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Boilerplates: To Use or Not To Use

Most PR agencies would swear by using a boilerplate at the end of every press release. This additional little paragraph is meant to tell the reader what the company does and how to contact them. The phrase was originally coined towards the end of the 1800’s by Chicago area printers. Needless to say, it’s stuck around for quite some time.

The argument against:

The boilerplate has always been a staple in the PR world, though it may be time to ask the question as to why it has existed this far into the 21st century. Now that having a website is standard protocol for any business who wants to be found by the masses, some critics of the boilerplate are questioning it’s relevancy to the times.

An argument against the boilerplate would be that a simple last line in the press release directing the reader to the website would suffice. Once on the website the reader will be able to find necessary contact information. Removing such a large paragraph will free up valuable space for the rest of the news story. Another simple reason is that many readers often skip over the boilerplate altogether when reading a PR.

The argument for:

Of course there are reasons using a boilerplate.Those who have never heard of your company may want to learn more about it. For example: When was it founded? Who is the CEO? What other services or products do they offer? What is their industry? All of this information is usually found within the company-approved last paragraph. Another reason would be to free up time for PR companies who need to make a deadline. Having a solid and unwavering boilerplate to tack on at the end of a story is the easiest way to get additional company information out to your readers.

As the press release era comes to a close with the onslaught of social media companies, the boilerplate is no longer necessary for many PR sites. There are still those, such as PRWeb and PRNewswire, who require a boilerplate, but for the most part the “About Us” paragraph is no longer needed. It is important to note that news is demanded as a quicker rate from audiences, which is why sites such as Twitter dominate the real-time news update world. However, PR is still relevant to capture the rest of the readership out there.

What to do if you still use boilerplates:

In order to make sure you are spending time wisely with PR, always include nothing but the facts. Avoid over-stuffing a press release with unnecessary verbage in your boilerplate. You should also skip any industry jargon and type a boilerplate that can be understood by all audiences.

Many companies will leave out links to their website or social media pages. Be sure to include those links as that leads to more conversions and, better yet, leads to increased traffic! Finally make sure to keep the boilerplate short. If readers are interested in a company, they will go the distance to find out more about you. For the press release, just include the critical information.

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