January 16, 2017

How to Write a ‘Boilerplate’ for your Nonprofit or Business

Becca Tonn, Director of Public Relations

When I first transitioned from journalism to public relations, I had no idea what “boilerplate” meant—at least not when referring to a written document. After working for Blakely + Company, a Colorado Springs public relations agency, I’ve learned it’s merely the industry term for the “About Us” section at the bottom of a press release.

Typically, this information is included so reporters and editors know at a glance what your organization or company does and where it is located.

As such, your Boilerplate needs to be informative, yet concise—about 75 to 175 words, depending on what industry your business is in. Generally speaking, a boutique restaurant or wine shop would have a Boilerplate with fewer words than, say, a medical malpractice law office or a cyber defense engineering firm.

When you sit down to write the Boilerplate for your company, remember that it will accompany a press release. So the tone needs to be objective and matter of fact—this is not the place for sales talk or advertising copy. Leave the flashy adverbs and clever adjectives on the cutting board.

For instance, the first sentence might read: “Founded in 2001, Blakely + Company is a full-service advertising agency located in downtown Colorado Springs.”

Notice the opening sentence contains important and basic information—when the company was established, a brief description of the type of company, and the location. (Also, note what it doesn’t say—“ … a fabulous full-service advertising agency …” Even though we are, this isn’t the place to say it. Although, we actually could say “award-winning,” as that is factual without being over the top.)

Next, include more details about what you do.

For instance, for a corporate staffing firm, the second sentence could be: “We specialize in IT staffing and have placed technical and creative talent across a wide variety of industries and sectors in all 50 states and overseas.”

Then you could add another sentence with more details, and/or you can list some of your clients—especially if they are notable and have widespread name recognition.

Finally, be sure to include the various ways potential clients or customers may contact you: For more information, visit URL.com, or call 719-xxx-xxxx, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter (and make sure to embed links in those social media names).

After the Boilerplate, include a Media Contact subhead, and list the name, email and phone number of the person who will handle potential calls from the media.

After you’ve written the Boilerplate, read it aloud to see if you stumble over certain words and adjust them accordingly. Then, solicit opinions from a couple of key people (not everyone, don’t subject it to death by committee) on your team, to ensure you’ve included the most important information about your company and that it is well written.

Next, create some news, so you have an excuse to send out a Press Release with your new Boilerplate! Best of luck to you and your team.

Sample of actual Boilerplates

About BBB of Southern Colorado

Since August of 1980, Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado has helped consumers find businesses, brands, and charities they can trust. It serves 25 counties throughout Southern Colorado.

BBB of Southern Colorado sets standards for marketplace trust – to create a community of trustworthy businesses and charities – by encouraging and supporting best practices, educating consumers and businesses, celebrating business role models, and calling out and addressing substandard marketplace behavior.

BBB of Southern Colorado houses more than 29,000 reviews on companies in the region. In 2015, it processed 2,898 complaints and had 1.6 million page views on its website. All company and charity reports are available for free online.

For more information, visit BBB of Southern Colorado, follow us on Twitter, or like us on Facebook.

About Leventhal & Puga, P.C.

Renowned as Colorado’s premier plaintiffs’ personal injury and medical malpractice firm, Leventhal & Puga, P.C., handles a wide array of cases from aviation to trucking to insurance bad faith. The firm offers a unique blend of professionalism and outside-the-box solutions.

Bringing a deep understanding of law and medicine to each case, Leventhal & Puga attorneys use their comprehensive knowledge and proven expertise to expand, create and refine their techniques to address the unique circumstances of each case.

As a result of this innovative approach, the firm’s lawyers have achieved multiple groundbreaking decisions in the fields of medical negligence and personal injury. The firm offers its services to those who need them regardless of income level, advancing the cost of litigation for clients who cannot afford to pay.

For more information, visit Leventhal & Puga or call 303.759.9945 or toll free at 877.433.3906.