Category Archives: Proposals

20 Questions to Ask Yourself about Copy before Starting a Project

As a business owner preparing for a project on your website can be a long process that is difficult to organize. Even as a writer it is easy to be overwhelmed at the beginning of a new project. To help overcome any potential problems it is very important to solidify the details of the project before the writing can start. Having these twenty questions clearly answered can make writing projects much easier for all involved.

Courtesy of Flickr.com user Milos Milosevic

Courtesy of Flickr.com user Milos Milosevic

What is the Project?

Is the project a small update to reflect a new season, is it starting a new blog to appeal to a new audience, or is it a full site upgrade? Without this information clearly stated it is impossible to accurately plan the rest of the project.

Why Create Content?

Once you decide what the project is it is important to know the reason for starting that project. Are there some pages that are outdated, poorly written, not SEO optimized, or is it something else? Knowing why a new project is being started makes sure that all the appropriate changes are made to what doesn’t work and what is working is left alone.

Is the Content Going to be Reused?

Is the content going to only be used once or will it be used again and again? Content that is intended to be reused will use evergreen phrases that will maintain their meaning for years to come.

Who is the Target Audience?

Your writers will need to know this information before they can start writing quality content for your project. Content that is written without a clear audience sounds too general and won’t give you any lasting connection with your audience.

What Need Does the Content Address?

Once you identify who the content is trying to reach you can increase your connection with them by finding a specific need or two that your company can fulfil. Knowing the needs that are being addressed means that writers can craft their content around that need.

Will There Be Any Other Requirements Beyond Writing?

A large project will have many requirements beyond writing, such as new graphic designs and videos. Having these other requirements outlined early on will eliminate a lot of last minute confusion when attempting to bring all the separate pieces together into one cohesive whole.

How Many Hours Will the Project Take?

As a project progresses the answer to this question will change but knowing this information will help to determine approximate times and dates for when the content will be ready for customers to see.

What is the Budget?

This is important to discuss especially if external writers are going to be used.

What is the Tone or Style of the Piece?

Is your company an authority who is providing information to your readers? Or are you trying to start a conversation with your customers by asking them questions throughout your content.

Does the Content Need to be SEO Optimized?

Any content that is intended to attract the attention of search engines needs to be SEO optimized. More questions will come up when deciding what keywords to use and how to provide quality content that both meets the clients’ needs as well attracting search engine algorithms.

Word Count?

Do you need short descriptions to improve SEO rankings? Or do you need longer form blog posts intended to impart information to your readers? Good word count estimates will make sure that you won’t have content that won’t be used.

What are the Guidelines the Writer Should Follow?

Are there unique services that only your company provides? Are there words or phrases that should be avoided? Understanding what should be emphasized and what should be played down can only help your writers provide you with better content.

How Many People Will be Involved? Who of Those People Have Final Approval?

Even the most collaborative projects have one individual who can give the final approval. Knowing who this person is early in the project will prevent any confusion about who has the final say on the content.

Who Comes Up with the Topics?

Do the writers have the freedom to decide what topic to write about, or will topics be provided to them? Even if you decide on a combination of the two sides a writer will be happy to know exactly what is expected of them.

Do Any Drafts Have to be Seen?

Is content expected to be seen in a rough form as well as in a finished form? Rough drafts can help ensure that all the content has the same tone but it also can increase the amount of time a project takes to finish.

What is the Rewrite Process?

No matter if drafts are expected there are always revisions to be done. The rewrite process can become confusing if it isn’t clearly outlined beforehand.

What is the Timeline? And what happens if the deadline isn’t met?

While the final deadline may be decided earlier there are many smaller deadlines that need to be met in order to meet the final deadline. Deciding the consequences of any missed deadline allows everyone to know when work is due and what will happen if it is late.

Can earlier content be reused?

When content is simply being updated, keeping the older content is useful to show what topics should be discussed on that page. Poorly written content can become a good example of what not to write.

Any Specific Sources to Cite? If Interviews are Involved, Who Finds the Subjects to Interview?

Does your company have a close relationship with another company that should be reflected in the content? Letting writers know which sources to cite before work begins makes the writing process much easier because the writers will only use approved sources.

How will Success be Measured?

Once a project is finished what determines if the project was successful or not? Success can be measured by an increase in the number of visits to or an improvement in search engine rankings. By determining how to measure the success of the project you can decide which analytic tools to use to track the success.

