by Diane S. Thieke
Clear, direct About copy—commonly known as boilerplate—is an effective sales and SEO tool when written correctly. This short description of your company is usually found in multiple places, including on your website, at the bottom of press releases, and in fact sheets and brochures.
Not only does it help customers understand what you do and the value you provide, but it also helps search engines find and rank your website.
Good boilerplate copy includes some facts about the company along with its positioning. One of my favorite boilerplates is from Wegmans:
Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is an 81-store supermarket chain with stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts. The family-owned company, founded in 1916, is recognized as an industry leader and innovator. Wegmans has been named one of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ by FORTUNE magazine for 16 consecutive years. In 2013, Wegmans ranked #5 on the list.
It’s straightforward and clearly describes what the company does. At the same time, by citing external sources, it factually positions itself as a leader, an innovator, and a place where people want to work.
Boilerplate Gone Bad
Unfortunately, many companies use the boilerplate to make vague statements about their worth. I’ve seen entire industries in which most of the players describe themselves as the “leading” company in that field. That’s a problem. Because if everyone claims it, no one will believe it.
Here are 6 tips for writing better boilerplate copy that will improve your buyers’ understanding and help move your company web site up in the search engine rankings.
Keep it concise and direct. No more than one paragraph. When potential buyers find your website, don’t make them guess what you do.
Use facts. Don’t make claims that you can’t prove. If you are ranked #1 in your market by revenue, it’s fine to say so. But don’t give in to the temptation to say you’re the “only” or “best” one at providing a service. Such statements are suspect.
Include keywords. Put your keyword research to good use, and sprinkle a couple of the strongest keywords throughout this short paragraph. By including words that your buyers are using in searches, you’re helping them find you more easily.
Link your company name to your website’s home page. Whenever you use the boilerplate in a press release and distribute it on a wire service, a link back to your website will improve your SEO.
Remove jargon. Avoid all references to “industry-standard” and to abbreviations, which might have different meanings to different industries.
Remove superlatives. Words like “market leading,” “groundbreaking,” and “world-class” are overused and meaningless. Steer clear of these. It’s better to be more specific, if possible, or back such claims with third-party awards, as Wegmans has.
Diane S. Thieke is the president and founder of Simply Talk Media, a digital media marketing consultancy. With more than 25 years in digital media and technology, she helps clients build stronger relationships with their customers and communities, using both social and traditional channels. Follow her on Twitter at @thiekeds or visit her blog at www.simplytalkmedia.com/blog.
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