The two main approaches for creating Proposal Content Plans:
The best approach depends on your organization's culture, your management style, and the availability of resources.
- Collaborative. The Proposal Manager uses the Content Planning approach to solicit and capture input from a variety of sources in order to gather everything that should go into the proposal. You can also use the Content Plan to build consensus and facilitate decision making. In other words, the writers and subject matter experts participate in developing the Content Plans and then use them to write the proposal narrative.
- Top-Down. The Proposal Manager prepares the Content Plan and uses it to direct the Proposal Writers. Writers receive a Content Plan that essentially defines their assignment, and then use it to guide the writing.
The approach you take will depend on your organization and the nature of your offering. In some organizations the Proposal Manager will know enough about the offering to write instructions for completion by the writers. In other organizations no one person will know everything needed to write the proposal.
Proposals that require a lot of input from subject matter experts often use the Content Plan to solicit inputs and then give the writing to a specialist. In collaborative settings, Content Plans can be circulated like containers that each contributor adds to. Contributions can be very specific, depending on the expertise of the contributor.
Content Plans become serious collaboration tools when they are used to circulate and track questions and information as well as instructions. They become a repository for gaining an understanding about what needs to be written and where any required information can be obtained.