An effective content library is one of the most important tools at your disposal as a Bid professional. It should be your go-to databank of information for not only completing a bid, but also for the storage of evidence and proof points.
A populated content library supports an organisation’s knowledge management processes of “creating, classifying, sharing, and improving what we know about what we do”. As with any software or tool, the content library is only as good as the information within it; and whether you use a defined tool to manage your library, or simply a network folder structure, you should have a defined process in place to regularly review, update/improve and remove content.
The proper structure, filing and coding of your content is the first, and most important, task so that it is easy to find by anyone needing to use the library, or by intelligent bid population software if you use that.
How you structure your content library really is dependent on your organisation, and your products, services and workstreams. But a good general approach is to split content by people, process and technology/tools/systems, with a separate repository for supporting or supplementary information such as case studies, CVs, certificates and policies. Each folder can then be split by topic areas. Examples of this approach in Windows Explorer are shown in the figures below:
As shown in both Figures, each lowest level file should be date stamped so you can quickly see how up to date it is, and whether it may need review and improvement.
Remove out of date files where appropriate to do so – for example, you might only ever need to keep the current year’s insurance certificate in the content library, although your commercial teams may keep an archive elsewhere.
You can add key word tags to the document properties which are then searchable if someone is unsure where a document is saved. An example of this in Windows Explorer is shown in the figure below (to add the tags, in your document go to File > Info > Add tags and type in your tag words separated by semicolons or commas). Alternatively, you might want to produce a ‘living’ index document which your colleagues can search in and locate the correct folders.
Collect feedback from anyone who uses the library to understand how user friendly it is, and do not be afraid to make changes to improve the usability if you discover issues.
Above all, ensure you review and improve the content regularly; that way, you – and anyone else using the library – can be assured that they’ll be using the last, best content.