Tips for Writing a Winning Proposal

When you are a writer many clients or publications will ask you for a proposal on how you would handle a project. You need to make sure that your proposal is inclusive and to the point but you need to make sure that all the relevant information is included. A winning proposal needs to be well thought out, planned ahead, and proofread meticulously.

Start With a Summary

Assume that the person reading the proposal knows nothing about the project. In a couple of sentences summarize the project purpose and focus. Make sure your words are succinct and clear.

Short and to the Point

A proposal should not be a long detailed report that takes a long time to read. You want your proposal to cover the main points but you should do it in only as much space as is necessary. Choose your words carefully. You want to demonstrate that you are able to be efficient and you want the client to be able to quickly scan your proposal and get the main ideas quickly. They will come back to it later if you have done a good job.

Show the Tools You Will Use

Remember that proposals need to be specific so tell the client how you will come up with results. What sources will you use for information? Who will you interview? How will you use data most efficiently? The more specific you are the more likely they are to believe that you can deliver what you say you will.

Focus Should be on the Client

If you want to make the client feel that they are most important in this project (and they should) make sure that you put your focus on them. Use “you” statements rather than “I” statements. Show them how they will benefit from hiring you and exactly what you can do for them. Any information that you provide about yourself and your benefits should be secondary and minimal.

Don’t Say You Can Do Things You’ve Never Done

Make sure that when you submit a proposal all of the information you provide is quantifiable. You should be able to back up every statement with a source. Don’t say that you can write great press releases if you’ve only read about how to do them and have never done one before. Don’t tell them that you can get more traffic to their website if you are only learning about SEO practices.

When you do win a proposal, examine it. Chances are that you’ll develop knowledge about best practises for your desired audience that you can use as a template to win with often!

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