Keep it short
Most press release boilerplates — those “short” “About us” paragraphs at the end of a new release that describe your organization — are too long.
I’ve seen boilerplates that are as long as 400 words. People: That’s too long for the average news release, let alone the boilerplate. Instead, keep your boilerplate to 100 words or less. Even better: Keep it under 50 words.
Avoid the costs of long boilerplates.
Why so short? When your boilerplate is too long, you:
- Overpay for distribution. BusinessWire charges a base rate for the first 400 words of a release and an additional fee for every 100 words after that. Long boilerplates can break the budget.
- Irritate your audience. “With few exceptions editors/journalists across the board — different age ranges, experience levels and media types — agreed that pitches [and releases] should have less boilerplate,” according to Cision’s “How the Press Uses and Values Public Relations and Other Media Resources” study.
- Risk public humiliation. See Bad Pitch Blog’s piece about a 261-word boilerplate under a 169-word release. And read this Bad Pitch Blog rant about a 178-word boilerplate.
The short and the long of it
Let’s write more boilerplates like TheSteelAlliance’s, which weighs in at just 44 words.
“TheSteelAlliance is a coalition of more than 110 producers and affiliated organizations that came together for the first time in 1997 to launch a nationwide consumer campaign about the benefits of steel. Visit www.TheNewSteel.com for more information about the 2002 Nerves of Steel survey.”
Anything missing? I’d probably add the headquarters location and the organization’s (as opposed to the survey’s) URL.
And let’s write fewer boilerplates like Embassy Suite’s, which comes in at 174 words long. (Embassy Suites also includes Hilton Hotels’ 71-word boilerplate, bringing the total to — eek! — 245 words.)
“Embassy Suites Hotels was the first all-suite upscale hotel to enter the industry and today has more than 160 hotels. Each Embassy Suites Hotel offers spacious, two-room suites that include a separate living area with a sofa bed, private bedroom and bath, two televisions, a wet bar, refrigerator, microwave oven, and work desk with amenities like high-speed Internet access and two dual-line phones with voice mail in most locations. In addition, the suite rate at all Embassy Suites Hotels includes a cooked-to-order breakfast each morning and a two-hour Manager’s Reception** each evening. Other standard amenities include an indoor pool, fitness room and on-property restaurant in most locations. To make reservations at an Embassy Suites Hotel in resort and destination areas, travelers can call 1-800-EMBASSY or visit the Embassy Suites Hotels website at www.embassvsuites.com. Embassy Suites Hotels participates in the Hilton HHonors® guest reward program that allows its members to DoubleDip® by simultaneously accumulating both hotel points and airline miles with each qualifying stay. Embassy Suites Hotels is a part of Hilton Hotels Corporation.”
You could cut this in half by summarizing the laundry list of amenities, dropping the reservation line and linking to the honors details.