What is a boilerplate message, anyway? And why is a company boilerplate important?
A company boilerplate statement is a paragraph of text at the bottom of a press release. It’s a standardized text that contains background on your company like the date and place it was founded, its products, mission, major milestones, awards and honors, and other info. The boilerplate lists social media account links and contact information as well.
Press releases play an important role in every company’s public relations plan, and the company boilerplate is a key element of every release. Its copy is standardized, so you can place it at the end of every press release that your company puts out. However, most entrepreneurs aren’t PR people, so they don’t know how to write a good boilerplate.
This post will show you how to write a powerful company boilerplate to amp up the effectiveness of your press releases. It will also give you a checklist to make sure you hit all the critical points, and it will provide a few boilerplate statement examples for your reference.
What is a Company Boilerplate?
A company boilerplate is, essentially, a corporate summary that is reprinted word-for-word at the end of every press release. It’s a necessary part of each one the company releases.
For an example, take a look at this press release from Sony Electronics. At the bottom, there is a section with the heading “About Sony Electronics, Inc.” This is where the company boilerplate appears:
If you take a look at some other press releases from Sony, you’ll see the exact same text repeated verbatim. Summarizing your company with some basic info sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, not so fast.
It’s a simple enough concept, but a truly impactful company boilerplate makes all the difference to how a press release is received.
A press release is an opportunity to get just a few moments of someone’s time to deliver a quick message. You don’t have long to make a strong impression. Now, imagine that the introduction and body of your press release is perfect, but your boilerplate isn’t written well.
Since your boilerplate is your chance to tell readers who you are, an unclear or incomplete boilerplate ruins the impact of the rest of your press release. Not only will it be hard to discern who you are and what you do, but readers will also come away with a negative impression.
Bad company boilerplates are press release killers. After all, a message can’t be effective if the receiver doesn’t know who is sending it! That’s why your boilerplate copy is so important.
What Should a Company Boilerplate Include?
Journalists receive between 100 to 400 business-related emails every day. As part of this email pile, dozens of press release submissions wait for journalists to sift through them weekly. With so many similar-looking pitches to dig through, a distinct feel makes all the difference. Companies that send press releases all start sounding the same in journalists’ minds. A truly great boilerplate will breed interest and trust among the journalists whose attention you’re trying to capture. With so many companies competing for the same eyes, your boilerplate is what gets your company to the top of the pile.
So, what should a company boilerplate include to accomplish this?
Writing an Appealing Company Boilerplate
Your company boilerplate should describe your company’s origins and achievements. Write it in a way that demonstrates how great your company is at what it does. It should add clarity and power to your press releases by making your company stand out.
By sticking in journalists’ minds, your press release is more likely to be published. A great boilerplate also makes it easier for journalists to do their jobs. These journalists cover companies like yours every day, so giving them a favorable impression is a huge win for your public relations efforts.
Optimizing Boilerplate for Readers and Search Engines
In addition to information on your company’s history, mission, products, and achievements, a good boilerplate should include information to make the press release more searchable. Using target keywords throughout your boilerplate will help it achieve a higher ranking on Google, causing it to show up in search results for more readers.
Understand, however, that when it comes to keywords, you don’t want to end up with too much of a good thing. You want the press release to flow naturally and not feel like it’s “keyword stuffed.” If you have to put in a lot of effort to include a keyword, you’re probably keyword stuffing. Every keyword should feel like it belongs and fits organically with the text around it.
A good boilerplate should also include a call to action. It should give readers a next step, such as visiting your company’s blog.
The CTA should never be ignored. But the main part of your boilerplate—the part that will make or break it—is the positioning statement. We’ll discuss this next.
Boilerplate Positioning Statement
A boilerplate’s positioning statement is a one-sentence statement that shows the reader why your company is newsworthy. It should portray what makes your company unique and significant. For example, is your company the first national brand to offer farm-to-table meal kits for vegans and vegetarians? Are you the largest provider of saddles and riding equipment in the state of Texas? These are the kinds of things you should include in your positioning statement. Make this the first or second sentence of your boilerplate.
Use the positioning statement to present the main achievement of your company. You want it to tell the reader that your company is one that deserves to be written about!
Other Key Items to Include
The purpose of a press release and company boilerplate is twofold: you’re trying to appeal to journalists, but you’re also trying to market your company’s offerings to readers. For that reason, when you are crafting your company boilerplate, you should keep your marketing goals in mind. Think of the products you most want to promote and be known for and include them in your boilerplate.
On that same note, a big part of marketing is knowing what not to talk about. Your boilerplate marketing concept is no different. The following list provides a summary of basic information and whether or not you’ll want to include it.
- Founding Date & Founders: If the founding date of the company was decades ago, include it in the boilerplate. If you’re a brand new company, you probably don’t need to include this info. If you have famous founders, investors, or other people involved in your company, mention them as well, but only if they have recognizable names.
