Even though it is not the primary driver of your company story, a boilerplate is an integral part of your press release. Over the years, boilerplates have been used to wrap up press releases. More importantly, they are used to project the company’s, author’s or artist’s “About” information. Before hitting the send button, you must double-check that your boilerplate accurately represents your company. The most well-written press releases are capped with an actionable boilerplate that creatively shows how great your company or business is.
What is a press release boilerplate?
A boilerplate is the last paragraph of a press release that is usually written to provide background information on the subject of the press release. In this case, an author, an artist, or the company issuing the press release could be the subject. In a press release, a boilerplate serves as an “About Us” section. In order to be concise and punchy, a boilerplate should be written in one paragraph of 4-5 sentences.
While some PR writers extend their boilerplates to a second paragraph, keeping it to one paragraph is best. In fact, you should treat their boilerplate with the same care as the first paragraph of your press release. A good boilerplate is both educational and entertaining. People want to know what’s going on globally, but they also want to know who’s making the news. It’s crucial to realize how essential the boilerplate is to the overall success of a press release. The boilerplate allows you to give your readers a sneak peek into what you’re all about, who leads your team, and what sets you apart.
Press releases adhere to a unique set of guidelines. It is customary for boilerplate to appear at the end of the press release. While it’s okay to be creative and try new things, when it comes to press release writing you should stick to the standard rules, which also apply to the boilerplate. After all, no press release distribution service provider will take the time to edit your press release before sending it out. If you’re paying them to distribute it, they will simply distribute it and send you a report indicating where it’s been picked up. For this reason, it’s your job to ensure that their boilerplate is in the correct location.
Your boilerplate should be written in a single paragraph or bullet points and should be no more than 100 words long.
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Key points when writing a boilerplate
1) Make it easy for the reader
A boilerplate should be written as a series of bullet points or a concise paragraph. Some businesses produce a large blob of text for their boilerplate, but this only complicates things for the journalist, making it more challenging to extract the information they need. If your boilerplate is too long, it becomes too complicated for a busy journalist to find the essential information for their story at a glance. Furthermore, burying the information that a journalist needs in masses of text might actually cost you the opportunity of being featured in media coverage.
2) Include useful statistical information
Journalists are always on the lookout for small details that add depth to their story, and statistics are no exception. To catch their eye, you should list a few statistics that relate to your company’s story. It could be the overall value of the market, the number of sales you made this year, customer feedback data, or anything else that lends credence to your story. What would be even better is pulling these figures from a reputable third-party source, such as a respected trade association or academic institution.
The goal of public relations is to establish trust and build credibility.
3) Give a short history of the business
Including a small amount of biographical information about your company can be beneficial. When it was founded, where it was founded, who founded it, and the current number of employees are all details that can add valuable context to your story. Again, the journalist may not require this information, but if they do, including it will assist them and save them time.
4) Awards and recognition
You should also include any recent and relevant awards that your company or leadership team have received. This gives your story more credibility and authority, which is the whole point of winning awards in the first place. It’s important to remember not to fall into the trap of listing awards that you won more than five years ago. This can backfire and make you look like you’ve been sitting on your laurels.
Serious journalists and the media outlets for which they work rarely include a backlink to a company in their stories. They understand the significant SEO benefit it provides, and they don’t want to be seen as endorsing businesses unfairly. However, if they believe a specific link is critical to the story, they may include it, and you do not want to be left out on any mentions that you can earn from a journalist. You should remember to include an up-to-date web link to the company in the boilerplate; you may be able to sneak it in for some free publicity.
6) Think SEO/ Do keyword research
When you use a press release distribution service to send out your press release, there’s a good chance you’ll end up on many different online news sites. These outlets may not be as well-known as The New York Times, but they can run the press release in its entirety, including the boilerplate. This is a fantastic opportunity for SEO. All of the keywords that you want the company to rank for in search results should be included in the boilerplate.
You can use an online tool like SEMRush or Ahrefs to help you find popular keywords in your niche if you are unsure about the best keywords for your business.
7) Include a CTA
No matter what the subject is, your company’s main press release should be, first and foremost, a news story. If the tone of the press release is too promotional, the journalist will disregard it. Instead, you should include the company’s more sales-focused CTAs (calls to action) in the boilerplate so they don’t get in the way of the main story. Your company’s website address, the price of your product/service, where people can get your products, a link to your petition or crowdfunding page, a free download – anything you want your target customer to know or do – are all good things to include in a CTA. If you include these in the main body of the press release, you might dilute the story, which is not good.
8) Try not to use industry jargon
Using jargon is very tempting to most people because jargon is a crutch in marketing communication, especially in B2B communications. One almost gets the impression that a professional statement must be written in “marketing-speak” to be credible and impressive. However, because your press release is a piece of content that you produce for the general public, it must be easily understandable, direct, and clear. Get to the point and be as direct as possible when describing your company’s purpose and roots.
You must use clear and simple language; if you can do this, then you make it easier for journalists to copy and paste this information into their top news stories. You should also avoid using unnecessary acronyms. If you absolutely must use them, you should spell them out first. Just because a writer or company understands the DFCA (Department for Complex Acronyms) doesn’t mean a journalist or, more importantly, a reader will. Additionally, avoid going overboard with hyperbole and hype; journalists despise this. Instead, stick to the facts of the story and the business.
9) Always use the same boilerplate
Once you are satisfied with your boilerplate, you must use the same boilerplate in all future press releases. You can establish a memorable brand identity and avoid sending journalists conflicting messages about your business by sticking to one standard version of your boilerplate.
10) Review the boilerplate occasionally
You should schedule a review of your company boilerplate once a year in your calendar. Unless the business undergoes significant changes, once a year should be sufficient. By committing to review the boilerplate every 12 months, you can ensure that it is up to date and accurate. This might seem like a simple thing, but reviewing your boilerplate can make or break your chances of getting media coverage. After all, during a public relations campaign, the last thing you want to do is provide the media with outdated information about your business.
Common mistakes to avoid when writing a boilerplate
1) Do not exaggerate or make claims that you can’t prove
This is something that both small startups and large multinationals are likely to do. For example, claiming the “first,” “largest,” or “unique” status in a category without conducting due diligence to ensure the claim is 100 percent accurate. The more you use these claims in your boilerplate or incorporate them into other brand identity materials, the more likely it is that someone will notice a claim and ask you to back it up.
2) Do not let it become too long
Even large, dynamic companies manage to condense their mission statement, tagline, key milestones, and contact information into a few sentences. If a billion-dollar company can keep their boilerplate under two paragraphs long, so can your startup.
3) Do not switch POV from first to third person
…and don’t switch tenses or narration styles in the middle of a sentence. If other people pitch in with content for your boilerplate, it’s easy to end up with a mishmash of different narratives. For this reason, it’s important to copy-edit your boilerplate before you send the press release out. If you fail to do this, then the entire press release will look sloppy. In order to avoid this, make sure everything is in order and up to date.
4) Don’t let your CEO or founder be the last person to edit the boilerplate
CEOs and founders are so focused on achieving perfect messaging that they overlook the typos that almost always result from their copy-pasting, and moving around of words and sentences. Even if they say, “This version is perfect!” you still need to proofread it one more time before it becomes the company’s official boilerplate.
You should give your press release boilerplate careful consideration write it so that it displays all the relevant information and data about your company. Ideally, a boilerplate should be written in a single paragraph filled with essential details that are easily understandable rather than filled with industry jargon. While it is not the focal point of your company’s press release, it is still a critical component.