Even if you’ve never dabbled in the PR world, you’ve probably still heard the term “boilerplate.” It usually refers to a standard block of text that can be repeatedly used in any of your company materials. When it comes to PR – and press releases specifically – boilerplates live at the bottom of the document. And while they’re not immensely powerful in and of themselves, it would serve you well to have a solid one you can use as part of your core messaging.
Here are a few tips to write one well:
1. Keep it concise. Your boilerplate should be four to five sentences in length. Use simple, but descriptive language and avoid succumbing to run-on sentences.
2. Consider it a high-level company overview. I know your company has endless aspects that are noteworthy, but this isn’t the place to boast about them. Instead, think about what’s most compelling from your customers’ points of view. You should aim for one sentence that describes your products or services, and then one sentence that calls out your key differentiators.
3. Note where you’re located. This is usually best to include as part of the introduction to your company. Using the terms “based in” or “headquartered in” are good options for working this in without making it sound awkward.
4. Be sure to include your contact information and website. You don’t need your full address or all of your contact details here, but you should include one or two ways in which people can contact you. Please include your website (spell it out, as sometimes hyperlinks can get accidentally removed when a press release is re-posted), and then either a social media link or a phone number. Another option is to include a header directly beneath your boilerplate that’s entitled “Helpful Links,” under which you can list out all your social media links and website. It’s up to you which way you do it, but just make sure people know where to find you if they want to get in touch.
Okay so I’m sure those tips are helpful, but an example is worth a thousand tips, right? Here I’ll share with you an example of a boilerplate from my book (about a hypothetical company):
About Handmade Treasures
Handmade Treasures is a children’s toy shop based in Austin, Texas. It was founded to fulfill the mission of making safe and developmentally appropriate toys affordable for parents everywhere. All toys are non-toxic, BPA-free and proudly made by hand in the USA. For more information, please visit us at www.hypotheticalcompanyXYZ.com or follow us on Twitter @faketoycompanyXYZ.
You can see how this hits on all of the main points above. Still reading? Kudos to you! Boilerplates can definitely lean toward the boring side of the spectrum, but they are important. After all, they provide a brief snapshot of your company and quickly inform readers whether or not they should care about what you do. Bonus tip: Always remember to update your boilerplate whenever your location, company messaging, or products or services change. Capisce?
P.S. If you want more help with formatting press releases, I've included both Press Release and Media Alert templates in my digital kit.