I originally wrote this post for the Inland NW Christian Writers Conference blog 2 years ago. They are shutting down, and sent my posts back to me.
Blog conferences happen year round! Are you ready for your next one?
Conferences are a fantastic way to hone your skills. You may also schedule time for a critique, and learn something new in a workshop. One thing you are sure to do: Network. You want to make the most of those great contacts that you’ll meet.
You carefully pack, going back over the list of things to bring.
- Notebook: Check.
- Cell Phone Charger: Check.
- Extra pens: Check.
- Folder for Handouts: Check.
- Writing Samples for Critique: Check.
- Business Cards: …
Yes, business cards. These little keys to networking are often overlooked, but let me encourage you not to forget them. They serve a valuable purpose at conferences.
Business cards introduce you more fully than you can in a 10-second introduction. At a glance, people will know how to contact you and where your website is. They can get a grasp of a small bit of your personality, too. Your business cards should represent you in a professional and yet personal way.
1. Your name, clearly.
2. Website or blog URL. This is a good time to purchase your own domain name, because yoursite.com is much shorter (and more professional) to include on a card than yoursite.wordpress.com is.
3. Social media profiles. Now would be a good time to get short (and matching!) URLs for your social media profiles, too!
- If you’re on Twitter, then it would be your @Name. Twitter gives us the short one in the first place.
- On Google+ you can get a short URL from them, making it much easier to include. For example, my Google+ profile link looks like this: https://plus.google.com/u/1/106250781196036917170 but my shortened profile URL is +DawnPerkins.
- Facebook allows you to request a custom URL once your Page has 25 Likes. It would show as facebook.com/yourcustomname and you can refer others to your custom name on Facebook and they will be able to find your profile right away.
4. E-mail address. Email is still the most common way we communicate and collaborate.
5. Your telephone number, if you will be sharing these cards with agents or publishers. The other option is to leave space on the card, maybe on the back, to write your phone number if someone asks for it. You can always get a Google Voice number that redirects to your cell phone, so that you don’t have to give out your actual number.
6. QR code. This is becoming a popular option on business cards now. A QR code, when scanned by a smartphone or tablet, will take the person directly to a URL online. Some use it as a quick link to their website or blog, while others use it as an exclusive link to a free full download or a teaser chapter for an upcoming novel. Get your own QR code at QR Stuff. You can be creative with these! Go ahead, scan mine. 🙂
7. Branding. More than likely, your website reflects a bit of who you are, your style, and what you like. These things carry over to your business cards! Using the same color scheme, your special logo, or a certain font brings your brand to the forefront. When they do go check out your website, it will be consistent with what you have already shown them via your card.
8. Photograph. How many people will you meet at your next conference? Or how many critiques did that editor do? If he has your card and it includes a nice headshot of you, he will be more likely to remember you later on.
No matter how much information you include on your business cards, they will do you no good if you forget to bring them along. Bring them, introduce yourself and offer your card, and make some great connections! Who knows? One of those cards may go to someone who will become a friend or associate in the future.
What are your business card “must-haves”?