Set Better Priorities: How to Keep Your Yearbook Committee On Track

Part of your job as the publication coordinator is to keep your yearbook committee on track. Between designing special features,  generating regular content, marketing, and every other little element that crops up, that can be a lot of work! And the larger your team is, the harder it can be to keep everyone on the same page. The more opinions you have to consider, the easier it is for your top priorities to get skewed and deadlines to get missed. To avoid this kind of problem, you need a strong yearbook creation process right from the beginning. And today, I’ll walk you through how you can easily develop project priorities that keep your whole yearbook committee on track!

Lay Out Your Sections

Before you can set your yearbook committee priorities, you need to determine what kind of content you’ll actually include on the pages of your book. You can’t assign it if you don’t know what it is! Brainstorm with your team and use storyboards to lay out a basic draft of your final publication. This layout doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should give you an overarching idea of what you’ll include. This is what will help you figure out the flow of your project from beginning to end.

10,000 Foot View

Next, look at the big picture, and start prioritizing how you’ll get all of the content created and pulled together for the pages of your book. This is a “10,000 foot view” of your publication as a whole. Your basic process should follow these steps:

  • Map out a timeline for content creation throughout the school year, based on school activities and event calendars
  • Delegate features to individuals or groups on your team
  • Every team creates content and takes photos for all features
  • Lay out content in yearbook design in your designated order
  • Edit content for professionalism, theme, veracity, and completeness
  • Finalize yearbook

This 10,000 foot view may seem overly simplistic–and that’s the point. While grossly oversimplifying the process, this perspective gives your team somewhere to start, and a big-picture outline to follow. Once you’ve established this basic outline, you can start divvying up each step in the process to get the content for your publication set in motion.

Get Strategic

After you establish the overall vision for your process, you need to work with your team to strategically plan and execute these goals. This will help you finesse the final details of how your process will work, and help you prioritize what needs to be done first. Since you’re working with your committee to do this together, this will also create more buy-in from your team, around which step is most important to accomplish right now. When people have compelling goals and clear deadlines, your whole process will progress more smoothly.

As you start thinking through your process strategically, talk through each step in depth. Develop mini-projects that you can delegate to different members of your team to accomplish your top-level goals. For example, you might assign a grade of classroom pages to each individual on your yearbook committee, or ask a team of two people to tackle the lunch and recess feature in the middle of your book. Also, establish strict deadlines for each mini-project. This will help you cross things off of your priority list in a more efficient manner, while also keeping your project on schedule.

Keep the Yearbook Committee–and Your Project–On Track

While you want to keep everyone on your yearbook committee involved in the process, remember that getting things done on time requires you to stick to the process you initially laid out. Priorities are going to shift throughout your project, especially once you start knocking some of the little projects off of your list. When you set strong priorities from the beginning of your process, you have the ability to develop an amazing publication without a lot of wasted time. And I know that’s something that every yearbook coordinator can make a priority!