How to Write a Proposal That Slays and Gets The Job Every Time.

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I’m writing this immediately after wrapping up a proposal to a potential new client who seemed interesting. I came up with the idea when I realised how quietly confident I was about getting this job. It dawned on me that I had a considerably long string of successful proposals under my belt and that I had finally learned how to write a proposal.
I felt the need to share some things with you my dearest readers so I’m putting together this guide in the hope you take something away and land the jobs you want.
So let’s crack on, shall we?

Oh, and I got the job by the way.

how to write a proposal

Pick the jobs YOU like.

I can not emphasise this enough. For the new writer, it is tempting to put all the fingers in all the pies but this is detrimental to the take-off of your new career.
Trust me.
I did it and paid the price for some six long, hard months.
Anyway. If you start sending out proposals left, right and centre, potential clients will see through the fakery. They will see in your communication that you are a generic writer simply looking for a quick buck. No client in their right mind would pick a beige writer who shows little interest or passion in their topic.
When you’re browsing jobs, look for things that actually interest you, even if it’s just a little bit.

FOR EXAMPLE: I was invited to interview by a large cereal company in New Zeland. They had a new muesli and needed the copy text for the back of the box. Now I am no muesli fanatic but I do eat it every morning so I have at least a few thousand days experience with the product. Through this, I managed to scratch up an engaging proposal which grabbed my client’s attention and subsequently land the job!

Choose projects you are more than capable of doing well, that way the proposal will not stink of feigned interest but instead have an air of sincerity. If you are determined to learn how to do a proposal well then have this in the forefront of your mind at all times!

how to write a proposal

This could be us.

Hello? Is it me your looking for…

So as we already touched upon briefly. Your potential client has a line of potential suitors and I absolutely guarantee the majority of those are wannabe copywriters with bland proposals and portfolios. Do you want to be one of those?

I thought not.
But what can I do about it, Declan!?

Well instead of copypasting your shitty, generic cover letter. How about communicating with the client as a human being instead of a walking money sack? How about opening the letter by addressing something which is referenced in the job description.


FOR EXAMPLE: A week ago I saw a job I really liked. It was a long-term gig for a brand new startup. I thought carefully about how to open and ended up saying this:

Dear Client,
First off, let me begin by congratulating you and your team on the founding of your new business. It sounds like a very exciting time and I would love to play a part in your continued success…

I later found out that this opening line hooked the client from the beginning and was paramount in sealing the deal.


The crux of this is; try to shake the robot off your back. Start personalising your proposals to stand out from the crowd.

how to write a proposal

If you’re going to be a robot, be an awesome one.

Me, me, me…

Discussing the industry with one of my colleagues who frequently hires freelancers for his website text, I learned his biggest put off was a self-centred proposal.

Look at this:

how to write a proposal

Excuse the erratic circles. I was really tired.

This was sent to me by a reader to review. Now I realise there is a whole list of problems that needed to be rectified here but I have spoken to ‘J’ about it already. One of the most obvious problems, however, is the flagrant abuse of personal pronouns. There are almost twenty instances of me, mine or I and the writer only refers to the client what? Three times perhaps?
Who is this proposal for? Your ego? No. Stop trying to sell yourself by reciting your history, tell them how you can be the best writer for them and what you are going to do for them.

Show me what you got

Here comes your pièce de résistance…are you ready? This will seal the deal and guarantee you nail this proposal. This will send tingles up the reader’s back. If I could only choose one tip from this guide on how to write a proposal then it would be this one.

how to write a proposal

When writing awesome proposals you should be thinking about the different ways in which you can demonstrate your strong points. Perhaps your client needs a social media campaign. Brush up on your viral hacking, check out the latest trends and give them a sample of your capabilities!

As someone who deals with freelancers from different fields every day, I can guarantee you that the outstanding proposals always contain some sort of creative demonstration of skill. This is a great hook and not many are employing the tactic.

In any case, that was that. The rest is up to you but I promise if you keep these three points in mind when writing potential clients you will see a great response. In fact, if you can nail all three then you will see an exponential surge in contracts.

Let me know if you have any tips yourself! @HowToBeAWriter.


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