Be Prepared for Press Inquiries with Boilerplate
When you’re in business for yourself, building your own brand, public relations writing skills aren’t a bonus—they’re a must! Recently, we gave you some pointers on how to write a press release that works so that you can share news about what you’re doing with members of the media and their readerships. One thing we mentioned in that post was the importance of having good boilerplate ready to go for a variety of purposes. Boilerplate, for the uninitiated, is a paragraph or two containing the basics about you and your company. It’s all-purpose material that you can insert into any press release or related communication to give journalists some background and context about the news you’re sharing, and it doesn’t require heavy editing every time—just a few appropriate tweaks.
Write a Brief Bio/Overview
When you’re writing brand new boilerplate, keep it simple. Introduce your business, brand, and key players to a reader who has never heard of them before. Provide important names, dates (e.g. established in, doing business since), and information about what you do—your products, services, and whatever else it is that you have to offer your target demographic. If you have a bricks-and-mortar headquarters, mention where it is. Because you’re keeping things short and sweet (think no more than 200-250 words for a one-page press release), your last sentence or two can point the reader to more information on your company’s web site. Since so much public relations communication is 100% online now, you should definitely include a clickable URL to your beautiful web site. Keep in mind that it’s not at all uncommon for members of the media to copy and paste what you’ve written into their articles, so when you’re writing, try to imagine what kind of basics you’d like to read about your business in a newspaper article.
Adjust as Needed
Boilerplate text is ideally ready to paste into any press communication you draft, but that doesn’t mean it’s 100% set in stone. Think of it as a time-saver—you’re going to have something down on paper in advance so that you don’t have to start from scratch when something pops up and you need to get a release out quickly—but you can still make a few smart adjustments before you hit send. For example, if you’re putting together a release about a hot new product that’s about to hit your shelves, you might tweak a few of the sentences about what your company does to reflect a bit more focus on that specific niche. Likewise, if your company’s about to celebrate a milestone (10 years in business, for example), you may want to expand the section that talks about its history—date established, names of founding partners, what inspired you to found the business, and so on. As you write more press releases, you’ll find that you can recycle tweaked boilerplate for similar new events—e.g. every time you make a public comment for the purpose of reputation management, the same boilerplate will be relevant. You may find it helpful to keep a file folder of previous releases handy so that you can pull appropriate content whenever you need it.
At the end of the day, pre-written boilerplate language for PR purposes has two jobs: 1) to deliver a clear picture of your company to journalists in a concise manner, and 2) to make your life easier by keeping you prepared and saving you some valuable time. Are you having trouble getting started? A professional content creation expert can help you put together the material you need with ease!