Content is everything and the rules for writing it have changed. Documents are published in many places, on paper, computer screen, website, mobile device or your company’s intranet.

Although the rules for content writing have changed, no one seems to have taken any notice.

Writers still churn out what they think readers want, based on their experience. If your content is not of the highest quality, you’re wasting your time.

Today, readers are time poor and want as much information as possible and instantly. For this reason content must be more accessible than it has ever been before. It needs to be read quickly, understood just as quickly without there being any ambiguity. If a reader has to read the material more than once, you have failed as a communicator.

Your website is often the first contact a prospective client will have with your company, if you don’t make an excellent impression within the first three seconds, your prospect will go to another site.

A web designer will tell you “it’s the design and structure” you need to spend the money on. Design and structure do count, but if the content is not good enough, no amount of fluff, colour, wiz bang sliding imagery will sell the prospect on your company. The content sells who you are and what you do and importantly the benefits of working with you. Unfortunately, graphics alone can’t do that.

Your written material needs to be clear, concise, plain English, readable, specific for readers and definitely no jargon.

Do you write down your goals? If you do you’re more likely to get what you want.

Here are simple ways to set a goal and note your achievements.

Setting an income goal

If you want to earn $50,000 a year, that’s $1,000 per week, $200 per day, and if you charge $50 per hour, that’s four chargeable hours a day. Double all these figures if you want to earn $100,000 a year.

Goals and your to-do list

On Friday decide the goals you want to achieve during the next week and write them on Monday in your diary or in your electronic calendar. Every day write a “to-do” list with the actions needed to achieve the goals. The list should have about three to five activities.

Turn to Saturday in your paper diary and list your achievements or put them in your electronic calendar.

You may not have signed a multi million dollar contract, discussed the formula for changing the world, but I bet almost without exception you have achieved much more than you realise, simply because you didn’t write it down at the time. Or thought it was not worth recording.

Here’s a quote “A self-employed person plays their own tune and stands out from the rest of the band”.

Connecting with the people reading your message means communicating clearly so they can easily and quickly understand who you are and what you do.

You should never use a long, difficult word when the simple version will do. For example: 

  • Fugacious means fleeting, hard to capture
  • Precipitation means showers, drizzle, rain, rainfall
  • Somnambulism means sleepwalking
  • Ameliorate means improve
  • Ambulatory means moveable
  • Clandestine means secret.

You have all heard the saying, why use three words when one will do, and in certain circumstances I thoroughly agree with that statement. But it is not good to reduce a phrase to just one or two words if they cannot be understood correctly.

Some phrases can be left out completely or the sentence can be rewritten. For example:

In terms of the marketing strategy, we intend to use a good cross section of exposure…. The alternatives are… We intend to use a good cross section of exposure in our marketing strategy. Or… Our marketing strategy will give us a good cross section of exposure.

Don’t make your sentences too long. Studies have shown that the average is between 15 and 20 words: 25 maximum.

Write sentences of between 10 and 16 words for advertising and marketing material, and cap the length at 20 words for formal writing, procedures manuals and other instruction material. Tailor the sentence length to the message.

If you’ve written sentences with 30, 35 or 40 words, rewrite the sentence. Usually, you can take out, and, the, that and but, add a full stop/period and start a new sentence.

The longer the sentence, the more concentration is needed to understand the message.

Are you having trouble writing a tender submission? Need help with retendering for a contract you already have?

You need to demonstrate to a prospective client that you are the best person/company to handle their business; that you understand what they need and can deliver it.

Competitive tendering isn’t about what you do; it’s about what you can do for the client. Tell the client what you have done for other companies and how this is similar to the requirements of the tender request. Demonstrate that you have the skills, capabilities and flexibility to not only do the work but also make life easier for the client.

If you’re responding to a tender for work with a new client show them (in your paperwork) how you will service the contract, report on your progress, provide innovative ways to help the client. In fact, provide whatever the client needs to choose you and your business.

If you already hold a tender and need to retender you still have to show the client that you’re the best person/company for the job. Don’t forget there will always be a competitor who will challenge you for the work. Your job is to make it easy for the client to recontract with you. Let them know why you are the lowest risk option.

Contracts worth millions of dollars go to tender and it’s in your best interest to secure as many contracts as possible so you can grow your business.

Regardless of whether you’re a micro business, small, medium or large enterprise, work in the services, products or manufacturing industries, winning contracts and where possible becoming a preferred contractor will provide the desired income and cash flow stability.

Six tips to help with preparing your submission:

  • Read the whole tender request document carefully at least twice
  • Make a list of what information you need to gather so you can prepare the best response
  • If possible, collaborate with others in your company
  • Schedule time to write the response
  • Don’t leave it too late to ask for help if you’re finding the process difficult
  • Never miss the deadline.

Apart from standard information about your company, never cut and paste from a previous submission, the evaluation panel will always know.

The final tip, check the response document for any spelling, typo and grammatical errors and then check it again for readability and consistency.

If you want to win, your submission must show the evaluation panel that you are the best prospect for the contract.

Good luck.