How We Write Boilerplates That Don’t Make Us Cringe

The phrase boilerplates brings to mind a sweaty workshop full of steam where menacing fires surround weary people.  And writing a boiler plate can make one feel like a character out of a Dickens novel.  As a content writer, I see it in a different way.  After talking to a business person for ten minutes about their company I can usually find the ‘flint’ necessary to write a boiler plate with a professional appearance and a bit of warmth.

The original idea with a boilerplate was to have a bit of general information about a notable person or company that could be popped in to any news story to clarify, for the unwitting, what or who was being discussed.  This information now usually exists on the About Us page on a company’s website.

If you research the term boiler plate you will come to find that this should include where you operate, how long you have been in business, what you do and so on.  You will also undoubtedly return with hints and tips about including your awards, accolades and unique product offering or position statement.  The writer may even include examples from huge, well-established companies that are filled with them.

As a new company, you may feel like a waif next to these stuffed and sparkling boilerplates and tend to fluff up your achievements in order to fit in.  DON’T.  A lean boilerplate is still functional and meaningful to the reader.  It is better to add a touch of your company’s spirit to the boilerplate than to convolute it with $5 words and aspirations for the future.

The Marketing Partners at amaraREPS call upon the brand promise that we develop with our clients in designing a new boilerplate.  This is an exercise in which we drill down to what our clients want to be known for, what makes them superb, how they supercede the competition.  We swap out statements like “with a proven track record of XYZ” and “cutting edge blah, blah and blah” to give boiler plates tone and integrity.

Need help constructing your boilerplate? We’d be happy to give you some additional pointers, or some inspiration if you get stuck! Send is a request on our contact form, and we’ll get back to you with some superb ideas!

12 Ideas to Start Your 2015 Social Media Content Calendar

Luckily for American businesses, there are many holidays that trigger content.  When looking to increase the number of blogs, social media posts, campaigns or newsletters you share with your audience, these can act as simple inspiration.  They won’t all necessitate the same actions for all industries, but here are some examples of opportunities for the major calendar dates for you to start marinating on:

 

  1. Monday, January 19 is  Martin Luther King Day.  This is a great day to share a quote that you find inspirational from Martin Luther King.  I love to use goodreads.com for quotes because they pull from a wide variety of sources.  This gem would be a great reminder of the wisdom that the Reverend Doctor shared with the world and could easily be shared on Twitter and Facebook.  “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”
  2. Saturday, February 14 is Valentine’s Day.  If you’re in the food industry, you better start planning your Valentine’s promotions TODAY!  Popular promotions include pre-fixed dinners, two for one purchases, and freebies all themed to celebrate la amour. Retailers will often offer specialty items or gifts with purchase, even free gift wrapping can be of value.  If you’re a realtor, this is a great time to send a “We Love Referrals” email as a tongue-in-cheek play on the holiday.  Increasingly, there are Anti-Valentine’s Day campaigns as well.  Hello singles mixer!  These may not work for your audience, but you get the idea.
  3. If all else fails, there’s also the long weekend for President’s Day, February 16.  There is a lot of competition with big-chain businesses offering discounts.  You may be able to capitalize on shopping traffic.
  4. Tuesday, March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day.  If you have a retail store, this is a great time to offer a discount on anything green.  People are looking for items in this lucky color to wear or decorate with at this time of year.  Try to start the sale a week before the holiday to maximize the weekend’s numbers.  This is also a great time to create and promote signature cocktails and Irish dishes.  You could even do a giveaway and capitalize on the theme of “luck.”
  5. Sunday, April 5 is Easter.  You don’t have to specifically celebrate the holiday, though! “Spring is Sprung” campaigns are a nice alternative to religious themes.  US schools also usually choose to time their Spring Break around the holiday.  This is an increased time of travel and family get togethers.  Attention!  If you are a travel agent, this means you’ll need to start offering specials in March.
  6. It’s also a time when people do their spring cleaning.  Whether that means cleaning your home and business up in order to donate items to a charity for positive PR or offering to help with a community event for Earth Day on Wednesday, April 22, you can find something worth tooting your horn about this month.
  7. Sunday, May 10 is Mother’s Day.  The MOTHER of all holidays is always the second Sunday in May, but somehow people tend to forget it.  Why not send out a friendly email blast the week before with some sort of tie in to the next week’s holiday. Whether it is a story about your own mother, a friendly reminder to book a table at your restaurant or a line-up of Mom-approved gift ideas, almost all of us have a mother figure that we like to spoil this month.
  8. Monday, May 25 is Memorial Day.  This three day weekend is informally known as the kick-off to summer.  This is a great time to introduce summer fashions or get rid of remaining winter items.  It’s also a popular weekend for a White Party, thanks to Sean “Puffy” Combs.  Start a new tradition with your staff by having a themed office party and share the pictures on social.  Whatever you do, get geared up for the warm weather to come.
  9. Sunday, June 21 is Father’s Day.  Much more toned down than Mother’s Day, this is a great time of year to celebrate manhood in general.  Think tools, barbeques, camping, boating, workshops, Daddy daycare, men’s grooming and so on.  You can put together an outfit grid to display a great Dad’s makeover to share on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (make sure to hashtag OOTD, short for “outfit of the day”).  Do you offer goods or services?  Consider doing a discount or a two-for-one.  Whatever you do, advertise your special the week before and two days out at least and get your plans finalized by June 1st so you have time to execute them.  If you’ve followed our suggestions, you’re mid-way through the year and you’ve already done 9 campaigns!
  10. Saturday, July 4 is Independence Day.  We are SO lucky that this high holiday falls on a Saturday this year.  Expect big turn-outs in retail the whole weekend long.
  11. Restaurants may be a little light on business this day, why not throw a Fourth of July pre-party on Friday.  This is a great way to juice the lemon.  If you can’t figure out a special for this day, send a simple message to your audience to have a safe and wonderful holiday.  If you’re going to be closed at all over the weekend, send them a newsletter!
  12. Lastly, celebrate YOUR personal milestones!  When did you open your business?  Have you added any staff to your company?  Is there a birthday to celebrate?  Are you opening a new location?  Did you hit a thousand likes on Facebook?  Your communications with your audience don’t always have to be a promotion or sales pitch.  Give people a look at who you are and what you are all about.  This will make them feel like there’s dimension to your company.

As I said before, your company is not a cookie cutter and there is no way to design a one-size-fits-all calendar.  This is just the beginning of a conversation.  Take time to look at a holiday website* and chart out what makes sense for you.  Another great tip that doesn’t cost anything?  Subscribe to a national retailer’s newsletter list today.  Next year, you may be able to use their publishing habits as inspiration.  If you can find a competitor to subscribe to, then do it.  A word to the wise, make these campaigns your OWN.  There is a fine line between flattering imitation and copy-catting, your audience will probably know the difference.

 

Google Search is Getting a New Year’s Makeover

The New Year is a great time to re-do and re-commit. We are going to be sprucing up our website and we are digging in to research on all things digital in preparation for that. One of the “golden standard” practices that may be slipping to silver, or bronze, is keyword marketing. It seems as though Google search is changing its approach to their search ranking and the newest algorithms are stepping away from emphasizing keywords. This is good news for copy writers, who can now write more freely, but how do you keep your place at the top of the list without paying for it?

Read Jayson DeMers’ article on Forbes.com to find out more about the changes and let us know if you have any questions in the comments area below or by participating in the conversation on our Facebook page.

 

 

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