In our year end review of the 2014 activities of the AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Committee, we asked you to stay tuned for tools that will help you make a splash in the press. Below is the fourth in a series of articles that will help you in that regard. With your help, we hope to be able to leverage our strength in numbers to help promote architects, architecture and AIA-NJ.
Our previous installments of Working with the Media discussed ways in which you, in a personal or professional context, can begin to build a bridge with the editorial staff of your local or regional publications. This included some strategies as to how to introduce yourself (and your expertise) to the outlet, along with a brief guide for writing an effective letter to the editor and a primer on packaging newsworthy projects into a formal press release that you can distribute to relevant media.
One component of most press releases is referred to as the “boilerplate,” because of its repeated usage in various announcements put out by the company or organization. A firm’s boilerplate is generally a brief overview of the company as a whole, which is approximately a paragraph in length and provides context about the company’s core competencies. Content-wise, it includes general company information, such as size and scope of the client base and service offerings, as well as any affiliations or accolades of note.
For demonstrative purposes, below is the boilerplate language that AIA-NJ uses on each press release it issues:
Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) is the professional organization that helps architects serve the public’s needs and builds awareness of the role of architects and architecture in American society. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., its 300 plus local chapters represent 86,000 licensed architects and allied professionals. The organization’s local chapter, AIA New Jersey, has served as the voice of the architecture profession in the Garden State since 1900. Based in Trenton, AIA New Jersey has 2,000 members in six local sections. For more information, please visit visit www.aia-nj.org .
As the above example exhibits, a boilerplate should give a brief description of the organization and its relevant history, while also promoting the any notable accomplishments of its membership.
In your boilerplate, it’s also helpful to reference AIA-NJ to help contextualize your company for the reporter. Because most industry reporters in the region have a built-in familiarity with AIA-NJ, this description helps to codify the announcement with their prior coverage of architecture. See below for a potential example from a member firm:
[NAME] is a licensed architect and a member of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA-NJ) with a focus on the design and implementation of sustainable residential and commercial buildings. With over 20 years experience in the region, [NAME] continues to uphold a commitment to meticulous, detail-driven design. For more information, visit our website at www.Name.com
Composing this sort of tailored, purposeful summary has a distinct value beyond press releases. Once completed, this brief company overview can also be used in other contexts, from the “About Us” section of your firm’s website to providing succinct descriptions to potential clients on the firm’s core competencies. The boilerplate language is also natural content for use on social media channels or marketing materials.
If you would like to read the previous articles in this series, please see the following links:
Beckerman PR Real Estate Team
Bruce D. Turner, AIA
Chair, AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Committee