remember that “funny” press releases can fall flat if they aren’t done well.

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  • Check out the latest headlines from The Onion

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