Are Your Proposals A Patchwork Quilt of Writing Styles?

If your production is on the larger side – perhaps a response to an Expression of Interest (EOI) or a Request for Proposal (RFP) – you might find yourself apportioning out the various sections of the submission to different contributors from within your enterprise.

These different writers will have differing writing styles. Sometimes very different.

One writer could have a formal, even somewhat dry or stiff, academic style. All the way over at the other end of the spectrum, some contributors may have a rather “chatty”, almost social media-oriented writing style. And anything in between.

So how do deal with this?

The short (and really, the only) answer is, to outsource the final editing to a professional editor – unless you have someone with the equivalent background on staff.

If you don’t have the in-house skill and you don’t hire out the task, you’ll likely end up submitting a patchwork quilt of writing styles, the written equivalent of an outfit comprising badly matching items of clothing. It doesn’t matter how pretty or glamorous you make the document look, the impression will dull or sour progressively, as prospective clients and/or their evaluation team make their way through it.

Hiring an appropriate editor is, however, another skill in its own right. You’ll want someone seasoned, who’s not going to turn your submission into cheesy advertising / salesy copy or, on the other hand, parch it out such that it reads like a characterless technical manual.

I’ll address the appropriate writing styles and tones for the various different forms of submission in other posts, but for now, the overarching principle here is that, if it’s an EOI or an RFP, you simply answer the question, as directly as possible, using your research and knowledge of the client to bring in relevant and compelling supporting facts. Don’t get fancy but do err on the side of being crisp and slightly punchy.

More – much more – detail on this in future posts.