Ask the Expert

Staring at a blank screen….

Question by: Jo Brassington

Hi Lorraine,


Do you have any advice or tips for how to start writing a tender response, I find that the hardest part of bid writing is just getting started! I usually create headers based on the structure of the question, but then…. blank screen panic!


Many thanks!


Hi Jo

Great question! You raise the thing that leaves us all quaking in our boots at the prospect…the blank sheet of paper!!

The best way to overcome this is to STORYBOARD! One of my favourite things and essential for these five reasons:
1. Avoids the blank sheet of paper panic
2. Helps us get under the skin of the question to ensure we ATFQ…that’s answer the FULL question!😉
3. Makes sure we are all on the same page with what is required to answer the question/s
4. Allows us to get reviewers opinions early on what we propose to include so we don’t find out too late down the line that we’ve not included something essential
5. Encourages the content contributor/writer to starts earlier and will result in a better quality first draft.

So what should you discuss in a storyboard session I hear you cry! I would suggest at least the following eight things. And start with just bullet points initially:
• Firstly, what’s the question, what’s the evaluation criteria and is there a word/page count? If no page count, what would we anticipate we need (this sets our minds clearly on what to produce)
• Why have they asked this question? What issues/concerns do they have? What are they trying to achieve here?
• What is the technical content needed to answer each part of the question? (and yes, absolutely follow the client’s structure) Do we have base content within our library? Who can help us with this?
• What is the benefit of this to the client?
• Where have we done this before? Again, do we have this evidence in our library, or do we need someone to help gather this?
• Do we have a differentiator to draw out here? Or is there a weakness with the competition that we could ghost?
• Do we need any graphics (if graphics are allowed) and do we already have those produced?
• Which of our win themes can we reference in this response?

I hope this helps!