Clara Wallace is the yearbook advisor at Lisa J Mails Elementary School.
Are you starting the school year as the yearbook advisor? Whether it’s your first time or you are an experienced chief editor, it’s a good time to get yearbook ideas for 2014 and best practices that will help you have an organized year.
I’ll be providing tips and advice throughout the school year to help you create a great yearbook for your school.
Marketing your yearbook.
I think the best place to start, and start early, is with ideas for selling yearbooks. Ultimately, we want to get our students and parents engaged with the yearbook, so more of them purchase a copy. Since that is what I am focused on this month, I’ll share my yearbook marketing ideas for 2014.
Begin your marketing at the start of the year.
You have a big goal of producing a wonderful yearbook full of great pictures and memories, but as editor you should also be focusing on selling that yearbook. Many schools have an orientation day prior to the first day of school. At our school, this day is usually the week before school starts – parents learn the name of their kid’s teacher, they get information about the PTA and fill out forms for the school. This orientation day is a perfect time to set up a table and hand out sales flyers for the yearbook, or at the very least, have a poster or a signboard up with the information.
How to set up for orientation day.
1) Set up a table.
Get permission and info from the principal or your point of contact at the school to set up a table at orientation day. When parents stop by, you’ll have an opportunity to explain to them why the school yearbook is something they’ll want to purchase for their student.
2) Produce a sales flyer.
Make sure your yearbook company will provide a predesigned flyer for you. If you are like me and want to have something more personalized, design it yourself using a desktop publishing program or Photoshop. To save money, think about doing a half page flyer or even a quarter page flyer. There will be opportunities once the school year starts to do a full page flyer – for now, you just want people to know there is an awesome yearbook in the works that they will want to purchase.
3) Ask your yearbook team to attend.
By having a few yearbook people there to hand out flyers and talk about the yearbook will show parents that the yearbook is something that they should consider purchasing. The team can answer questions and even more importantly, gather feedback and input from your community. By allowing parents to interact, they’ll be more engaged with your yearbook.
4) Have copies of your last yearbook on hand.
Parents want to get a sense of what the final product will look like, so show them last year’s book. If you plan to make changes or improvements, be sure to tell them and explain the benefits.
5) Make your presentation festive.
Put a colorful tablecloth on your table or cover it with a piece of colorful bulletin board paper (ask the principal if you can use the school’s supply). Signage is important so make sure you have a big bold sign that says ‘Yearbooks!’ Have a stack of flyers (1/4, ½ or full page all work) to hand out. You can have your staff dress in specific colors to draw attention to yourselves. Above all, make sure you put on your friendly faces and smile!
6) Offer the ability to purchase at the orientation.
How you do this will depend on your school. If you can take cash and checks, be prepared by having a cash box, a receipt book and pens. We use TreeRing Yearbooks at our school and encourage everyone to order online. At our orientation, we’ll have flyers with the information that parents need to order online.
What if my school doesn’t have an orientation day?
If that’s the case, as soon as you can, get together with the PTA or principal and ask to see the school calendar. Back to School Night, Open House, and other events which parents are encouraged to attend, are good opportunities to set up a table or put out information about the yearbook.
The more you can get the yearbook in front of parents, the better.
Offer discounts for purchasing early.
Many people are motivated to buy if there is an ‘early bird’ discount. Consider offering a 10% discount to parents who are willing to purchase early in the school year. If you can get parents and students to engage early, you’ll be able to focus on your yearbook creation instead of your yearbook marketing for the rest of the year.
Get help from the receptionist.
Another way to make sure information is readily available is to get to know the school receptionist. Ask this person to keep extra copies of the yearbook flyer available at the front desk . We always made sure to keep the receptionist in the loop as far as deadlines went so that she would be able to answer questions when parents called.
Promoting your yearbook is an on-going job. You will find that putting the message out there as soon as possible will get you on the path for success.
We’ll be talking more in detail about unique ways to promote your yearbook, creating an effective flyer and working with your team.