clip_image002A request for a proposal is a crucial step in the sales cycle. It creates the change to get one step closer to a customer and a new project or deal.

But writing a proposal is not easy. Proposals come in many sizes and shapes, depending on the organization that asks for one. In some cases, it is better to avoid a formal proposal and opt for sending a letter outlining the products and services to be offered.

Seven tips for writing a proposal

  1. Create a powerful, but concise executive summary

In many cases, the customer just wants to see a short overview of deliverables with prices.

  1. Focus on results

Customers are far more interested in the deliverables than in methodologies or processes. Quite bluntly, they just want the job to be done; how it is done is of secondary importance.

  1. Showcase ideas

Customers want to cooperate with a business partner they can trust. To show that you are not only on the same wavelength, but also want to be their partner, share ideas that can help them.

  1. Make sure it has quality

As in many cases, it is the quality, not the quantity that counts. Limit the amount of pages, and make sure the proposal is about the customer. Focus on how you are going to solve the customer’s problems.

  1. Be careful with jargon

Terms such as “best practices”, “outstanding practices”, innovative solutions”, “and out-of-the-box thinking”,”top-notch and best-of-breed” are overused and are considered to be marketing hype. Try to use clear language and simple terms; it will avoid misunderstandings and future complications.

  1. Make sure its accurate

The proposal must be accurate, so make sure to validate and double-check all data before presenting it. Check every small proposal detail and watch for typos and style mistakes.

  1. Delivering your proposal

Make sure that the right people receive the proposal on time. You can submit it by email or hand it over in person. The latter guarantees you a higher change of closing the deal.

(Image courtesy of Geldlening Offerte)

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Almost every organization needs technical writing due to the need for user guides, instruction manuals, quick guides, user manuals, white papers, product documentation, training materials, etc.

Since technical writing has become essential part of today’s business and government, jobs can be found in almost any industry sector. The demand for technical writers is expected to grow, since enterprises need to communicate existing and new scientific and technical information to others.

Many technical writers prefer to specialize in a specific industry such as telecommunications, computers, biotech, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, health care, or manufacturing. This way, they can build expertise in e.g., software documentation, tutorials, white papers, or user guides.

Technical writing is as diverse and there is an overlap with marketing writing. Product instructions, reference and maintenance manuals, articles, project proposals, training materials, technical reports, catalogs, brochures, online documentation and help systems, Web pages, multimedia presentations, parts lists, assembly instructions, sales promotion materials, tenders, RFI and RFP, and tech blogs require the skills of technical writers.

Technical writers enable enterprises to tell their users how to use their products and services. Those users can be consumers, system integrators, resellers, scientists, engineers, plant executives, line workers, production managers, but also product reviewers, tech journalists, and tech bloggers.

Technical writing is different from marketing writing. Technical writing describes the current situation; marketing writing also covers what will be. The writing style between the two is therefore very different. Good technical writing is concise and easy-to-read. In many cases, technical writers are also expected to deal with the graphics, layout, and document design.

Thinking of becoming a technical writer? Looking for a technical writing course near you? Our Best Words offers technical & marketing writing courses in Be’er Sheva, Jerusalem, Tzfat, and Netanya.

Want to learn more? Contact Our Best Words for an interview and placement test at:

Our Best Words Main Office: 02-656-3369
US & Canada: 1-786-507-8206

Ephraim King, CEO: 050-529-0775
Tracey Shipley, Marketing Coordinator: 054-810-8918
Email: info@ourbestwords.com
Website: http://www.technicalwriting.co.il/training/tech-writing-course-tzfat/

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Technical writers translate complex subjects for users. They change technical jargon and turn it into understandable text for everybody. Regardless of the industry or field of expertise, there are three important tips for writing technical documentation.

Use plain English instead of complex phrases or buzz words

Every industry and market has its own buzz words. “Discussing it offline”, “working around it”, “streamlining operations”, “thinking outside the box”, “impacting the bottom line” belong in marketing materials, not in technical documentation such as user guides and manuals. Especially for tenders and RFPs and RFIs are buzz words and jargon the kiss of death – governmental agencies require that documents are easy to read and understand.

Understand the local lingo

A technical writer must understand the “local lingo” or jargon. For proper technical writing, the writer must fully understand what a certain phrase or term means to a customer and (end) users. Technology companies have the tendency to coin their own definitions. No online research will help the writer; only direct asking the source (content provider, product manager, software developer, etc.).

Recycle and reuse to avoid reinventing the wheel

Technical writing normally deals with similar documents within an organization over time. It is therefore not necessary for a technical writer to start from scratch for each project. Unless it is a nascent start-up, legacy templates, earlier technical writing documents such as reports, proposals, and user manuals are floating around in the organization. It is therefore a lot safer (and easier) to look for templates to tweak or to use as a starting point. For odd projects, there are normally examples that can be used as an outline.

These three tips will help you as a technical writer to be an asset to a team, to contribute user-friendly and customer-specific content that adds additional value to organizations.

Want to learn more about the difference between technical writing and marketing writing? Sign up for one of our courses! Email us at: info@ourbestwords.com

You can also call us at the Our Best Words Main Office: 02-656-3369
US & Canada: 1-786-507-8206

Ephraim King, CEO: 050-529-0775
Tracey Shipley, Marketing Coordinator: 054-810-8918

(Image courtesy of Susana Maria Rosende)

clip_image001One of the best ways to promote a company is with opinion articles. Many magazines (online and hard copy) welcome well-written articles. These articles should not be biased though – nobody wants to read a (blatant) sales pitch. As marketing professions will tell you – educating your target audience/potential customers is an effective marketing strategy.
Before starting to write, identify the target audience. Who are the readers of the magazine you want to send the article to? What are their interests? Do you have a direct connection to the editor, or only via a PR company? Does the magazine allow hyperlinks? Do they also want original illustrations? In short – do your homework!
Many marketing and copywriters ghostwrite – they write the opinion pieces for a company’s CEO, CMO or CTO, and when published, it will be under their name.
Points of attention when writing an opinion piece:

  1. It must be informative. The reader should learn something from reading the article.
  2. It must be interesting. The text should flow and keep the reader interested to go on reading.
  3. It must be based on facts, and not assumptions. References to recent events that were covered in the global media are a good hook, as are reports of leading analysts such as Gartner and Forrester.
  4. It must be neutral. As mentioned before, nobody wants to read a sales pitch. A neutral article covering new or future trends, or “how to…” articles are popular. At the end of the year, articles about predictions for the coming year are in demand.
  5. It should have hyperlinks (if allowed by the newspaper), footnotes and references. It makes the article trustworthy and increases the chance for publication.
  6. Most magazines will ask for illustrations. Try to have original images in high resolution. No matter what industry you are in, the chance that your competitors use the same stock photos is high. Diagrams are always popular in tech pieces, as are product photos. Make sure to send different photos to various magazines – don’t forget, they all want to have original content!
  7. Custom write your story tailored to each magazine. Sending the same article to several tech magazines is professional suicide, especially in today’s viral media.
  8. Make sure to put a short bio with contact details at the bottom of the article.
  9. Follow up. Once you see that your article in published, drop a thank-you note to the magazine (or journalist). Blog and tweet about it, and make sure to include the URL of the publication.