An essential for freelance writers – the business card

Business cards are just one essential tool freelance writers should have in their marketing toolboxes.

Business cards can be a way to start branding yourself. The colors, fonts, and designs are just a few ways to start discovering yourself as a business.

Think of how you’d react to these examples – plain white cards, no images, standard horizontal placement:

Business Card A is entirely in blue script (cursive) font.

Business Card B is entirely black Arial font.

Without know anything about either cardowner – you already have an impression about each one, right? So when you design your card, play around and find what feels right for you.

As for what to include on your card, here are a few recommendations:

  • Your name
  • Your business name (if you have one for your freelance writing business) or a tagline that says “freelance writer”
  • A business telephone number (I use a Google Voice number so I don’t have to share my personal phone number)
  • A PO box address (instead of a home address) if a mailing address is required for your business
  • Your e-mail address

[You never know where your business card may end up, so keeping your home address and personal phone number private are ways to stay safe.]

I use Vistaprint (and am in no way compensated by anyone for saying that). Over the years, I’ve found them to be the most reliable, reasonably priced, and of consistent good quality. It also doesn’t hurt that even when I ask for ‘standard shipping’ (up to 2 weeks), I always receive my order much sooner.

Where do you hand out your business cards?

  • In-person networking events for business owners, chambers of commerce, industry-specific organizations, and so on
  • Bulletin boards in places where your target market visits
  • Speaking engagements
  • Conferences
  • Basically, wherever you meet people you want to work with or who may be able to connect you with someone you could work with

And, remember, just because you hand someone your business card, doesn’t mean you’re done marketing. People need to get to know you a bit before hiring you. So make sure to develop (and follow) a process for following up with people you meet – that is, if you truly want to build a career as a freelance writer.

What do you think about using business cards as a freelance writer?

Lisa J Jackson writerLisa J. Jackson is a New England-region journalist and a year-round chocolate and iced coffee lover. She has several business cards to suit different needs. She writes fiction as Lisa Haselton, has an award-winning blog for book reviews and author interviews, and is on the staff of The Writer’s Chatroom. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter

31 thoughts on “An essential for freelance writers – the business card

  1. Hey, Just like this post I’d like to get an advice on what pages and categories a writer can have on his/her website?? HOME-ABOUT-BLOG-CONTACT seems cliches’ , anything you’d suggest that is a- must-or-should be -there page?

  2. I have been thinking about this for a couple of days now, i dont have a business card as of yet… but i do go into the pen testing section of my local news agent and ‘test’ the pens by writing my website on all the test papers over and over again. So far so good ;D But I wish i could advertise my site alot more. hmm

    • That’s a creative way to get your website known in the real world (versus using social media). Depending on your budget, you could use a document software and simply put the business card information in block form (about the size of a business card), and maybe make 16 or more blocks on one page, print it out, cut out the blocks and have your business info handy to place on corkboards or hand to customers.

  3. Great advice, especially the note about protecting your personal information as much as possible. I work in Consumer Affairs conducting educational workshops on various consumer issues. I am going to update my Identity Theft presentation to include a conversation about business cards and internet presence and how to protect your personal identity while promoting yourself. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Welll that was spooky my fellow writing group members were just talking about this very subject yesterday at an event. I have posted to our facebook wall & tweeted too. Thank you for the insight.

  5. Enjoyed the article. Gave me lots of ideas. I have been bouncing around the idea of a business card for sometime. I have a drawing that I have copyrighted. It goes with a true story I have written. What do you do think about including that on a business card? Of course, I would also have Freelance Writer listed.

    • Using your own copyrighted image sounds wonderful – it’s definitely a great way to build your brand and set you apart from other writers. 🙂 People will relate the image to you and it’s a way to be more memorable.

    • Physical business cards seem ‘old school’ with technology like smartphones that are able to store all the contact information for you, but they can still be effective in many environments

  6. Certain professions need business cards for establishing credentials and affiliations. Writers in marketing and business need them, but what about those who write fiction?
    I had a friend print a color post card a couple years ago w/ the covers of mysteries I epublished; one full cover on the front and two reduced photos on the back w/ email, Web site, and ebook retailers.
    I had him print another for a mystery I published recently, again, full color cover on one side and reduced photo and contact info on back.
    I’ve handed them at writing events and even give out to people I meet.

    I worked in the financial profession for years and had the standard business card. But now that I’ve retired and writing and epublishing fiction, I find the color postcard are more visual. People stuff them in their pocket and when they get home, would be prone to keep them instead of ‘file’ and forget.

    You can see the color postcards I’ve used on my Web site:

    http://www.jackerickson.com

    Anybody else use color postcards for promotion / networking?

    • I’ve seen postcards and bookmarks used by authors, and I’ve collected some myself. I’ve used them as reminders about authors and books to check out – so I think they are great promotion tools.

  7. As a publisher, I keep most of the business cards I’m given. I don’t keep the other things people write their names and contacts on (napkins, backs of envelopes, pages torn from notebooks). Also, how you hand the card over is important – don’t thrust it, don’t be offhand (‘here’s may card’): instead work out some courteous, dignified, ways of presenting your card.

    • Good point about the handoff, Anthony. I like it best when there’s a conversation and I can say “here, let me give you my card”, or I ask, “May I give you my card?” (I write the date and place we met on the back before handing it over).

      Just handing out cards without any type of conversation is very awkward and I’m amazed at how many people do that at networking events. Some even fan out several cards, walk to a group and say “here, take one.”

  8. Pingback: Getting the most out of a writer’s conference « Live to Write – Write to Live

  9. As for what to include on your card, here are a few recommendations:

    Have the cards be simple and inexpensive
    ……………………..have the cards be simple……..!!!!!!……..tsk!..tsk!……. not good English.

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