Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Friday, February 03, 2006

Questions to ask yourself about your business card

I'm one of those people who collect business cards. Maybe it's something that just happened to develop after I wrote an article about creative business cards (http://www.writergazette.com/articles/article465.shtml) or maybe I get a little nervous about needing THAT particular company's contact info on hand when I least expect it. Whatever the reason, every business and office I visit doesn't see me leaving without their card in tow and I'm often chastised over stray business cards showing up around the apartment.

Still, it's something I don't think I'll be stopping anytime soon. It’s not just a little quirk of mine; it's also a great way to research the many different ways of creating your own business card.

But despite this passion, I must admit one thing: I don't have my own business card. Sure, I tried to get one before, using a popular "get 200 free cards" service, but they didn't send me the card I created; just advertising samples of the different types of cards. That was a big turn-off. Next I tried creating the business cards myself but, like my attempts to create promotional bookmarks, it just looked too unprofessional to even tolerate.

Now after reading Linda Hollander's great article "7 Pet Peeves About Business Cards," I'm starting to revisit the idea of creating my own. After all, I have a small, hardly-heard-of self-publishing venture going on, which I'm hoping to expand into something bigger in the near future. Why not have a business card for that? Oh, but I write deaf articles, too. Shouldn’t that info go onto my card?

This dilemma has made me realize that, just like every word a writer uses, a business card must serve a purpose. You don't see a contractor listing that he is also a "Little League Coach" on his business card, do you? Of course not. So I'm thinking I should take ONE area of what I do and make a business card for that. Or maybe two areas: The author card and self-publishing card.

This gave me the idea of questions to ask when it comes to creating your own business card:

1. Do I NEED a business card?

Not all people need them. If writing is just your hobby or if your writing job involves inside work, then you don't really need a business card. A business card may be a promotional tool for you, yes, but it's also a promotional tool for your writing. If you work at an ad agency or if you're doing top secret work, for example, you don't need to create a business card (unless it’s a card for the company you work for!).

An author can create an “author card” to promote books or highlight a recently-awarded title, complete with all contact information on the back. A freelance writer sure needs a business card; that next assignment could be right around the corner. And a business writer will definitely want to have one.

2. What do I want the business card to say about me?

Do you want your card to make you stand out as a freelance writer? Do you want to show your skill with words by using crisp, active writing on your card? Do you want your card to show you've got everything together by including your Web site URL, business or mailing address, license number, Email contact and cell phone number? You want to keep a close eye on EXACTLY what your business card is saying. If it's sloppy or careless, that reflects badly on you. It says YOU are sloppy or careless. The same goes if it's something like yellow font on a green background; that's like saying "I don't really care how my card looks, just throw the thing together and be done with it." Think about what you put on your card and HOW you put it on there.

3. What sort of information will I feel comfortable giving out on my card?

A lot of people don't feel good about giving out their cell phone number on their card. And a lot of people with home-based businesses don't feel comfortable giving out their residential address. Nothing wrong with that but you DO need a mailing address to put on your card. Get a P.O. Box if you don't have a business address and try securing a toll free 800 number to be redirected to your home phone number or home office phone. Another option is to list your pager number instead.

After deciding on all of this, the next step is to figure out where to get your business cards made. Most office stores like Kinko's offer services for you to create your own business cards and online vendors like MagicPrints
http://www.magicprints.com/index can help you out, as well. Certain graphic designers and artists will also offer to create a business card for a fee.

Some I found:

Grant George Design:

Will-Harris House:

Mark Art Productions:

Once you decide on a business card and get your first batch in hand, take advantage of this extra promotional tool and use them. Send them in the mail when you pay your bills, keep a bunch with you to hand out at seminars and conventions, slip a couple into books you sell or give away, keep a card on your dashboard for any passersby to see and tack one on public bulletin boards or message boards.

And now that I've helped you figure out this business card thing, it's time for me to help myself and start creating my own.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home