 

These 20 questions will help you overcome many of the common problems that come up in every copywriting project.

~Megan

 

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How to Write a Big-Impact Proposal in a Short Amount of Time

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Putting together proposals is a critical part of gaining new business. Unfortunately, they can consume a lot of time and resources. Because the business is not guaranteed and most often proposals are free, you don’t want to dump too much effort into this type of work. Yet, you still want to put your best foot forward to increase your odds of winning the job. How do you split the difference? Here’s how to create a big-impact proposal in a small amount of time.

Create a blueprint, not a how-to guide

One of the biggest mistakes of proposal writing is providing too much information. Your potential client needs to understand your vision for the project and get excited for the results, but they don’t need a play-by-play. Not only does this take up far too much time, it also puts your proposal at risk of being taken and implemented by someone else. Think of it this way – you want to create a blueprint for the work you can complete, but not a step-by-step how-to guide that makes it easy for anyone else to do the same. Paint the big picture, but leave the finer details for the paid job!

Know what matters…and what doesn’t

Another mistake is thinking that a potential client wants to know every single detail. More often than not, they would prefer to be given a general idea and few examples here and there. Anything more can make a proposal far too long and very overwhelming for a client to try and sift through. Keep your proposal to the most meaningful information and leave out the sections that clients would likely just skip over to get to the “meat.” For example, a description of your company should be short and sweet – no more than a paragraph and an executive summary of the project should also be limited to several paragraphs (not several pages). This is all added bulk that can be eliminated. It will save you time and your clients will thank you as well!

Pull from past proposals

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time you write a proposal. Certain sections such as the paragraph briefly describing your business, an explanation of a particular service or your pricing structure can all be copied over from past proposals. Once you have these “modules” written just the way you want them, you can simply insert them into any new proposal. This will save you hours of rewriting the same content over and over.

Take advantage of technology

Finally, be sure to take advantage of all the different resources and shortcuts technology now provides when it comes to proposal writing. Online services such as BidSketch (http://www.bidsketch.com) make proposal formatting easy and professional. All you have to worry about is the content and they take care of making it look great. This also provides your clients with the ability to review, edit and sign the proposal electronically which keeps the proposal process moving along smoothly. For a small investment, these tech tools will reduce your time spent on each proposal and allow you more bandwidth to take on additional projects.

Proposals are a necessary evil of business growth. One of the greatest skills you can learn is how to craft a professional and on-point proposal in a reasonable amount of time. By putting these strategies to use, you will be able to create big-impact proposals without depleting all of your resources to do so! ~Stephanie

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How to Write a Proposal for a Project

by My Web Writers

A Proposal is a Key Starting Place

The foundation to any good presentation or project is a well-written research paper or a well-outlined proposal.  Obviously, if you are planning a presentation for your coworkers, you won’t be writing a paper.  However, this means you can focus all of your attention on creating a good proposal for your supervisor and a solid presentation for your coworkers.

Preliminary Research

Whether you have a lot or little knowledge of the subject or product on which your project is based, you’ll want to do a bit of research before you put together your proposal.  Most of your information will come from market research.  Say you’re attempting to launch a new product on the market—you’ll want to know your potential clientele before you set up your proposal.  If there are similar products on the market, you’ll want to know which aspects make your product better and then highlight those in your proposal and business plan.  You’ll want to know competitor’s price points ahead of time and you’ll want to look into what buzz words are getting the attention of consumers.

Writing Your Proposal

The biggest tips to remember when writing the actual project proposal are: keep it clear and concise, make sure it effectively communicates your ideas, and double-check and triple-check for any errors.  While your overall purpose should be to communicate your ideas clearly, you want to impress your supervisor and your coworkers with an error-free presentation.

When you sit down to write your project proposal, revert back to your college education for a second: come up with two or three sentences summarizing what you want to communicate through your project proposal.  Build the proposal itself from there.  Remember to use terms and language that anyone could understand rather than jargon specific to your industry.  By being able to effectively communicate your ideas in layman’s terms, you’ll show that you’re fully capable of attacking your project head-on and producing a great final result.

Overall, simply remember a few tips when writing a proposal for a project: do some preliminary market research, summarize your project in a few sentences before writing your proposal, don’t use business jargon, and make your proposal clear and to-the-point.  This will result in not only a well-put-together project proposal, but it will also help you produce a solid presentation and final project.

~Holly

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