How to write brilliant boilerplate copy for your press release

Find out what boilerplate copy means, and how to write brilliant boilerplate copy for your business or personal press releases.

If you’ve ever dealt with a PR agency, one expression you may have heard them use is ‘boilerplate copy’. But what exactly does this mean?

In simple terms, boilerplate copy is the standard, unchanging (or slightly tweaked if you need) description of who you are and what you do. It’s typically used on press releases, but can also be used in many other places, for example your about page, emails, social media profiles – basically anywhere you quickly want to tell people who you are.

Trethowans

It’s important for every business to create boilerplate copy, and indeed you may even have a version without even realising. Great boilerplate copy saves you time (you can simply copy and paste it whenever you need without having to generate new copy each time) and also ensures that you’re putting out a consistent brand message.

What makes good boilerplate copy?

So what makes good boilerplate copy? It usually is:

  • Short and to the point.
  • Easy to understand.
  • Interesting to read.

Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? And yet it’s all-too-easy to get wrong!

An example of bad boilerplate copy

To give you an idea of what your boilerplate copy shouldn’t look like, here’s a fictitious example:

SPARK is principally engaged in the creation of marketing, design, social media and digital solutions for independent projects and clients in the charity sector. Our PPXs are second-to-none and we are the best at unlimited rev HUTs and reverse skylight POLs. We also subcontract out specialised service on a service-based contract to outsourced clients. Our offices are based in a suburb of London and we have 30 full time employees and a roster of 50 freelance resources which we call on when we need to service our clients’ projects. 

Why is this so bad? Aside from the fact it’s dull and hard to follow, it’s rambling and full of industry jargon and empty boasts – and plenty of unnecessary details.

An example of great boilerplate copy

And here’s what great boilerplate copy could look like, for the same fictional design company:

SPARK is an ambitious, award-winning design and marketing agency. Established in 2006, we’ve worked on a number of prestigious contracts for clients including BMW, Waitrose and Birds Eye. We specialise in digital campaigns, including social media and PPC (Pay Per Click). Contact us at spark.com

As you can see, this version is written more simply and clearly. It’s fact-based and to the point. (Boilerplate copy can be in the first person, like these examples, or third person.)

How to write boilerplate copy

So how can you ensure your boilerplate copy works? Here are some tips to help you write brilliant boilerplate copy for your business:

  • Explain briefly what you do (your products and services) and who your customers are.
  • Say why you’re great, but stick to facts and avoid over-used, empty boasts like ‘best’, ‘fastest’, ‘most successful’.
  • Steer clear of jargon and complex industry terms – make it as easy as possible for people to read and understand.
  • Include your mission/philosophy/strapline.
  • Think SEO – if you have keywords or search terms you want to rank for, include them.
  • Stick to a maximum of 100 words. It’ll make it more inviting to read, and will force you to include only the most important details.
  • If you have a genuine edge over your competitors (for example you’ve won impressive awards or sell to 90% of the businesses in an industry) mention it.
  • Add a link to your website, social media site or other contact details.
  • Review and update every so often, for example if you win a big new award or client.

Write YOUR boilerplate copy

If you don’t have boilerplate copy yet, or you’re not 100% happy with what you’re currently using, use the guidelines here to write a version now. And if you need more tips on how to create press releases and write about yourself or your business, read these articles: