Going to NGS 2013? Are you preparing for the conference? All participants should prepare for going to a conference, not just the speakers, organizers and exhibitors.
One of the things you should do now in preparation is to print business cards.
I know, I know, you’re not in the business of genealogy, so why should you have business cards? Think of these as finding-cousins-and-fellow-researcher cards or networking-to-learn-more cards or even, here’s-my-surnames-I’m-researching cards.
Have you ever run into someone at a conference that you wanted to keep in touch with? Or maybe you were making copies at the Family History Library and you ran into someone doing the exact same research. Networking is important to your genealogy because it opens up new leads, information about websites, new cousins, etc. It’s through genealogical networking that we are able to become better genealogists.
One easy, fast way to let others know who you are researching and provide your contact information is by putting together business cards. Business cards are not just for business people, they are an inexpensive way to help people remember who you are and how to get in touch with you.
Once you have business cards, then you will want to carry them with you to give out to family members, other researchers, at research repositories, FamilySearch Centers, conferences, and seminars. Basically anywhere were you might find people interested in the places or surnames that you are researching.
Putting it Together
The type of information that you choose to put on your card may differ depending on your research. I would suggest thinking about using both sides of the card-and if a business card is too small-consider using a postcard. Some ideas for your business card info include:
- Name, address, phone number
- Email address
- Your websites or blogs
- Social Networking sites you belong to like Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest
- Family history books you have authored
- URL’s for photos you have uploaded to sites like Flicker
- Genealogy/historical societies you belong too
- Counties you research
- Surnames you are researching
- Any other research interests (Salem Witch Trials, Quaker Research, Civil War Ancestors, etc.)
Now that you know what you want on your card, you may need to find someone to design and or print it. Several options exist here and depending on your needs and financial considerations you can choose what’s right for you. You can save money by using a template in a program like Microsoft Office and then print the cards using an Avery business card template paper on your printer. If you do not own those programs, check out Google Drive for templates. This is a free program to use, you just need to set up a Google sign in and password.
If you are not interested in creating and printing your own business cards, other options exist, both in brick and mortar stores as well as online. Most office supply stores and copy centers can print out business cards. Several online vendors can provide you with business cards, postcards and other printed items. Vista Print is an inexpensive option that you may want to consider.
What do I use? I use Moo for my business cards. I like the way they look and the options they provide. Use one side of your card for information and the other to showcase an image of an ancestor, a photo of your ancestral homeland or other images you love and that conveys your ancestry. Best part is they allow you to upload a different image for each business card in your order. That’s enough to share lots of ancestral photos.
Now what do you do when you get home and you have a ton of business cards? Well that’s up to you but one of my suggestions is to follow-up. Send an email, ask a question, or follow those contacts through social media websites. Looking for a way to store all of those business cards? Here’s a product that was recently reviewed by Shannon Combs Bennett on the In-Depth Genealogist.
Start now and get your business cards ready. I’ll see you at NGS and I look forward to exchanging cards with you.