How Do You Measure the Success of Prewritten Content?Question by: Sarah Poll
I’m a bid library content manager for a large print solutions organisation. We have a well established and regularly used content library to support bids for a variety of customers, from both the public and private sectors. As part of my role, I’m required to measure the success of the prewritten content. We’ve previously measured this using the quality scores received, however, as I don’t get involved in the bid management process, and therefore the quality of any tailored responses for the final submission, we’re exploring other ways of determining content effectiveness.
Do you have any suggestions or advice about how we can achieve this?
The question of how to measure content effectiveness isn’t a clear-cut one. There are two schools of thought and they both have a place. The first is how well responses score on submission, and the second is how much use is made of bid library content to create a first draft.
As you are looking primarily at the pre-written content side of things, I would start by looking at the second option – how often, and how much, pre-written content is used to develop a first draft response. Depending on the system you use for your bid library there are a couple of options open to you.
- If the system allows you to see when/if someone has accessed or downloaded the information or how recently it was accessed (some proposal automation systems have this facility) you can start to gauge how useful your library is
- Whether or not the system can give you usage metrics, the next step is to put together a short questionnaire that polls bid writers/subject matter experts/bid contributors and asks:
- how often they use the bid library for retrieving content – e.g. always, sometimes, never;
- how much of their first draft is made up of pre-written content – 75% or more, 50% or more, less than 50%, less than 25%. (You can set these values for what you would like to see);
- when they use pre-written content, do they find:
- they need to tweak it a lot;
- it answers most of the questions;
- it saves them more than half the time they would spend writing from scratch;
- it is current;
- it is well written; and
- is easy to find (search terms, metadata, tags)?
- You can also target specific areas of content e.g. quality, project management, account management. It may be helpful to get a steer from the bid teams about which sections they are weak on when the scoring is returned if you don’t have sight of this.
It may also be worthwhile to get the bid team to work through a recent submission’s feedback with you and you can evaluate where there are gaps as you go.
It is always useful to understand how well answers have scored as this lets you know whether the content is hitting the mark or whether it needs to be rewritten to meet additional criteria. I would definitely suggest a regular catch-up with someone from the bid team to check the scoring against responses. This is where understanding how much of the response is the original pre-written content helps as you’ll be able to see quite quickly whether what is there is working for the team or not, or whether a rewrite is in order.
For me, the key measure for content effectiveness is how easily it can be found and how much of the first draft of a response can be built from it. A measure of writing is that it takes a day to write 4 pages of text from scratch, 8 pages from existing information and it should be possible to edit and amend around 10 – 15 pages to meet requirements if the content is already well written. That doesn’t take into account the time that can be spent searching through old bids and submissions for information that you know exists but isn’t quite what you thought it would be.
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