- Size & Location: Mention your company’s size only if it’s substantial—think 300 to 500 employees or more. Location often isn’t important, but if your company has a history that is tied in with its founding location, or you are a chain with many locations, mention it!
- Revenue & Funding: If you’ve raised large amounts of outside money or have very substantial revenues, mention it—especially if the money came from a well-known firm or investor.
- Customers/Users: If your company has an impressive number of customers, say something about it. You might be able to get creative here—for example, if your company is a social media site for plant lovers, maybe you can mention that your users have planted 1.1 million seeds since you launched.
- Other Info: Include any other info that you think will make your company feel relevant and successful, but keep it brief. If your company is publicly traded, you’ll want to include the stock ticker symbol as well.
Checklist for an Awesome Boilerplate
Once you’ve written your boilerplate, use this quick-reference checklist to make sure it hits all the main marks. Once finalized, you can use it as a boilerplate example template and just update its relevant details whenever new developments occur that are worth including.
- Brevity: Is your boilerplate restricted to 1-2 brief paragraphs?
- Information & Relevance: Do you include key information about your company, portrayed in an energetic and positive light? Do you make note of aspects like what industry your company is in, your growth, and your global reach? This kind of information shows journalists that your company is relevant and worth writing about.
- Honors & Awards: If your company has received awards lately, are they mentioned? Have you hit any major milestones lately? How do you portray your company as one that works for the social or economic good?
- Clarity: Is your boilerplate easy for the average person to read and understand? If not, cut out the technical jargon and replace it with common language.
- Specific Language & Examples: Do you back up claims in your boilerplate with specific examples and data when applicable? Ensure you use specific language rather than generalities. If your company produces products for vegans, don’t simply say you produce “food products.”
- SEO & CTA: Do you use relevant keywords in your boilerplate and prompt readers to visit your website, blog, and social media pages with links?
Company Boilerplate Examples
If you’re like many people, you learn best when you are able to review some examples. To that end, the following are some sample boilerplates from three different companies. Take a look at these company boilerplate examples to see how it’s done. After each example, we’ll outline what makes these examples effective.
Company Boilerplate Example 1: The Hershey Company
For our first press release boilerplate example, we’ll start with a company boilerplate used by Hershey, one of the most recognizable candy brands in the US:
In this press release, notice how Hershey points out how long they’ve in been in business, making note of a major milestone. But more importantly, the way they summarize their company focuses on being extremely positive and highlighting the social benefits of Hershey’s work. You’ll also notice they included information showcasing that they have dozens of brands and employ thousands of workers, highlighting the success of the company.
Interestingly, this boilerplate has two positioning statements: one right at the beginning and one right at the end. The first sentence is the primary positioning statement, and the closing sentence concludes by giving more detail on the company’s reach and scope.
Company Boilerplate Example 2: AMD
For another boilerplate press release example, take a look at the below boilerplate from AMD. Also known as Advanced Micro Devices, they’re one of the world’s largest manufacturers of graphics cards and other technologies. Here is their press release boilerplate:
In this boilerplate, AMD emphasizes that they reach the needs not only of individual consumers, but large corporations and research facilities as well. This portrays the “big picture” of a world-changing company, going beyond one that simply offers retail graphics cards for gamers. Notice that the boilerplate provides AMD’s stock ticker and encourages readers to visit the company website, blog, and social media links as a call to action. This boilerplate is quite brief, but it opens with a positioning statement and then goes into more detail regarding the achievements and global impact of the company.
Also note the positioning statement. AMD’s boilerplate statement example shows that they provide the building blocks for many technologies to function. More than just a technology provider, they show that they are a digital infrastructure company as well. This highlights the company’s broad reach.
Company Boilerplate Example 3: Amgen
For another boilerplate language example, take a look at Amgen. They are a biotechnology company that recently announced a partnership with Harvard University. Here is Amgen’s company boilerplate, taken from a press release on Harvard’s website:
You don’t want your boilerplate to be too short and not say enough—or too long and become hard to read. Amgen’s boilerplate is right on the cusp of being too long. With just one more paragraph, it would be too wordy. While the Hershey and AMD boilerplates are a bit more succinct, Amgen’s still stays within an ideal range.
Amgen is a scientific company that is involved in lots of technical research and product development, but the boilerplate uses easy-to-read words without resorting to advanced technical jargon.
This is an important point. You want your boilerplate, and press release in general, to be accessible to a general audience, avoiding overly technical words. Assume that no one reading will be an expert in your industry, and they won’t know any technical terms.
Writing an amazing boilerplate may not be complicated, but it’s something you want to put great care and thought into. After all, the boilerplate is a mainstay of your public relations efforts and forms the basis for how journalists—and, ultimately, the news-reading public—view your company.
Your company is doing awesome things, after all. Make sure journalists know about them!
This article was written by Compose.ly writer Eric Raue.