In the olden days (say 20 years ago) there were very few software solutions for storing reusable proposal content. Ours –the RFP Machine– was one of the first. Now there are many, many solutions to choose from, ours–Expedience Software–being one of the newest.

But in these series of posts we will look at how to create a reusable content library without ANY software, other than just Microsoft Word.

What do we typically do when we need to create a business document or add content into a document or email or proposal?

We look around for a document that is similar, make some changes. Fix the formatting. Look around in other documents for content, copy and paste the content in. Fix the formatting again. Check all the names, in case we copied something in that shouldn’t be there. Fix the formatting again.

Even when we already have established databases and repositories, we may still end up doing this—because it may seem easier than fighting through log-in screens and navigating through complicated library structures.

We also tend to expect that the document we wrote last week will be more up-to-date than the content someone entered into the document management system last year — and it certainly is easier to find.
So we recommend following the 80-20 rule.

Focus on the 20% of content that you use 80% of the time. Put that content in a single place that you can get to easily. Make sure that the content is copy-paste ready: well written, consistently formatted, fully genericized or customization-ready. Then develop and follow a review process to make sure that this content is kept polished and up-to-date.

Making the investment of time and energy into developing a content library will pay immediate dividends in:

  • Accuracy
  • Consistency
  • Efficiency

In previous posts we showed you methods for making your content copy-paste ready. In the next couple posts we will show you tips to making that content easy to find and easy to use.

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