A boilerplate (or ‘Notes to editors’ as it’s widely known) is how marketing, public relations and journalism professionals refer to an organisation’s standard description that is used repeatedly to different audiences.
In other words, it’s a high-level overview of your company. It can be used within press releases, websites and marketing literature to provide key facts about a business to its many publics. The boilerplate is commonly used at the bottom of press releases to convey key facts that aren’t explained within the main body of the text.
So why do you need a boilerplate? Well its main function within a press release is to provide journalists with key information they need so they can write about you without having to do further research on your company. For wider use, it can form an essential part of your positioning statement for communication with stakeholders of all levels.
In step 6 of our fast track guide to ‘Crafting the perfect release’ here are some do’s and don’ts for writing your boilerplate.
ACTIONS – Do:
- Detail services or products your company offers within one paragraph or a series of bullet points.
- Highlight your market and who your customers are.
- Be clear and concise writing no more than 100 words.
- Include your organisation’s slogan or catchphrase.
- Keep it factual – ‘ABC Company was formed in 2011’.
- Stay on brand.
- Use key words for SEO – lots of press releases end up online and are sometimes printed with boilerplates.
- Include a link to your website.
- List any awards your business has won.
ACTIONS – Don’t:
- Make it impossible to determine what it is your company does.
- Exaggerate your company’s position with claims that can’t be proven i.e. fastest, largest, world-leader etc.
- Make it too long.
- Use robotic language.
- Repeat yourself.
Now you know how to create a boilerplate, it’s important that you see some in action. Here are two good examples from very well-known global brands.
Founded in February 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. Anyone can sign up for Facebook and interact with the people they know in a trusted environment. Facebook is a privately held company and is headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif.
Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting the highest quality Arabica coffee in the world. Today, with stores around the globe, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup. To share in the experience, please visit us in our stores or online at starbucks.com.
ACTION: Begin compiling key facts about your business to start writing your own boilerplate. Think as someone who knows nothing about your business – what do they need to know? Write it all down then condense it into 100 words or less and use it within your next release.
By Kathryn Dishman, Managing Director, KD Communications.
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