6 steps to a fantastic press release boilerplate (plus examples and FAQ)
How to write a boilerplate that is functional and doesn't suck
You've been tasked with writing a press release boilerplate for your agency. But what the heck is a PR boilerplate, how do you write one, and what should you include?
In short, a boilerplate is a brief summary of your company's purpose, mission, vision, and all the essential details, complete with contact info for your PR team.
In this article, we'll discuss how to create a killer boilerplate and dissect a few fab examples of stellar press release boilerplates from some of the world's biggest companies.
A boilerplate was a piece of steel metal used on the boilers of ships (the name itself is not super creative). Eventually, the newspaper industry realized that they could recycle these old bits of metal by stamping advertisements, logos, and other frequently used bits of text and imagery on these recycled pieces of metal to make the printing process easier and more efficient. These stamped metal sheets were predominately used between 1890 and 1950. They were eventually phased out in place of more modern methods.
The nickname "boilerplate" for these steel sheets stuck and remained long after the practice of using physical boilerplates was no longer the go-to printing method. However, the concept of a "boilerplate" changed to mean any bit of text that gets used over and over again.
There are many different kinds of boilerplate texts, such as in coding, legal documents, and, our favorite, public relations. Ideally, the perfect boilerplate can be used over and over again with very little variation when drafting and distributing your press releases. If you do it right the first time, you should rarely have to update the boilerplate.
I'll be completely honest: boilerplates are essential, but they aren't exceptionally interesting. People don't run to the press release boilerplate expecting to find the most riveting text. But that doesn't mean we can't jazz them up a bit.
- A brief summary of what your company does
- Your mission and values (what sets you apart from the competition)
- The date your company was established
- Where your company operates
- Any other relevant information you think will be pertinent to readers (size of the company, how many countries you operate in)
- Social media handles
- Contact information for your PR and outreach team
How long your press release boilerplate is depends on the type of press releases you send out. Are they digital, housed on a website? Will you distribute them via email, as PDFs, or exclusively via newswires? Knowing your space limitations before you start busting out the text will save you a bunch of time editing and agonizing over every character later.
For example, Boeing sent their press release over a newswire, and their boilerplate is as follows:
As a leading global aerospace company, Boeing develops, manufactures and services commercial airplanes, defense products and space systems for customers in more than 150 countries. As a top U.S. exporter, the company leverages the talents of a global supplier base to advance economic opportunity, sustainability and community impact. Boeing's diverse team is committed to innovating for the future and living the company's core values of safety, quality and integrity. Learn more at www.boeing.com.
At only 75 words and 511 characters, this boilerplate is super succinct. Newswires often charge based on character limits, so having a very brief boilerplate makes a ton of sense.
Let's look at another example.
Organic body care and fragrance company Lush hosts their press releases directly on their website. They have a digital newsroom where media outlets can access their stories directly. This gives them more space and freedom to elaborate a bit more in their stock boilerplate, such as in this recent press release:
This boilerplate clocks in at 198 words and 1,235 characters: over twice as long as Boeing!
Identify what sets your brand apart. Here are some questions to ask when figuring out how you can differentiate yourself from others:
- Does your agency operate in ways that challenge the status quo?
- Are you benefiting the world somehow (eco-conscious, engaging in important CSR initiatives, helping humanity in a meaningful fashion)?
- Do any of your profits go to important causes?
- Do you produce or manufacture your product or service in a unique and novel way?
- Are you an industry antagonist?
Knowing what sets you apart will direct your boilerplate and keep the text from being terribly generic and uninspiring. If you can, show, don’t tell. Include hard data, facts, and figures, or any quantifiable numbers that reflect your company’s success and prowess in the industry.
Now's the fun part: writing your boilerplate. You can brainstorm with ChatGPT, but really, a boilerplate needs to be a bit more succinct than ChatGPT could ever provide due to its creators insisting that every piece of content it generates is 100x longer than necessary.
