The boilerplate is the standardized text used to describe a company, and it’s meant to be short and simple copy that’s reused without any need to edit. However, reporters often steer clear of the verbiage most often found at the bottom of press releases because it requires just that – a red pen to edit its blatant sales speak.
A journalist’s role is to provide straightforward, unbiased writing and reporting. When given information that may be slanted, they’ll grumble and then resort to describing a business in their own words. This leads to a loss of message control and the potential for companies to be referred to incorrectly.
Follow these tips to provide reporters a boilerplate they’ll be happy to use over and over:
1) Keep it simple… Be sure to include your company’s complete name, headquarters and specialty.
2) …But go beyond the basics. While chances are good only a portion of it will be used in a story, it’s wise to pen two or three sentences that clearly convey your company’s concentration.
3) Avoid words like ‘innovative’ and ‘cutting-edge…’ Try as you might and no matter how sweet it sounds, odds are against you buzzwords will make their way into the story. Stick to the facts.
4) …But be sure to include any major accolades or verifiable ways your company is an industry leader or community supporter. Was your company the first to introduce a specific product? Did it provide $500,000 in scholarships? Include it.
5) Check for spelling, punctuation and writing style. When reporters find easily avoidable mistakes like these, you lose credibility.
6) Don’t forget digital components. It’s imperative to include a link to your website, and it’s smart to ensure the boilerplate is written for search engine optimization with the inclusion of keywords. After all, it may be the most popular description of your business and could drive valuable traffic to your site.
Check out these (fictional) examples for boilerplate do’s and don’ts:
DO: “RBBR Company manufactures rubber parts, including the patented ABC valve stem cap on tires of motorcycles and automobiles. Founded in 1900, the Akron, Ohio-based company employs 50 people. It is also founder of the World Rubber Games, which showcases rubber inventions of American high school students and is held each year at the nearby Rubber Bowl.”
DON’T: “The RBBR Company has been a rubber industry leader since its founding in 1900. It manufacturer’s the world’s most loved rubber parts, mainly valve stem caps for tires. It also started the World Rubber Games that is a must-attend event for families.”
How does your brand’s boilerplate match up to these tips? Do you have any advice of your own?