Company profiles vary widely in length, but all contain several essential elements. When written well, a company profile quickly conveys your organization’s purpose, history and function to the press, to the general public, and to potential customers and investors. Here are nine tips for writing an effective company profile.

Tip 1: Begin with a brief but comprehensive introductory statement. For example, “With nearly $3 million in sales since its beginning five years ago, Holistic Pet Food is one of the only sources in North America of truly healthy, organic food for dogs and cats.” This statement captures the company’s region, its rapid success, and its special strength in organic pet food.

Another example: “Since 1934, Giamatti has been the leading produce wholesaler in the Metro Boston area. A family-owned business, Giamatti serves fine restaurants as well as supermarkets and other purveyors of quality produce.”

This statement does not mention financial success, but instead emphasizes the company’s longevity and the quality of its product. The word “purveyor” is usually associated with the food industry and fits nicely with the tone of the sentence.

In other words, begin a profile that briefly captures the most important qualities of the company. Starting a sentence with a phrase such as “A major provider of…,” or “A recent, highly successful start-up…” are useful ways to incorporate several pieces of information into a single sentence.

Tip 2: Include a little history, just enough to give a sense of time and place. For example, the difference between a brand new start-up and a three-generation family company is significant.

Tip 3: Include your company location, whether this is a single address in Cherry Hill, New Jersey or corporate headquarters in Houston with six locations in Europe and Asia.

Tip 4: Summarize product lines, but at a very general level, for example: “Holmes Textiles produces domestic carpeting and a wide line of interior design fabrics.”

Tip 5: Include some very brief contact information, even if only a single email address to your media department (or other appropriate contact).

Tip 6: Information in a company profile is assumed to be in the public domain and available to the media. By all means check with your media department or other group to make sure that you are only revealing what is not confidential.

Tip 7: Always be clear, before you begin, about the purpose of your profile. Are you handing it out as part of a media packet? Will it be on the home page of your website? Are you preparing to meet with potential investors or venture capitalists? Be sure to shape the content of your profile to your audience.

Tip 8: Some profiles are only a paragraph long. Others may cover a whole page. In every case, though, a profile is just that, a profile, and not a lengthy annual report. It’s a tool to quickly engage your readers, so that they will be interested in learning more about you.

Tip 9: Profiles are as useful on a website as in a brochure. When putting a profile on your website, be sure to include links to other pages where the interested reader can go to learn more about you.