What is a Content Writing Proposal?
A content writing proposal tells potential clients everything you can bring to the table—and at what cost. This document demonstrates your expertise as a freelance writer and aligns your writing services with the client’s requirements and needs.
As a freelance writer, you’ve worked hard on honing your writing skills. You’ve likely churned out quite a few blog posts, news articles, or content pieces for search engine optimization in your time. But, without a well-crafted writing proposal to spotlight these skills, you’re losing the opportunity to convert prospective clients.
Enter—your content writing proposal template. This template creates the groundwork for producing bespoke proposals, customized to individual client needs.
Unlike generic proposals, a freelance writing proposal template gives you a predefined structure to work with that’s relevant to your niche. You can add personalized ideas to grab your client’s attention, alongside a customized pricing section for the project too.
This content proposal template gives you the bare bones structure to adapt for each and every new client opportunity that comes your way.
Note: Sign up for Bonsai to customize this freelance writing proposal template and land high paying clients effortlessly.
What to Include in the Content Writing Proposal
Creating a proposal is not every writer’s cup of tea. Sure, we love writing or we wouldn’t be here—but proposals are another beast! Pitching your freelance writing services is different from your usual writing projects, you’re attempting to convince clients to hire you—there’s more riding on your writing.
Not just that, you’re also competing against a pool of talented freelance writers to create a standout proposal and secure this role. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed.
Knowing what differentiates a fabulous content writing proposal from a mediocre one is a good place to start. So, read these key elements of an effective proposal, and you’re all set to write proposals like a pro.
Every good proposal starts with an overview of the freelance writer—that’s you! Since it’s the most common section across all proposals, you’ll need to create something different to help you stand out from hello.
Create an intriguing hook and capture your prospect’s attention, nudging them to read the rest of your cover letter. Then, introduce yourself and summarize your freelance writing experience, skills, and top clients.
Here’s a good flow for your introduction:
- Include a catchy way of saying hello
- Run through your strengths
- Link out to any article writing that showcases your talents
- Add a list of clients you’ve worked with, and the results delivered with them
Your cover letter should position you as a credible expert with a clear idea of the client’s needs and that you’re the perfect writer for supporting them.
The next section of your content writing proposal shifts the focus to your prospective client. Put yourself in the shoes of your target client. Now, identify their pain points and spell out the challenges they’re facing.
This could be related to the trouble of finding a good writer, the struggle of ranking on search engines, or anything you’ve understood in your previous conversations with them.
Creating a problem statement segment is crucial to building the client’s confidence in your skills as a freelance writer. If you show them how well you’ve understood their problems and expectations—instead of all the generic proposals they’ve read, you’re increasing your chances of getting hired.
However, writing this section is tricky. A weak and incomplete problem statement can work against you. So, conduct your statement thorough research and put together an impeccable statement, like our example below:
<company name> is looking to build its thought leadership in the <xyz> industry to get a competitive edge in the market and become a trusted source for its clients and prospects. Creating the right content strategy has been the biggest challenge, and distributing content is another major issue.
To nail this section and strike the right chord with your target client, have a chat with them before writing a proposal.
Here are some prompts to help you identify their critical problems:
- What are your goals through content marketing?
- What strategies have you used to work toward these goals in the past?
- What roadblocks have hindered your progress?
- What are your expectations working with me?
This section is essentially about understanding the client’s struggles and repeating them back to them.
Plan of action
Once you’ve chalked out your prospect’s primary challenges, it’s time to propose a solution. Talk about what you bring to the table. This is where you have to offer a combination of writing services and an action plan to tackle these underlying content problems to produce the desired results.
Think from the client’s perspective and consider their expectations, study their business and market, and create a content strategy to fix the existing roadblocks.
The best way to propose your writing services is by addressing the prospect’s pain points. Here are a few examples to inspire your own plan of action:
- If they’re looking to drive more traffic on their website and wanting to boost sales, pitch SEO writing services to up their discoverability and click through rates from search engines
- If they want to focus on customer satisfaction and engagement, propose weekly posts like newsletters delivered to their customers’ inboxes. Or, propose better in-app messaging.
While pitching your services, remember that your action plan is a double-edged sword, and it can win or lose the deal for you. So, put the effort into understanding the job description and then draft this section with care
Workflow and timelines
After pitching the combination of services that you think will work, brief them about your writing process. Whether you’re a freelance copywriter, an article writer in a larger agency, or work with a selection of partner writers, you’ll have your own way of working and your clients need to know about it.
Outline this process to build more trust in your craft. With this section, you’re also informing your future client about the expected timeline for completing the content writing project.
Here’s what a standard writing process looks like:
- Content brief: to acquaint you with the crucial details related to the pieces of content you’ll be putting together, including title, keywords, tentative structure, TOV, references, and style guidelines
- Outline review: seeking the client’s approval for the final structure of the article or copy with details about hyperlinking and keyword usage
- Content creation: the process of writing and editing the first content draft
- Revision requests: addressing the client’s comments related to edits and revisions for fine-tuning the piece
- Payment: to finalize the content and close the project
If you’re working on a package of services, you can spell out different milestones for the project. So, this section will include details about each milestone with estimated timelines. If using a template for your content writing proposals, remember this section may need to be updated for different clients and their work.
Your proposal is as much about pitching your services as it is about building credibility for yourself and your business. Besides explaining all that you can achieve with your writing, show that you’ve already delivered similar results.
Include work samples and examples of past projects to establish yourself as a seasoned professional. Give them a glimpse of your previous client’s goals, your deliverables, and the outputs.
