What is Bid Writing?
Bid Writing for the Freelancer
For the freelance writer looking at jobsites, it is a fact that the large majority of writing work involves “bid writing.” On closer inspection these jobs involves writing for businesses and companies. For the writer who is versed in writing as a creative pursuit it can all seem a bit corporate.
The fact is, that many writing gigs want a writer who is versed in sales and marketing, no matter how knowledgable and skilled they are about writing as a creative process. If you want work, you may have to consider bid writing. It is well-paid and there is plenty of work out there, unlike many other types of writing gigs.
To me, something like bid writing seems an anathema. It suggest sales targets, strategies, competitiveness and ruthless tactics and working with people who wouldn’t know their Shakespeare from But surely as wordsmiths we shouldn’t be suspicious, should we? After all, with bid writing we are only stringing some words together to make an impact: something that we do for a living every day.
What does Bid Writing Involve?
Bid writing is now a necessary part of survival and existence for many companies and organisations. They need to win bids in order to stay in business, and bid proposals are made through the writing of bids.
Bid proposals involves calculating rates, writing selling content and putting together a professional presentation. Sometimes writing bid proposals is part of a targeted campaign to extend a service or develop a new one. For some companies under financial pressure writing a successful bid is vital for it’s survival. Bid writers manage the written and editorial aspects of the proposal development process. They communicate requirements, deadlines and expectations to key stakeholders and the proposal team.
For companies it is vital to have a good bid writer; someone professional and flexible and these are the main skills that they require:
Can you write a good letter? A good bid writer should be able to write a clear and persuasive letter and companies can weed out unsuitable potential bid writers on scrutinising their applications for bad grammar, spelling and hyperbole. They are looking for clear, concise and persuasive writers who can construct an argument. A bid writer will be responsible for creating and presenting highly professional documents.
Are You Attentive ? A good bid writer, no matter what their background must get to know and understand the envirornment he/she is writing for. A bid writer needs to understand the organisation and how it works in order to write about the projects they want to deliver.
Are You Concise? At school we often had to write a precis on a bigger amount of text. It was a valuable exercise in teaching us how to summarize. This is a great skill for a bid writer and an organisation wanting your services will almost certainly want you to paraphrase 1000 words into 100!
Another thing that a bid writer needs to have, it seems, is experience. It is the old conumdrum, how do you get experience if no one is prepared for take you on?
Experience saves businesses a lot of headaches and money because they want a safe pair of hands. The type of experience that they are looking for is someone who knows how to deliver strategies for achieving financial goals through a number of potential funding organisations. This suggests they want someone who has managed projects before. You could be a damn good writer but you need to undertand the competive process of bid writing: the highs and the lows!
Where Can You Start?
If you possess the skills listed above there is no reason why you shouldn’t apply for bid writing jobs. At first it can be for smaller companies and it may be that you have to accept a smaller financial reward for your endeavours. It is about gaining experience so you can persuade the bigger companies with the bigger budgets that you can do the job. If you are a good writer with some transferable skills from a previous job then apply. It does no harm and it is good practise in itself to sell yourself to gain work. How can you help sell a proposal otherwise?
If you want to undergo a training course there are plenty of them out there! Naturally, the demand for bid writers creates the demand for training!
A good website to look at is http://www.tenders-uk.com/. It tells you about the differnet types of tender such as construction tenders or NHS proposal bids and how to undergo further training courses. Many companies do in-house training but it is possible to undergo an individual course but I suspect, it isn’t cheap!