We discuss two approaches to searches for gravitational-wave (GW) and electromagnetic (EM) counterparts of binary neutron-star mergers. The first approach relies on triggering archival searches of GW detector data based on detections of EM transients. Quantitative estimates of the improvement to GW detector reach due to the increased confidence in the presence and parameters of a signal from a binary merger gained from the EM transient suggest utilizing other transients in addition to short gamma-ray bursts. The second approach involves following up GW candidates with targeted EM observations. We argue for the use of slower but optimal parameter-estimation techniques and for a more sophisticated use of astrophysical prior information, including galaxy catalogues to find preferred follow-up locations.