Bonsai Top Tip: Including some testimonials with these case studies will also go a long way in creating trust.
Here’s how you can structure case studies for any content writing proposal:
- Client name and introduction
- Their key challenges and goals
- Your proposed solution and pricing
- Your deliverables and timelines
- The results achieved with proof
Cover as many of these points as possible to present a complete picture of what you’ve accomplished in the past. If you’ve never offered a package of services, then a portfolio with published writing samples and client testimonials will do wonders.
Select the perfect case study for the potential writing gig at hand. You’ll want to showcase past projects that are as close to the client’s business niche, target audience, or problem, and how your past projects helped achieve their goals.
However, deliver these case studies with caution—you don’t want to showcase that you’ve worked with a client’s direct competition in the past as there may be a conflict of interests.
The final part of your content writing proposal details your charges for all your services. Freelance writers have a bunch of ways for pricing their services—per word, per hour, and per project.
You can specify your fees for the proposed services in a pricing table, like our example below:
Include a note about your revisions policy, and mention any extra charges if the edit requests go beyond your usual rounds of revision. This is a great way to help you avoid scope creep.
Finally, explain your payment terms clearly. Add all the acceptable payment options, details if you request an advance, and milestone payments if it’s a longer project. You can also add a clause for a late fee penalty.
Bonsai Top Tip: The Bonsai content writing contract template has you covered with clauses, ensuring you’ll get paid on time and in full.
How to Write a Content Writing Proposal
With this set structure in place, you can mold a content writing proposal template into a personalized pitch for any project. However, perfecting the flow also matters when submitting proposals for different kinds of clients.
Here are some insights to help you write a winning freelance writing proposal.
Speak the client’s language
One of the most underrated tips to ace your freelance writing proposal is keeping yourself in the client’s shoes—write from their perspective instead of your own.
Don’t limit yourself to identifying their pain points and challenges. Dig deeper to understand why they’re hiring you. This will help you uncover their expectations from your services and the goals they aspire to achieve.
Once you have these bits of information with you, double down on them to craft your proposal. Make this document about them. Align your services, your past projects, and pricing with their objectives—the results they seek through content marketing.
Lastly, show them you can talk the talk as well as walk the walk. Use just the right amount of industry lingo to assure your client you understand their business niche. This will subconsciously reassure them that they’re considering the right freelancer writer for the gig.
Focus on positioning your services
With the content industry becoming as competitive as ever—as the top preference among over 57 million freelancers in the US, a potential client is likely considering you among several other writers. So, how do you set yourself apart and land the deal? By strategically positioning your offerings.
Instead of pitching the lowest offer, differentiate yourself from other freelance writers with the strength of your writing and workflow, and content offers that others don’t have.
Consider these unique selling points while writing proposals:
- Meticulous and end-to-end keyword research going on search engine optimization best practices
- Extensive customer research and interviews to understand the client’s target audience better
- Flexibility and suitable turnaround time to cater to their business goals
- Demonstrated experiences in the niche with a portfolio of quality content
Draft each section of your freelance writing proposal with the intent of uniquely positioning yourself and what you can bring to the table.
Bonsai Top Tip: Add a couple of testimonials to show your prospective client what working with you is like!
Define the project scope
An important aspect of your proposal is explaining exactly what you’ll do for the project. Not defining the scope of your project can land you in the trouble of accommodating random client requests without any assurance of additional payment.
So, clearly define your output. Set out different milestones with timelines and details of services under each milestone. You should also create a section explaining what’s not included in the project for sake of clarity.
Bonsai Top Tip: A clause detailing the additional charges for your extra services–for example, an extra blog post–will help avoid double-work and awkward client conversations further down the line
Make sure that you’re including this exact project scope in your writer agreement as well.
Use a professional design
Irrespective of how well you’ve written your freelance writing proposal, it’ll make no difference without the right visual appeal. Transform your textual content into a professional design.
Keep these best practices in mind during the process:
- Follow a uniform typeface and color palette
- Write short paragraphs and include text boxes
- Add bullet lists and multiple subsections to aid readability
You can also add your prospect’s branding into your design by adding their colors. This will help in customizing the document, and will subconsciously tell them that you’re a match.
Creating a Content Writing Proposal is Simple with Bonsai
Writing a proposal is never as easy as it seems, especially when you’re competing against so many other freelance writers. It demands an understanding of the client’s goals, project requirements, and research.
With Bonsai’s content writing proposal template, you get a persuasive pitch to build on. Simply download this free template to customize for every new project and get it done in a few clicks.
Here’s how easy it is to get started:
- Sign up for free to Bonsai
- Choose the best content writing proposal template
- Edit the template to match your preferences and style
Let Bonsai take the lead on submitting proposals while you focus on producing top-notch content. Your intuitive platform is easy to navigate and allows you to export the proposal as a PDF once ready.
Access Bonsai’s collection of thousands of templates for invoices, contracts, quotations, and more for all your business needs.
Note: Seal the deal for a new project with a fail-proof technical writer agreement template and start your client relationship on the right foot.
Content Writing Proposal FAQs
1. How do you write a content proposal?
Writing proposals for a content writing project is easy when you know what to include and how. Here’s what you should focus on while drafting a content writing proposal:
- Understand the client’s pain points and goals
- Define the scope of your services and proposed solution
- Position yourself strategically from the other writers
- Include details of the cost, timeline, and workflow
2. How do you begin a proposal?
Introducing yourself is a great way to start any proposal–as you’ll see in any proposal sample out there. Rather than writing a plain and simple introduction, add a twist and capture the reader’s attention with a striking hook. Then, go on to introduce yourself as the expert they’re looking for.