What to include in a publication RFP
Good RFPs lead to good proposals and strong working relationships.
Creating a quality magazine can help you stand out in your community and lead consumers to choose your organization for their healthcare. But where do you start? Depending on the size of your project, you may be required to submit a request for proposal (RFP). An RFP invites relevant vendors to submit a proposal to help you with your publication project.
Good RFPs lead to good proposals, and good proposals lead to strong working relationships. With a strong partnership, you get good outcomes. So be sure to put some thought into the details you’ll need to include in your RFP. These details will help you get accurate responses from vendors, so a little planning goes a long way.
Organizing your thoughts
Begin with some careful planning. Make sure you know these things:
- What is the goal of your publication?
- What does success look like?
- Will you use any internal resources for any part of the project?
- What are the expectations of your stakeholders that need to be considered?
- Who is your audience and how will you identify or target them?
- How will you distribute your publication?
Formatting your RFP
A thorough RFP will not only help you find the right vendor, it will also identify those who are out of your budget, cannot accommodate your project size or are unable to provide what you require. The more details you can get up front, the better you’ll be able to determine the right fit.
The structure of your publications RFP should include these critical components:
- Project overview: Define your goals and the intent of your publication. Identify how often you plan to print, how you will distribute your publication and whether you have internal resources to help with a portion of the project.
- Company background: Describe your organization and your role. Communicating company values and culture will help ensure that you find a vendor that’s a good fit for your goals and processes.
- Goals of your project: State the project goals clearly and note the specific challenges you are trying to solve with your publication. Don’t forget to describe what success looks like.
- Estimated budget: By providing a budget, you can quickly find out if a vendor is out of your price range. Be sure to note if there’s any room for negotiation. When you identify your “must haves” and itemize other optional items as add-ons, a vendor can suggest specific solutions within your budget.
- Project scope: Here’s where you want to provide the most detail about your project. What are you looking to achieve? What does your ideal publication look like? Who is your audience and how do you plan to target them? A well-defined scope will ensure more accurate budget quotes.
- Timeline and important deadlines: Create a realistic timeline for deliverables, as well as for receiving and evaluating proposals. Include proposal deadline, evaluation timing, a selection date, a date to notify vendors that were not selected and a completion date for the entire project.
- Possible roadblocks: Make vendors aware of any potential obstacles they may encounter during the project implementation. These can be anything from lack of resources to multiple stakeholders with different goals. Being up front with this information can help eliminate bidders who are not up to the challenge.
- Publication examples: Including a few publication you like can be helpful in identifying a look or type of content that you envision. Do you plan to use a combination of illustrations and photos? Do you want the photos to reflect your community or your staff? What calls to action will you use in your magazine?
- Submission instructions: This outlines the criteria you will use to evaluate proposals. Does the proposal need to be submitted in a particular format, such as Microsoft Word or PDF? Does it require hand delivery, or can it be submitted via email?
Some additional items you might ask the website vendor to include in the proposal are:
- Examples of similarly complex projects to assess capability.
- Client references to assess credibility.
- A project timeline with major tasks and milestones to assess their processes.
Above all, provide clear expectations and transparency whenever possible to make sure you get the information needed to evaluate vendor fitness for your project.