A few weeks ago, some colleagues and I were talking about boilerplates and whether or not they’re still necessary. You know, those “About Company X” that come at the end of every news release. I didn’t think to blog about it at the time, but then Andy Lark asked the same question on his blog yesterday and, in the comments, got some resistance to losing the boilerplate.
My initial thought is to ditch them, at least as the norm they’ve become. I think in today’s PR world, there is little use for them. Here’s why…
- I’d guess that 95 percent of news releases are delivered today by e-mail or one of the wire services. You can easily include one line of copy that is hyper-linked directly to your boilerplate within your online newsroom.
- If your news release has kept a journalist’s or blogger’s attention all the way to the bottom, then they’re probably willing to click on a link to a robust online corporate newsroom for more info.
- They were much more necessary pre-Web days. It saved journalists time by answering the “who” in more detail. Today, it’s not necessary because of the wealth of info available on most companies’ Web sites.
- Every word in a news release costs money if you’re distributing via a wire service. The more releases you distribute, the more money it costs. And, as we know, many companies are looking to cut costs, especially given the current marketplace.
The only times I still see them as relevant off hand would be:
- Hard copy news releases that you’re handing to media contacts at a trade show, especially if they are reporting daily from the trade show. You never know what type of remote setup they have and it could be easier to have corporate info in hand instead of tracking down a better Wi-Fi signal.
- Public companies who are required to disclose certain information in all public communications.
Other than that, I say we cut ‘em loose. What do you think?
UPDATE: To clarify, I’m not saying the boilerplate doesn’t have a purpose. I’m saying it has a place. And that, most of the time, that place isn’t at the end of a news release.
*Image by Hans Kylberg.