How to write an effective boilerplate

Natalie Howard
Sep 18, 2017
Digital PR

In marketing, a boilerplate is a short paragraph summarising a company and is used across all marketing materials. It is always the same and can be found at the bottom of press releases and reports, on the ‘About Us’ page of the website, and anywhere else where people may require a brief description of the company.

For any history buffs out there, the term boilerplate comes from the 1800s when boilerplates were steel plates used in making boilers for ships. Because of its connotation of being strong and reusable, half a century later the newspaper industry took on the term to describe “a unit of writing that can be used over and over without change.”

It is useful because it keeps your brand image consistent and prevents people across the company from having to spend time describing the company slightly differently over and over.

It’s important because it is the one piece of company information that receives the broadest exposure and can be used across all channels. It is well worth spending time to get your boilerplate just right. Journalists will use it when writing about you and it will be a first touchpoint for your potential clients and employees.

Boilerplate

How can I optimise a boilerplate for SEO?

Your boilerplate will be replicated all over your website and beyond. If you are SEO savvy your first instinct may be to go to town on making it SEO friendly and using it to climb the search ranks.

But hang on – Google penalises duplicated information on web pages – could this harm your SEO rather than help it?

So before you stuff your boilerplate with keywords to help your SEO, here’s the latest on what the search marketing industry thinks about boilerplates and SEO…

Boilerplates are usually ignored by Google.

Google is smart enough to recognise boilerplates – even following a phase where SEOs slightly tweaked each boilerplate across a site to make them unique.

So my advice would be to simply create your boilerplate as a great piece of marketing collateral. Give your audience useful and relevant information – which will include your keywords anyway. Focus on delivering clear, concise, engaging information.

boiler plate

How do I write a great boilerplate?

My top tips for creating an effective boilerplate:

  • Aim for 100 words. This will ensure you stick to the essential messages. What do you do, who do you do it for, why are you the best at it, how can people get in touch?
  • Align to your brand. Use your company mission and vision, or tagline. You’ve worked hard to build your brand – your boilerplate is the place to summarise exactly what you stand for.
  • Add value. Yes, you’re tight on space, but add value to your boilerplate – it is a piece of marketing material after all. Include things that will entice potential clients and employees such as awards, desirable office location, exciting clients (see point six). Make it interesting, don’t just stick to the facts.
  • Use your full URL. You will probably use anchor text elsewhere to boost SEO, so use your boilerplate to share your full web address for anyone that may need easy access to it. Also add social and contact details.
  • Avoid jargon. This may sound obvious but is often ignored. After reading your boilerplate, people should then be able to explain what your company does to a total stranger. Send it to someone who knows nothing about your company or industry to get a sense check.

  • Get permission to mention clients. This is the place to name drop your most impressive clients – but make sure they are happy for you to do so first to avoid damaging any client relationships.
  • Only use facts to boast. Don’t use superlatives like ‘the best’ or ‘most innovative’ unless you have hard proof. If you have won awards or have great stats like an impressive client retention rate then mention it. Don’t use facts or stats that will date quickly.
  • Speak in your company tone of voice. Yes, this is an official piece of information, but if your company tone of voice is light hearted then reflect this in your boilerplate. Keep it sensible and informative, but align it to your brand.
  • Get your tenses straight. A company is a thing, not a group of people (grammatically at least) so you must write “iThinkmedia is an award-winning agency. It has 23 employees.” Not “iThinkmedia are an award-winning agency. We have 23 employees.”
  • Regularly audit. Out of date boilerplates look sloppy. Update yours at least once a year or whenever you get some boilerplate-worthy clients or awards. Record where your boilerplate appears so you can update them all efficiently.

Good examples:

Intercake is the cake printing expert. Brothers Colm and Hugh Nohilly founded the company in 2004 and developed and patented the technology to allow anyone to print their photos onto cake icing. Touchscreen Intercake kiosks are now in hundreds of ASDA and Morrisons stores across the UK and a number of stores in Ireland, enabling customers to easily upload photos, print and take home whole personalised cakes within minutes.

Cake toppers can also be designed and ordered online in just a few simple clicks. The icing will be printed and posted flat the next day to cover the top of customers’ home-baked cakes and cupcakes.

All ingredients are gluten-free and vegan-friendly. More than 10,000 people use Intercake every week.

Find out more at www.intercake.com and facebook, and twitter.

Intercake

iThinkMedia is an award-winning search engine optimisation agency, established in 2008. The expert agency is well regarded in the industry due to its principled, transparent approach to search engine marketing. Working in synergy, it offers SEO, paid media, content and digital PR services to a range of businesses mixed in size and industry. iThinkMedia was awarded “Employer of the Year” at the 2017 SME Hertfordshire Awards and was a finalist in the Drum Search Awards for both organic and biddable team of the year 2017. iThinkMedia’s clients include eBay, Groupon, Renault Retail, Group 1 Automotive, and Gumtree. It has teams of experts in Hertfordshire and Manchester. Find out more at www.ithinkmedia.co.uk

Follow @iThinkMediaUK on twitter and on LinkedIn.



This post was compiled by:

Natalie is our digital PR expert here at iThinkMedia, providing PR and outreach services to our clients. She brings nearly a decade of experience in the media, having worked as a journalist and PR manager.

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