Winning the Business

Convincing Content Requires Context

The only way to brew convincing content is with the help of context

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Content is like coffee. Good content is stimulating, provides a great start, and many of us couldn’t function without it.

Walk into any modern café and try ordering a coffee. Sure, many of the drinks on the menu contain coffee, but you can’t just order a “cup of coffee.” You need to provide the context of how it should be served. Small, medium, or large? Drip or espresso? Black, latte, or cappuccino? Flavored syrup? Like coffee, content without context is just a pile of beans.

Like coffee, content without context is just a pile of beans.

Brewing a Good Cup of Content

A well-structured repository of accurate, reliable, and professional content undoubtedly helps us get to a first draft sooner. It’s easily accessible, fast, and highly repeatable.

However, content without context is just boilerplate—irrelevant and unconvincing to the reader. A contextual content library contains high-quality, consistent, and curated content in a range of styles and variations to suit different potential customers. In most cases, the core content will be similar, but the way it’s presented will make it much more relevant to the reader.

Wake Up and Smell the Context

To develop our content menu, we first need to define our buyer personas or target audiences. Based on market research, these personas capture clear demographic, behavioral, and transactional states, which will depend on customer needs, organizational status, buying stages, and business goals.

Using the personas, we can develop content that’s more contextually relevant. For example, content on health and safety will have a different emphasis for a construction company than for a school.

Using context as the common thread, we can easily blend the content together to build a proposal story that resonates with the reader.

Content Is Best Served Hot

Using context as the common thread, we can easily blend the content together to build a proposal story that resonates with the reader. It’s like building a model out of Legos: All the pieces are premade, but if you assemble them in the right way, you can create anything imaginable.

The bricks of contextualized content describe industries, issues, relationships, outcomes, benefits, use cases, and next steps, and they can be built into one of many possible model propositions. Using their shared context, these content Lego bricks can be assembled into a persuasive structure to tell a convincing story.

The Proposal Barista

In our analogous coffee shop, we have obtained high-quality coffee beans, profiled our customers’ tastes, and created a rich and varied menu. We still need a well-trained and knowledgeable barista to extract the best flavors and prepare a cup of hand-crafted excellence.

Even the best content will benefit from a professional proposal manager to fine-tune the story and maximize the win probability. We need to give the proposal manager the best tools and ingredients, so he or she can concentrate on winning the business.


Darrell Woodward, CP APMP, is the director of Prosfora Solutions Ltd., an independent bid consultancy based in Thatcham in Berkshire, England. He can be reached at darrell_woodward@hotmail.com.

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