How to create a proposal content plan in eight steps

These eight steps guide you through creating a Content Plan that doesn't overlook anything

Building a Proposal Content Plan through an iterative process:

The 8 iterations can be implemented one at a time in sequence or used like a checklist to expedite figuring out what to write:

  1. Create the initial shell.
  2. Insert instructions for addressing RFP requirements.
  3. Add instructions for incorporating win strategies and themes, and to optimize the proposal against the evaluation criteria.
  4. Add instructions for incorporating your customer, opportunity, and competitive intelligence.
  5. Add instructions for summarizing your offering design, including the key processes, steps, or components of your solution or offering.  
  6. Add instructions for the use of graphics, tables, relevance boxes, examples, etc.
  7. Add instructions regarding any assumptions, limits, boundaries, or issues that must be resolved.
  8. Add any boilerplate or re-use material that is relevant to the instructions, noting any deviations for correction.

A Content Plan can be built through an iterative process.  With each pass, you focus on different aspects of a winning proposal.  Everything that goes into a Content Plan is in the form of instructions to the proposal writers.  When you are done it should read like a recipe for the proposal. When you complete the last pass, you have confidence that you have considered everything that should go into your proposal.

Working ahead or out of sequence is okay

When creating a Content Plan:

  • You are encouraged to include instructions from any iteration cycle whenever they occur to you
  • The iterative process ensures that nothing gets overlooked

What matters is capturing the instructions and not necessarily the sequence followed to capture them.  If you think of something that should go in your proposal or that the Proposal Writers should know, put it in when you think about (so you don’t forget to add it later).  It is also okay to go back and expand prior iterations, or to combine statements from different iterations.  What matters is that you arrive at clear guidance for everything that should go into the proposal.
 

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Carl Dickson

Carl is the Founder and President of CapturePlanning.com and PropLIBRARY.

The materials he has published have helped millions of people develop business and write better proposals. Carl is an expert at winning in writing. He is a prolific author, frequent speaker, trainer, and consultant.

In addition, the groups Carl moderates on LinkedIn provide a place for tens of thousands of business development and proposal professionals to discuss best practices and network.

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