I hear this complaint a lot from schools. Now, if your school is fine with this and happy to print a book just for the Seniors, then this post is not for you.
Most schools want to sell more yearbooks, but just can’t seem to get the rest of the school interested. If this is the case in your school, the first thing you need to ask is, “Why?” What is it about your yearbook that only appeals to Seniors? Why don’t Juniors, Sophomores, and Freshmen find value in your book? If you’re a typical school with this problem, then the reason probably includes several of the following…
- The Senior portraits are much larger than the rest of the school
- The Senior section is probably in color while the rest of the book is black and white
- The Senior section includes senior quotes or signatures under their photos
- Only seniors get to buy ads
- You have a special section of the book dedicated to senior activities
- The yearbook staff is mostly, if not all, seniors
- If the staff is mostly seniors, the candids are probably mostly of seniors
- If the staff is mostly seniors, then only seniors are being told when and where to buy a yearbook (and how great it is)
So what do you do? Here are some options to make your yearbook more valuable to underclassmen…
- Put more photos of Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors in your book! Make it a point to check the coverage in a spread for representation of all grade levels
- If you’re including spreads on special Senior activities, don’t ignore the activities of other grade levels
- If your Senior portraits section is much better than the underclassmen, then lessen the difference. Senior portraits can still be bigger, just not 5x bigger. They can still be the only portraits in color, but then include a Student Life section in color that includes candids of underclassmen as well.
- Allow other grades to purchase ads. They don’t have to be as big and elaborate as Senior ads. Maybe they’re text only. You can call the spread “Message Board”, “Text Messages” or “Shout Outs.” Charge kids $5-$25 to just print a couple of lines
- If you have a lot of polls and quotes in the Senior section, make sure you’re doing the same in the other sections as well. Make the questions specific to that grade level, “What’s the worst thing about being a Freshman?” or “What are the top 5 hardest things about being a Junior?”
- Recruit more underclassmen for your staff! This will ensure that underclassmen are being covered. If it doesn’t work out in the school schedule, form a Yearbook Advisory Committee made up of representatives from all grade levels. Maybe they meet once a month after school, and give their input on what underclassmen want to see in the yearbook.
- Make sure you’re marketing to the entire school, and not just the Seniors. If the only reminders to the school are that Senior ads are due or Senior quotes are due, then the rest of the school is going to assume the book is only for seniors.
- If you have a special section in your book dedicated to senior activities, consider making this a supplement that only seniors get and charge Seniors $10 more for their book!
Hope these tips help, and if you have ideas of your own, please share them below!