A boilerplate is a vital part of any press release.
It may not contain the most important part of the press release – the news angle – but it still provides vital background information.
Information that a journalist will need if they are going to cover your story.
If you want to know how to write a press release properly you also need to know how to construct the boilerplate.
This is how you do it.
What Is The Purpose Of A Boilerplate (Press Release)?
The boilerplate – or the section marked ‘notes to editors’ – includes additional background information which could be of use to the journalist but is not critical to the main story.
Including this information anywhere else would slow down the press release and get in the way of the main news angle.
If you know how to write a media pitch then you’ll know you cannot waste a second communicating your story to a busy journalist.
But if they ARE keen on your story then they will want supplementary information and the boilerplate press release can be the place to include that data.
There is no set list of information to include in a boilerplate for a press release but it often includes the following:
- Some biographical information about the founder, the CEO, the person quoted in the release
- A little information about the history and size of the company
- Membership of trade bodies
- Extra statistical information (sales figures, demographic information) that could provide the journalist with additional detail
- Links to reports or articles that may be of use to the journalist
The boilerplate is standard media relations practice and should appear at the bottom of all of your press releases.
So the good news is you only need to get this right once!
There is also an SEO benefit to having an effective boilerplate.
If you use one of the best press release distribution agencies then your press release – with its boilerplate – can feature on hundreds of online news sites.
Google will see this boilerplate posted multiple times and the text you use can help you rank for certain keywords linked to your business.
Where Does the Boilerplate Go In The Press Release?
This is easy.
The boilerplate should always come last in your press release.
Download our press release template to see exactly where you should put your boilerplate.
How to Write a Company Boilerplate In 10 Steps
1. Make it easy for the journalist
We recommend setting your boilerplate out as a series of bullet points (see the example boilerplate at the end of this blog).
You may see some businesses produce a huge slab of text for their boilerplate but this just makes it harder for the journalist – it’s more difficult to extract the pieces of information that THEY want.
This is an example of a bad boilerplate.
At a glance it’s too hard for a busy journalist to see what is the most important information for their story.
In addition, there will be bits of information that you really WANT the journalist to use and if you bury it in waffle you may lose out.
2. Include useful statistical information
A journalist is always looking for those tiny details that give their story extra colour – and this includes statistics.
List a few stats that link to your story.
Perhaps the overall value of your market. The number of sales you’ve achieved this year. Customer feedback data. Anything that can add credibility to your story.
And if these statistics come from a trusted third-party source all the better – especially a respected trade body or academic source.
Public relations is all about building credibility.
3. Give a short history of your business
It can be a good idea to include a small amount of biographical information about your business.
When it was founded, where it was founded, who founded it, your current number of employees.
Again, this information may not be required by the journalist but it will help them out and save them time if they do.
4. Awards and recognitions
List any recent and relevant awards your business may have won – or your leadership team.
This gives more credibility to your story and builds authority – the whole point of winning awards in the first place.
PRO TIP: It’s 2020 so avoid the trap of listing awards you won more than five years ago.
Doing that can actually work against you and make you look like you’ve been resting on your laurels.
It’s rare that serious journalists, and the media they work for, will include a backlink to your business in their story.
They know the huge SEO value it brings and they don’t like to be seen to endorse businesses unfairly.
But if they think it’s essential to the story they may include it – and you don’t want to miss out.
Don’t forget to list an up to date web link to your business – they may just sneak it in for some free PR.
6. Think SEO – do your keyword research
If you use a press release distribution service to send out your press release there’s a good chance it will appear on a large number of online news sites.
These media might not be the likes of The New York Times but they could run your press release in full, including the boilerplate.
This is a great SEO opportunity.
Make sure your boilerplate includes all the keywords that you want your business to rank for in search.
7. Include a CTA
Your main press release should first and foremost be a news story – no matter what the subject is.
If you know how to write a press release for an event you’ll know that even that needs a news angle.
If the press release is too advertorial in tone it will be ignored by the journalist.
Instead, include your more sales-focused CTAs (calls to action) in the boilerplate – that way they won’t get in the way of the main story.
CTAs can include your web address, the price of your product/service, where people can get hold of your product, a link to your petition or crowdfunding page, a free download – anything you want your target customer to KNOW or DO.
If you include these in the main press release it can dilute the story – don’t do this.
8. Keep the language simple
Just because this is your boilerplate doesn’t mean you should slip it to corporate speak.
Use clear and simple language – if you get this right the journalist may simply copy and paste this information into their main news story.
Also, avoid unnecessary acronyms. If you must use them then spell them out in the first instance.
Just because you know what the DFCA (Department for Complex Acronyms) is doesn’t mean the journalist will – and especially not the reader.
And don’t go overboard with hype and hyperbole – journalists hate this – stick to the facts of your story and your business.
9. Always use the same boilerplate
Once you are happy with your boilerplate make sure you apply it to all press releases.
Keeping this standard version will avoid issuing journalists will conflicting messages about your business.
10. Review your boilerplate
Make a note in your diary to review your company boilerplate once a year.
This should be often enough – unless your business goes through any major changes.
Committing to review your boilerplate every 12 months will ensure you keep it up to date and accurate.
The last thing you want to do is issue the media with outdated information about your business during a public relations campaign.
If you‘re now a ‘$10m company’, rather than a ‘$5m company’, make sure that information is listed!
An Example Of An Effective Press Release Boilerplate
Our friend the gluten-free blogger Vicki – aka The Free From Fairy – has a great boilerplate for all of her press releases.
As you can see she includes relevant background information that will give a journalist a complete view of her business.
The bullet points ensure the relevant information pops off the page and makes the journalist’s job easier. They are much more likely to actually run a story.
Remember journalists can get up to 200 email pitches a day so ANYTHING you can do to help a reporter out puts you ahead of your competition.
Now It’s Your Turn
Have a go at creating a boilerplate for your next press release. It’s essential in most public relations jobs.
Remember, keep it fact-heavy, clear in terms of language and light on hype.
And if you want to see more examples of quality press releases then get hold of our Ultimate Press Release Template Kit.