Freelance writers: how to hand out business cards

Your business cards are some of the most effective advertising tools you can have, and they fit right in your pocket.  I give a couple business cards to every single person I meet (and if I meet them twice, they're getting another one).

Business cards say in three inches what it would take you two minutes to explain - and they keep talking long after you've walked away.  Who throws away business cards?  Nobody...  That's why they work so well.

When you're choosing business cards to distribute, you've got to think about your business card design.  Are you going to use a business card template, or will you buy them from a printer?  You can print them yourself, but the paper (and ink) starts to get expensive.

If you're just starting out as a freelance writer, chances are you don't want to spend big bucks on business cards - try VistaPrint.com, because they've got 250 free business cards with free shipping.  They're decent business cards, too - I got my first batch from them and have continued ordering since.  (They also have car magnets - and my husband was nice enough to put one on his truck for me.)


Back to business cards. 

Your business card design should be a personal reflection of you.  Find a graphic, a logo or a special font that makes it stand out.  Make sure you love it, because it's going to be your brand symbol.  My business cards are tall instead of wide - I don't know if that was a wise choice (I don't know if it even matters) but I absolutely love them.

You might want to find a slogan - something that tickles your funny bone, sounds wise or otherwise intrigues the recipient - to include on your business cards.

My web address is on the back of my cards - because for some reason, every time you hand someone a business card they flip it over and look at the back.  Why?!  There usually isn't anything on the back of business cards, but I flip 'em over too... and I have no idea why.  I figured that must be the best place to put the web address, then.

I'm still puzzled about why everyone flips them over.

This is my business card 1.0 - before I had a company e-mail address.  (It's only a dollar a month, but I was reluctant... I'm so cheap I won't even spend the money I earn in Guitar Hero on new outfits for the band.  Seriously.)

Once you get your business cards, give them to everyone you meet.  Standing in line at the grocery store behind a guy in a suit and in front of a woman carrying a baby now counts as meeting - so you might as well say hello. 

You absolutely never know who's looking for a writer, whether they want to simplify their own life or grow their business... sometimes the people you think are most unlikely to need a writer are the people who need you most.  Maybe that guy in the suit needs a new resume or runs a huge department in his company which needs a newsletter; that lady with the baby might operate an online sales business and need e-mail copy or web content.

You never know.

I've heard that you should hand out ten business cards a day, that you should hand out fifty, and that you should hand out as many as is humanly possible.  I don't know what the magic number is, but one is better than none.  If you don't meet a hundred people a day, that's okay - do what you can.

When you go out to eat, leave a couple of business cards with the server's tip.  (ONLY if you've left her a good tip, though, for obvious reasons.)

Washing your hands in a public place?  Leave a business card or two in the washroom, right on top of the hand dryer.

Picking up fast food inside instead of at the drive-through?  Nonchalantly leave a few on the counter.  If you're not getting the food to go, leave some behind on the table.

You can leave a trail of business cards in your wake - and you should, if you're truly interested in getting people to call you.  It can't hurt, and in my case it's helped quite a bit.

Every time you complete a project for an existing client, you should send a personal thank you note by mail; of course, it should contain a couple business cards.  That way, the client has something tangible to give her friends when she's recommending your services... and something to remember you by next time she needs a freelance writer.

Got any business card secrets?  Where do you leave your business cards?  Do you print them yourself, or did you order them online?  Please share your thoughts, leave a comment and link to your own blog or website below.



1 comments:

Ive tried designing a few cards before, always tall for some reason. I think everyone is used to wide so tall could be a plus, something different!
So Vista print is definitely good stuff then? I get adverts from them often through InboxDollars, they always have some sort of a deal going on...but like you said too stingy! And I totally know what you mean about not wanting to spend your hard earned GAME money!! I for instance, like hoarding Neopets money :( it's sad!

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