What is a backgrounder?
A backgrounder is often a three to five-page piece that outlines an ongoing problem or significant event in your business. It can also be abbreviated to condense the general corporate information on the About page or Wiki page of a company website that the firm produces and maintains. Backgrounders often contain no commercial language and are merely informative. They are typically written in the first person to appear as though the business is addressing the reader personally.
What is the use of a backgrounder?
Typically, a backgrounder is sent alongside a press release to media outlets to connect with reporters. Companies or public figures often utilize press releases, usually one-page statements, to advertise a new product or service or to address a problem. A backgrounder provides the relevant details about the business to provide context for the issue or topic.
By reading the backgrounder, reporters can gain knowledge about a company, producing concise and accurate pieces on the company and topic without having to perform in-depth research.
Advantages of writing a backgrounder
Potential advantages of having a backgrounder in your press release include the following:
- Enhances accuracy of company information: As a business owner, you can ensure that media outlets have access to correct firm details and contact information by authoring a backgrounder.
- Increases the likelihood that your story will be picked up: Reporters are more inclined to continue researching your topic because they already have some background knowledge, raising the possibility that the media will cover your business.
How to write a backgrounder?
- Come up with a structure.
A backgrounder on a firm typically includes the following:
- Introduction: A sentence that briefly describes the company’s operations.
- Company background- A section describes the when, how, and why of the company’s founding. This can also include information about the company’s founder and other essential persons in its past.
- Mission statement- Goals and principles of the organization are outlined in the mission statement.
- Awards and accomplishments – A list of any honors the business has won, significant goals attained, and press quotes or mentions of notes.
Create appropriate subheadings for each area of your work so readers and journalists can quickly scan it to find the required information. This basic format can be used as a model for many documents or as a generic backgrounder for a media kit. However, a strong backgrounder will be relevant to the current circumstance.
- Tailor it to your needs and purpose
While most backgrounders will contain the components mentioned above, a good business backgrounder will also be customized for its intended use.
This happens most frequently when creating a backgrounder to go along with a press release. For example, consider the scenario where a sportswear manufacturer employs you. A general backgrounder would probably give an available account of the company’s history while noting different product lines connected to other sports. However, this broad reach wouldn’t be helpful if you wrote a press release about a new line of swimming goggles. Instead, it would help to concentrate on the most pertinent information about the item you are attempting to sell.
The most important thing to remember is that a backgrounder should give a journalist the information they need to write a news item. Additionally, you may be sure that the news story produced will satisfy your needs by customizing each component of your backgrounder to the current scenario. Finally, by looking at the kind of content that various media outlets publish, change your strategy accordingly, you might also want to target your backgrounders to those publications.
- Keep it professional
A firm backgrounder typically uses a formal tone. This could imply:
- using impersonal language and third-person writing.
- Avoid jargon and language that is unneeded.
- Use the active voice whenever feasible when writing clearly, and concisely.
- Concentrating on factual statements while attempting to sound authoritative.
- Citing references as appropriate.
Additionally, be careful to adhere to the internal style manual for your business. Consider employing AP style in its place if your company lacks an internal style manual. This professional writing style is used by both corporate writers and news outlets, making it ideal for a backgrounder on a corporation.
- Be specific
Please don’t skimp on the specifics because the purpose of a backgrounder is to give a writer the essential information they need to produce a story. Give the precise date your company was created, for instance, when writing about your organization’s history. Likewise, use specific numbers and statistics with properly mentioned sources when talking about accomplishments, goals, and milestones.
And instead of saying that your company has won “many accolades,” include a list of the exact names and years of the prizes. But, as we noted above, limit yourself to pertinent information.
- Proofread your backgrounder
You’ll want your writing to be clear, concise, and accurate to make an excellent first impression and assist the people reading your backgrounder in developing a tale. This indicates that having your backgrounder proofread before submitting it to the media is essential.
It might seem daunting when first assigned the task of writing a backgrounder. But hopefully, this article helped you gain insights into how to go about the entire process.