While the idea of the boilerplate has gone out of fashion in press releases, they are still one of the best things you can do to make the process easier for yourself. A “boilerplate” is basically an “About” section that details all the important aspects of your company. Why is this important to include? Unless there is some drastic overhaul of the way your business performs, the boilerplate should rarely change.
This means less writing for you, and more time spent editing the press release down to the best it can be. After all the news is written, edited and re-edited, simply cut and paste your boilerplate into your release and you’re done!
But what should you include in the boilerplate? Let’s look at some of the basics.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to boilerplate headers. One school thinks they are totally unnecessary and needlessly breaks the flow of the press release. The other thinks they should be included as it shows the reader where necessary info about your company is on the page.
My thinking? There’s really no harm in it. If you stuck it in the middle of the press release, sure it would mess up the flow. However, if it’s clearly at the end there should be no problem. And I do agree a header helps reporters and other readers know exactly where to go when looking for info on your company.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, either; “About [Your Company]” should do the trick.
Now for the company’s description. First, try and keep it to a paragraph – no more than three to four sentences. This keeps it from looking like you just want to talk about yourself instead of the issue you’re raising with the press release. It will also help when you want to keep the document to one page.
Depending on how you want your company perceived, there are a number of important things you could try to squeeze in to the boilerplate when it comes to company info. For instance, when were you founded? Where is your company’s headquarters? Have you received any awards or accolades? Are you publicly or privately held?
At the core of all this, though, is the true meat of your company. What does your company represent? How are you changing the world? What are you most proud of? These are the kinds of things you should include – but don’t fluff it up. Journalists are about facts not marketing, and they will use your boilerplate to find out about your reality, not your marketing message.
I know this sounds like a lot (and possibly contradictory info) but if you can get the wording just right you’re golden. Not only will you have a great bio you can use on every press release (among other things!), you’ll never have to do one again, excusing major changes within your company.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download a free copy of the PR Checklist – a 24 point list of Press Release Dos and Don’ts here: http://www.ereleases.com/prchecklist.html