Let’s trade cards!
When I lunched with the Austin bloggers last September, someone (it might have been me) started passing around a business card with their blog info, and before you know it, people all around the table were digging out and passing around their cards–except one. A wail of “I forgot to bring mine! I didn’t know we’d be trading cards!” was sympathetically acknowledged as we each gave her one of ours.
Don’t let it happen to you! If you’ve never thought about getting some cards to promote your blog, please consider it. Here’s three different options:
The cheap way
You may have gotten a flyer in a shipment from Amazon advertising “free” business cards from VistaPrint. “Free” actually means seven bucks for shipping–as long as you are content with one of their standard designs. They have a lot of designs to choose from, and some are even garden related, so these cards are definitely good enough. The only gotcha is they say to allow four weeks for the el cheapo shipping, which means you actually don’t have much time left. Of course, VistaPrint hopes you will want to upload your own design, print on the back, or spring for speedier shipping. All of those cost extra, in which case you might want to think about other inexpensive solutions.
You may already have software that can print business cards, so it might be an evening’s work to print your own. Factor in the cost of the special business card forms for your printer (available in office supply stores and discount department stores like Target) and the printer’s ink, to see if it’s actually less expensive than the other options mentioned here.
The cool way
Heh. Do I sound prejudiced? Actually, I have gotten cards from VistaPrint before, and I’ve been happy with them. I’ve also printed my own using PrintShop, and for the amount of time it takes, coupled with the cost of inkjet business cards, I decided I’m going to upload my own design to VistaPrint once I use up the blank inkjet business cards I bought. It’s too time consuming to print them out at home in quantity, and costs just as much–maybe more.
But the card that M Sinclair Stevens of Zanthan Gardens gave to me last September really stood out. It was half the height of a regular business card and a little shorter in length. The texture was different, too. I thought it was plastic, but it turns out it’s laminated paper “sourced from sustainable forests.” Each card (and she had several different designs) had a photo from her garden on one side and basic info about her blog on the other. Way cool garden blog trading cards!
Turns out these are Moo Mini Cards. They come in packs of 100. Each card can have a different photo, but they all have to say the same thing on the back. You can use photos that you’ve already uploaded to Flickr or a number of other social networking sites, or you can format and upload images from the hard drive on your computer. They come in a nice plastic case, so they won’t get crushed in your pocket or purse. What’s the catch? For those of us in the U.S., they cost $27 including the shipping. Ouch!
Sigh . . . I still think they’re cool, even though I haven’t convinced myself to fork over that much hard earned money for them. Apparently, I’m not the only one who likes them. There’s a group on Flickr devoted to them, and at least one person who makes cases for them. (Moo also sells cases for them.) I suggest you browse through the images on that Flickr group, some of the ways people have used them in their crafts (or to advertise their crafts) are quite ingenious. In fact, if you are involved in any visually oriented business–artist, graphic designer, actor, photographer, garden designer–you might want to consider these for your business cards. They’re that eye-catching.
- If you have a free Flickr account, you can get a free trial pack of 10 Moo Mini Cards when you upgrade to a Pro account. New accounts only, no renewals.
- If you upload from Flickr, make sure all your titles say something descriptive. I think there is a field on the template that allows you to have the title of your Flickr photo imprinted on the back, so each back can say something different. M Sinclair Stevens had the name of the flower on the back of each card, even though each card had a different flower.
The almost too late way
If you forgot or were too busy, and missed the deadlines for VistaPrint and Moo, you can probably still get them locally. If there is a Staples store near you, check out their buy 100/get 100 free offer. Any printer in your area can print business cards. (Used to be, that was the only way to get them printed!) They may just offer the best balance of aesthetics and price, without having a long wait.
Looking forward to exchanging cards with you
Last I heard, there were 38 garden bloggers prepared to meet up in Austin this April. I hope to collect a card from each and every one. What great souvenirs!