Personal Branding and Business Cards

This is a re-post of a lesson from Integrated Marketing Communications at St. Catherine University. It was originally posted in the private class blog.

As much as we live in an online world, paper still has a place.

Everywhere I go, I bring a couple of business cards. To the conference I presented at recently, I brought a 2 inch thick stack — just in case. I came back with half, but that means I gave away that many, too.

Order some business cards. Vistaprint.com regularly discounts business cards. Click here for details.

Step 1:  Choose a design.

Here are some snapshots of professional, unprofessional, and borderline-professional designs. As a rule, consider anything “cutesy”to be unprofessional. The “borderline designs” are industry specific. It’s not that they are unprofessional, it’s that if they don’t apply specifically to your desired employment, they are no longer professional.

Step 2:  Select the information you should include

Required:  Name, phone number (mobile vs. on campus), email, LinkedIn address

To find your LinkedIn public address, go to your account, view your profile and scroll down, you will see the address at the bottom, like mine: 

Optional: Your blog address — only if you plan to write regularly on a professional basis about your field

Very optional:  Your Twitter handle. Again, only if you want employers to find you here and you plan to write professionally, all the time…

Step 3:  The Front:  Fill in the blanks

Once you have selected a design, you will go to page like this: 

Under the design is a blue oval with the words:  “Remove Sample Text”

Click it.

Then start filling in your information in various blanks.

Put text where you want it to appear on the card. I.E. I put my phone number in the address line because that’s where I wanted it positioned on the business card.

Once you are satisfied with the placement of your information, proof it.

Double check it to make sure you did not put the wrong phone number (651 when it should have been 612 for instance) or email address, etc.

Then click on “Back side” under your design.

Step 4a:  The Back:  You can spend money here

In this example, I selected “Full-color printing from $12.99” and added some text.

In the next example, I selected “Gray Scale Printing $6.99” and  then chose “Using Your Photos and Logos” at the bottom of the list.

I selected the design option on the right with text above and below the image.

In the meantime, I had to decide what to put in that “photo/logo” space.

This card is about ME, not my company, not my hairstyle (so no photo). Its purpose is get my contact information in the hands of potential clients (for me) or employers (if I were you).

Step 4b:  The Back:  Make it work for you

Use a QR code — you know those funny little square pictures you see everywhere in print (t-shirts, posters, soap bottles, direct mail, catalogs etc.) — that you scan with your smart phone and then are directed to a website or…

If you have a smart phone with a QR reader app, scan this code.

Where will it take you? Nowhere, but it will upload St. Catherine University’s general phone number into your smart phone. Instead of making people type in your contact information into their smart phone, include it in a QR code on the back.

Step 4c:  Make your QR code

So how did I make this? It’s really, really easy. Go to Delivr

Choose your code type, in this case “Contact Information” and then fill in the blanks.

Click the button “Generate QR Code” and save the .png file to your computer.

Step 4d:  Upload your QR code to Vistaprint

Back on Vistaprint website, click on the square on your back design and choose edit. Then “browse” your computer for your QR code .png file and upload that.

You’ll notice in the image to the left, that I changed the text on my card back, as well.

Just like on the front, you type text — if you want — that will appear on your business card. Maybe you’ll choose something like “Marketing Professional Grounded in Ethics” since we are big on that at St. Kate’s or simply “Marketing Professional.”

While you’re at it, double click on the text areas on the card and then you can highlight that text and choose from a list of fonts and styles.

Step 5: Finalize your design

Proof once again!

Then, click the “online proof approval” button and then the “next” button.

Step 6: Shipping and the “Next” button

Shipping with Vistaprint is expensive.

When they say “slow” takes 21 days, it does, so if you plan on ordering business cards for the Career Fair, you’ll have to order them with slightly faster shipping.

Then, “click Next” a lot. Vistaprint will try to up sell you many, many wonderful items. It may take you 6 clicks to get to the final check out page!

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