How to Drive Business in Federal Contracting by Reaching Contracting Officers

Alicia Willard

Audience Research Analysis: An in-depth look from Alicia Willard and Diana Rahmani on what contracting officers pay attention to and ignore, what they find helpful, and what turns them away when it comes to considering you as a contractor

If you are a federal contractor, you are probably painfully aware of how difficult it can be to grab the attention of decision makers such as contracting officers (COs) within the federal government. Not only do COs have to make dozens of internal and external stakeholders happy on a day-to-day basis, but they must do so while following strict government regulations without error to ensure the contractor hiring process is 100% fair.
In short, the person you are trying to reach to get your foot in the federal contracting door is very busy, overworked, undervalued, and underappreciated. This situation only makes an already difficult problem to solve more challenging.
Signal conducted an analysis of COs’ underlying motivations around, impressions of, and expectations toward federal contractor communications, both traditionally and digitally, to understand how best to reach and connect with COs. With these insights federal contractors can optimize interactions with COs and enhance their satisfaction, creating a gateway for federal contractors to meet COs where they are, drive relevancy, and establish deeper connections.
Download the full report here.
At the end of the day, COs must maintain internal stakeholder satisfaction by finding a contractor and product that the federal government wants, but they must also provide those stakeholders with what they need: a good product that meets regulations and requirements.
Due to the stressful situations COs are put in, they often use simple search terms to find potential contractors, rarely looking beyond the first handful of hits on Google. They, of course, check the GSA Schedule, but ultimately rely on “the usuals” if there aren’t any quick and easy additions.
It’s within this small window of opportunity, before COs fall back on already established contractors, that every little bit of visibility and messaging efficiency counts. Understanding when, where, and how to reach COs by taking advantage of this window, Signal can help federal contractors reach COs through:

  • A Qualifications Checklist: A DIY toolkit that walks contractors through the steps and qualifications required to be considered by the federal government, including registration needs, clearance/certification recommendations, content strategy ideas, etc.
  • SEO Infrastructure: Custom program and implementation to build a SEO infrastructure that will place any contractor at the top of search results, focusing on common search trends among COs and other federal employees.
  • Custom Content Strategy: A tailored content strategy that aligns with the yearly government procurement timetable and includes development of content featuring information and narrative that COs and other federal employees need.

If you’re a federal contractor that wants to drive business, reaching COs is vital and making it easy for them to find, understand, and contact you is imperative.
Download the full report here.
Do’s for Reaching COs

  • Make contact information easy to find
  • Showcase ability to perform a specialty
  • Highlight past performance, especially with other federal partners
  • Be visible, digitally (SEO), and at conferences, associations, etc.
  • Feature affordability and price accordingly
  • Always highlight small business connections
  • Share content that matches the procurement cycle
  • Promote simple, to-the-point videos
  • Share white papers that are not too technical

Don’ts for Reaching COs

  • Use jargon – anything too technical turns a contracting officer away
  • Be vague – lack of specific examples is a red flag
  • Forget to use federal language and knowledge
  • Make it difficult to find specialty
  • Forget to showcase industry certifications and qualifications that stand out in sector

To learn more about how Signal can help you reach and connect with CO’s to ultimately drive business, contact our experts at

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