Ah, spring. The sun is shining, the grass is greener and yearbook sales are taking off like wildfire.
Yearbook advisers can’t be blamed for wanting to simply kick back and enjoy the results of all their hard work over the past school year.
If you’re in that category, though, you’ll be thanking yourself in the fall if you use this time to wrap up your current program while laying important groundwork for your next. The most successful advisers are proactive this time of year in evaluating strengths and weaknesses in their current curricula, planning key improvements and forming strong teams that can hit the ground running once autumn rolls back around.
As such, here are some important steps to consider this time of year.
- Make your final sales push. If you haven’t done so already, coordinate your last sales and distribution efforts for this year’s product. During school hours, points of purchase may include manned tables in hallways, cafeterias and gyms, or you might schedule signing events at which students are invited to inscribe yearbooks to each other. After hours, you could staff tables at extracurricular events. A final e-mail marketing campaign may also be in order.
- Solicit feedback. If it’s not too late, distribute readership surveys with this year’s yearbooks requesting comments and constructive suggestions. You may also ask graduating staffers for their candid opinions about your program and request they compile key notes about their roles for their successors. Track all that data and commentary, present it to your team and brainstorm together how it might inform next year’s program and product.
- Think recruitment. Grab your list of important leadership roles to be filled for next year (editor, lead designer, lead photographer, sales manager, etc.) and solicit commitments for fall. Ideally, your staff should include a mix: effective leaders continuing in their present roles, students promoted to bigger roles and new team members who may offer fresh perspectives. Seek leaders from other school programs and gather recommendations from students and faculty, but remember to look beyond obvious choices. Your best future staffers may fly under the radar.
- Conduct interviews. Lend credibility to your program by requiring potential staffers to interview first, perhaps with a panel manned by you, other faculty members and other yearbook team members.
- Start training. Once you’ve identified next year’s leaders, don’t hesitate to begin training in software programs, design techniques, etc.
- Pre-sell ads. You and your team can use this year’s yearbook as a selling tool to solicit new and repeat customers for next year.
- Plan your end-of-year staff banquet. Consider presenting a slide show or video that highlights the year’s key achievements and activities, ensuring you call out students who have made major contributions. Other banquet features may include awards, gag gifts and the introduction of next year’s program leaders.
- Weed out and organize. Store or digitally file all your information and materials for this year’s yearbook. Delete, throw away or recycle anything you no longer need.
- Order supplies for next year. You may be able to secure early bird discounts for ordering early.
- Check out yearbook workshops or camps. You and/or your editors may wish to attend these national or regional events, some of which are excellent for gathering new ideas and meeting others interested in better yearbook production.
- Write thank-you notes. Take time to acknowledge administrators, teachers, advertisers, parents, students and others who helped with this year’s yearbook production (and may be encouraged to do so again).
Proactively planning next fall’s yearbook production can only be positive when it comes to maintaining quality and staying organized. Instead of resting on your laurels this spring, consider taking these steps toward an even better yearbook over the next school year.
Find many other great tips for making your yearbook production easier and more effective at Lifetouch.com.