Each time we’re hashing out new press materials for a client we discuss boilerplates. Do reporters even read them?
Somewhere in a press release we have already stated what the company does—no sense in repeating it. It seems more logical to have one or two sentences, the website, Twitter, Facebook, and other contact info; 400 words is too many for a news release, let alone the boilerplate.
Let’s keep it to 100 words or less, best under 50 words. Here are a few reasons why:
1. It costs less. Business Wire charges a flat rate for the first 400 words and an additional fee for every 100 words after that. Long boilerplates add useless words to the total count and the cost of the release spirals up.
2. It’s what journalists want. Cision’s study, “How the Press Uses and Values Public Relations and Other Media Resources,” confirmed that journalists want a small boilerplate—they don’t have time to read gobbledygook.
3. It looks too corporate. The Bad Pitch Blog focused on the company boilerplate. The authors say that the boilerplate looks less like a concise, substantive description of the company and more like a piece of copy that emerged from a gauntlet of approvals by people focused more on specific words than overall meaning.
In other words, if your boilerplate reads as follows, it might be time for an update:
About COMPANY, DIVISION
COMPANY technology is based on proprietary and patented fluid, damper, mount, brake and clutch designs and sophisticated computer control algorithms. When exposed to a magnetic field, MR materials change state nearly instantaneously and with complete reversibility. As a result, MR technology provides fast and infinitely variable control of energy dissipation for industrial and automotive devices. The technology enables engineers to design a wide range of devices and systems with far greater flexibility than before possible. The result is improved performance, reduced part count and complexity, smaller package size and less weight. For information about COMPANY MR applications, visit URL.
With headquarters in CITY, STATE, and sales in excess of $XXX-MM, COMPANY is a privately held company that designs, manufactures and markets devices and systems to manage mechanical motion and control noise and vibration; formulates, produces and sells general purpose and specialty adhesives and coatings; and develops products and systems utilizing magnetically responsive technologies. With manufacturing in eight countries and offices in more than XX major business centers, COMPANY employs more than X,XXX worldwide. Visit URL for more information.
Dan Grody and Susan Tellem are partners at Tellem Grody Public Relations. A version of this story first appeared on their agency’s blog.