Writing short text is infinitely more challenging than writing something long. Most would rather write a War and Peace-length epic novel than a few concise sentences. Unfortunately, because the space for a press release boilerplate is so limited, you'll have to distill the essence of your company's entire mission and vision into a few short sentences or, if you're lucky, a couple of paragraphs.
Yeah, it sucks.
You can ask generative AI to help you make it more succinct, or simply do it yourself.
I'm sure you agonized over the boilerplate, so run it by a colleague (or two) to make sure it flows, makes sense, and includes all the most important bits before adding it to every press release.
One of the key benefits of a boilerplate is that you can communicate your company objectives, mission, and values quickly without having to flesh it out every single time you send out a press release. Keep it somewhere safe and accessible to the whole team, such as a company handbook.
Boilerplates can be saved in a template, your newsroom, or anywhere you routinely create and publish your press releases. For example, in Prezly, boilerplates auto-populate when one of our clients creates a new press release for their company or clients. They don't even have to think about it – it's one and done.
It's almost impossible for your boilerplate to be too short, but it can definitely be too long. Realistically, a boilerplate should be as brief and concise as possible. This means the text should be punchy, meaningful, and avoid fluff and jargon.
Cut out anything vague that can be applied to all businesses. Stick with concrete facts and the most important aspects of what sets your company apart.
“We’re a multinational company.”
This applies to 75% of businesses and isn’t specific at all. Instead, try:
“Our dedicated team spans 25 countries and four continents.”
Don’t forget the contact info. Even if you choose not to include social media handles, having a dedicated press email or a solid PR contact is essential, or else those who are looking to connect with you may give up, and you could lose out on collaborations, press opportunities, or even sales.
If you just want the nitty gritty facts and figures, here are short answers to difficult questions about boilerplates.
A press release boilerplate is the most essential facts about your business, distilled into a few short sentences that are included at the footer of all official press releases.
Your press release boilerplate should be between 50-150 words.
- The name of your company/organization
- What your company does
- When you were established
- Where you operate
- Your company website
- Contact information
Really, your boilerplate should be as unique as your company. What you include will ultimately be determined by your brand values. Typically, however, err on the side of basics and professionalism with the boilerplate. A good boilerplate is not a time to get cute as it can undermine your company's credibility. Stick to the facts and let your brand's personality sparkle in the press release itself (or on socials, or the website).
Take a gander at some examples from these world-famous brands to get the inspiration flowing.
As seen on their newswire distribution story.
Uber's mission is to create opportunity through movement. We started in 2010 to solve a simple problem: how do you get access to a ride at the touch of a button? More than 42 billion trips later, we're building products to get people closer to where they want to be. By changing how people, food, and things move through cities, Uber is a platform that opens up the world to new possibilities.
Uber included that their drivers have made more than 42 billion trips, which is an intriguing and somewhat surprising statistic to include in a boilerplate. It stands out because 42 billion is an almost inconceivably high number.
A significant part of Starbucks' corporate identity is in its branding as not only a coffee company but as an experience. Founder Howard Schultz often talked about the "third place" ethos and how consumers worldwide can go to a Starbucks and expect to feel like they're in their second home. You can see this language in their boilerplate.
A consistent theme in some successful boilerplates that we've seen is the use of hard numbers and statistics to demonstrate the company's efficacy. The fact that St. Jude can claim to increase the survival rate of their child cancer patients from 20% to 80% is absolutely amazing.
If you simply can't get enough, we have even more press releases for you to peruse for inspiration! See how these non-profits use Prezly's boilerplate feature to share their mission and vision with their audiences.
Stories that change the world
A few of the powerful nonprofit press releases published with Prezly.See more examples
Boilerplates may not be the most fun and exciting content you'll ever write, but they will help your audience know what your organization stands for and how to reach out. Ideally, the perfect boilerplate should save you time from having to recreate the wheel every time you publish and distribute a press release.
Speaking of awesome, time-saving tools for public relations, why not check out Prezly? We're in the business of making PR faster and easier so you can focus on the fun, creative bits and not the boring, technical bits. Try it out for free with a 14-day, no cc-required trial.👇
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