The word “boilerplate” has a bit of a bad connotation. In contracts or mock-ups, it’s often used to mean “those words that we have to include, are pretty standard by this point and no one reads them anyway.”
In public and media relations, there’s a vastly different meaning and it’s one that all businesses and organizations should know.
The boilerplate is a blurb of text that quickly and succinctly tells your audience who you are and what you do. It’s typically found at the bottom of a press release and is generally standard (or tweaked very slightly.) It can also be used on your About Us page, in emails or in social media profiles. It’s like the elevator pitch for your company, but in text.
Why it’s useful
If you’re sending a press release to a journalist (or posting one on your site and pushing it out through your own social media,) your boilerplate will give readers an idea of who you are and what you do at a glance. As you release more and more press releases, the consistency will help cement your position as a leader in whatever it is you do.
All of this is also great for search engine optimization (SEO). As your boilerplate text is repeated, your business will be associated with the keywords you included. So, if you have keywords or search terms that you want to rank for (and you should), be sure to include them in your boilerplate.
Tips to creating your boilerplate
- Explain briefly what you do and who your customers are
- Avoid using jargon or complex industry terms. Imagine the reader has no previous knowledge of your industry.
- Highlight your accomplishments or your value proposition, but make sure they’re legitimate and not over inflated. It’s fair to say that you won this specific award, but not so fair to say you’re “the best.”
- Remember SEO. Include keywords like your location, the product you offer or the service you deliver.
- Add links! Add a link to your website, to your social channels or to other contact info.
- Review it regularly. Make sure it’s up-to-date and ready to go. Add in any awards or accolades you’ve received but ensure they’re current.
A few examples of boilerplates
The Bay uses its boilerplate to highlight its long history. (Hey, if you’re the oldest/first/measurably biggest anything on a continent, let people know!) The company gives details of its current growth and expansion into Europe, offers a quick rundown of the products it offers and makes mention of its signature item – the iconic HBC striped goods. All this in 126 words.
Tweed, the Smiths Falls, Ontario-based cannabis producer skews a bit casual with its boilerplate, but that’s on brand for the company. As legal recreational marijuana inches closer to being a reality in Canada, Tweed’s positioning themselves as the market leader that’s approachable and friendly, yet reliable and trusted. (Yes, it’s explicitly stated in the boilerplate.) We’re fans of this approach for a brand like theirs.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada goes a bit long with their boilerplate – 179 words across three paragraphs – but for an association whose work is in an industry that may not be widely understood by the public, this isn’t a bad thing. In the first paragraph, IBC outlines who they are, the scope of their membership, their history, their mission and their advocacy. At a glance, readers, whether reporters or the public, get an idea of what IBC does and the authority they have to comment on insurance issues. The second paragraph brings all of their work into context. It quickly explains why P&C insurance is important in Canada. Finally, the last paragraph lets readers know where to find out more, whether it’s their own website or their social media channels or by phone. It’s definitely a comprehensive boilerplate for a complex industry group.
How does your boilerplate compare? Take some time to review it. Make sure it’s up-to-date. Make sure it fits with your brand and your tone. Remember to give yourself props! If you’ve won an award or have launched a great new product, include that info. Need help perfecting (or creating) your boilerplate? Let us know; we’re happy to help.