Stepping Up to the (Boiler) Plate

I’ve recently been engaged to work on a marketing “big picture” for a software vendor that develops applications for energy management and have been tasked with producing their boiler-plate.

Keep your boiler plate under 100 words if possible: concise, accurate and engaging

Keep your boiler plate under 100 words if possible: concise, accurate and engaging

In the context of marketing and PR, a boilerplate is a company’s standard corporate description that is often found on the About Us page of a website or at the foot of a news release, white paper, corporate brochure, case study and sales sheet.

Who reads a boilerplate?

Many companies fail to pay enough attention to the content of their boilerplates, but this single paragraph (as a rule of thumb) is likely to receive the widest exposure across any organisation’s many audiences and therefore deserves a great deal of thought. Produce a boilerplate that’s too short and you’re bound to miss some essential information, make it too long and you’ll quickly lose your public.

A corporate boilerplate is there to be seen by some or all of the following:

  • Journalists and bloggers who may wish to borrow a couple of lines, or may want to include the entire piece, when writing about your company.
  • Potential customers who want to quickly determine whether or not your company can provide the services or products they’re looking for.
  • Potential investors who, by analysing every word, may determine the value in forging a relationship with your company in the future.
  • Job applicants, employees and potential supply chain partners that need to explain the type of businesses they work with and for.
  • Curious people like you and I.

How should you produce a boilerplate?

Here are a few points to consider when writing or rewriting a corporate boilerplate:

  • Describe what your company does and for whom you provide goods and/or services; brief, concise and accurate.
  • Describe your strengths but avoid overblown claims that you cannot prove, (e.g., fastest, largest, world’s first, market leader and so on). People are cynical and usually ignore these.
  • NEVER use jargon or corporate-speak.Remember that your audiences will be made up of individuals that may not be familiar with your industry’s language, but that want to know whether you offer something they want.
  • If you have one, include your organisation’s tagline or strap-line.
  • These days, most press releases can be found online; Include appropriate keywords to optimise search engine visibility.
  • If possible, try not to exceed 100 words. This will demand that you only include essential information, you’re more likely to grab and keep your reader’s attention and you’ll save money is PR distributors charges by the word.
  • If your company’s corporate statistics are impressive or they clearly show market strength, consider including specific metricssuch as number of items sold, number of countries you operate in, number of users worldwide and so on.
  • If your product or service has received public recognition, you may want to use phrases like “award winning” or “best-in-class.” Remember to include attribution and references, these will be far more effective.
  • Include a link to your website and links to selected social media pages such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.
  • Include stock symbolsif your company is traded on stock exchanges such as FTSE, NYSE, NASDAQ.

Are you looking to update your company’s corporate boilerplate?

Does the content on your business website need updating but you don’t know where to start?

Have you thought about using a copywriter but were afraid we’d be too expensive?

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