Growing up, I would help out in my dad’s office. One of my favorite tasks was updating his Rolodex. He’d arm me with a couple of glue sticks and give me all the business cards he’d collected since the last time I helped out. I’d sit and glue those cards to the funky shaped Rolodex cards. Then I’d alphabetize all of the cards. My dad eventually worked his way up to four full Rolodex containers before he switched to a computer-based alternative. Entering all those contacts by hand became my job as well — and I enjoyed it.
I admit, it’s a little weird for a kid to be so enthralled with Rolodexes and address books, but it’s a fascination that has done well for me. I have a massive contact list — about 11,000 people last time I checked — and it’s the best asset I have for my blog.
Why Your Address Book Matters to Your Blog
We’ve all heard that we need giant mailing lists, scores of Twitter followers and generally a huge network to promote our blogs to. Our address books (and the email, snail mail and face to face connections that they represent) are just as important, if not more so. In the last day, I’ve used my address book to:
- Find a guest poster for one of my sites that I can’t cover
- Find the perfect interviewee for an ebook I want to write
- Line up coverage for the next product launch I’ll be running
- And plenty more…
Building the Modern Rolodex
As much as it breaks my heart not to get to handle physical cards, my dad’s Rolodexes have gone the way of his slide rule. There are so many better options now, that do a lot more than an eight year old with a glue stick can. You should consider exactly how you use your address book for your blog when choosing the right software.
Make sure you can tag contacts: While not ever single contact in my list is tagged, most are. That means that if I need ten fashion experts to comment on a specific question for a list post, I can just check everyone who is labeled ‘fashion’ to build my list. I can do the same if I’m offering an opportunity to past advertisers or guest posts.
Integrate social media as much as possible: Twitter is just as legitimate a way to reach out to someone these days as email or phone — and it’s often faster. If your address book doesn’t at least offer you a space for adding social media accounts, you need something a little more modern.
Let the software do the heavy lifting: There are tons of tools these days that will automatically build out your address, importing your contacts form different sites and even automatically making new contacts whenever someone emails you. While maintaining my contact list by hand may be something I enjoy, I’m confident that’s rarely true of anyone else, so why not choose a tool that handles most of the work for you?
Image Source: SXC