What is boilereplate text?

Boilerplate text is a standard document or body of copy that’s used over and over again – sometimes as a template, or sometimes exactly as-is. For example, the terms and conditions that a company uses with its competitions might be the same, or involve only minor changes, for many different competitions – the prizes might change, but the law doesn’t. In many industries, boilerplate text exists to save time and to make life easier for writers, but also to perform the important function of ensuring that no necessary points are missed.

In the world of PR and marketing, boilerplate copy is particularly useful for outlining key points about a company or organisation. Once a few sentences exist to define the mission and unique advantages of a business, those words can and should be used repeatedly to ensure that potential clients, media, and fellow businesses are able to easily connect a name with a value proposition. This summary might be visible on an organisation’s website – either on the home page or in the “About Us” section – and added to press releases and other internal or external communications to ensure a cohesive brand message.

How is it used?

The term “boilerplate” is sometimes used with negative connotations, to describe writing that lacks originality in style, form, or content. It’s useful to remember that there’s a time and a place for boilerplate text, and it should only ever serve as a framework within which creativity can flourish – and that the extent to which boilerplate text is needed will vary from company to company according to its individual needs and values, and the technicalities of the industry in which it operates.

The copy in a campaign or PR plan launching a new product, service or initiative should never read like boilerplate text, but there’s value to using a template that users can easily recognise for forms, frequently asked questions, and other guidelines that need to be quickly and easily understood.

Interested in finding related words, visit our Glossary