Writing a winning bid can seem like a huge task. You not only need a compelling solution, but you also need to find a way to communicate it in a compelling and persuasive manner.
So, here are three quick bid writing tips that you can use now to elevate your next bid or proposal.
1. Use powerful headings
In my 12 years of working in bid writing and procurement, this is one of the most consistently effective tips I have seen. Headings can transform dense text into readable and persuasive copy. Headings also create the backbone of your document, allowing the reader to easily scan and locate the information they are looking for. Headings make your document more pleasing to the eye and create a sense of order, hierarchy and symmetry that appeals to the reader.
When you start to draft your bid, headings are a great place to start. Write out your headings first to create a structure and then check that they are in the right order. Ask if they make logical sense and if the most important information you want the reader to remember is prioritised. Review your headings to see if they reflect back the buyer’s language and key needs.
Have at least one standard heading style for your document and use colour and bold type to make it stand out. This will naturally draw the buyer to the information they are looking for and it will help prevent your key message getting buried in a curtain of text.
2. Make key information stand out
Testimonials, key benefits and achievements are all powerful evidence to include in your bids. Make these stand out by putting them in a text box with a background colour that contrasts the rest of the proposal document. Use italics and large type for testimonials to make them look good and consider using the icons in Microsoft Word to add an eye-catching image to your example.
The great thing about this tip is that it can be applied no matter how restrictive your bid writing submission may be. Even if you are required to submit everything in Arial 11 you can still use text boxes, tables with thick borders and underlining to create a compelling contrast with the rest of your document.
3. Start on a positive note
Starting each section or paragraph with a positive summary of your offering is a great way to immediately engage the reader. Often with bids and proposals, the buyer has already made the decision to buy a product or service, so there is no need to set the scene by detailing the background or the problem.
A good way to do this is complete the following sentence: “you will get (benefit)” and list out all the positive things the buyer will get from your solution to that specific area. For example, if you are writing about quality management, you might get something like this: “you will get the assurance of high quality work across the contract duration.” This then serves as a great jumping off point to detail your solution and then show how to will work for the client.
If anything, the “you will get” exercise is a great way to cure writer’s block and can really help to organise your thinking on a particular section. You can also use it when editing by reviewing the opening statements of your sections and paragraphs and asking if what the buyer get comes across strongly enough.