Why do we put so much importance put on building better yearbook coverage? The answer is pretty simple: because the magic of a yearbook isn’t in the making…it’s in the receiving. The magic actually happens when that student is handed the book, and she opens it up to see a photo of her wildly cheering with her friends at the Homecoming rally, and she laughs at the memory. It happens when that junior opens the book and sees the awesome photo of his soccer teammates congratulating him on the winning goal of their final game, and he’s transported back to that very moment and smiles. And when the president of the National Honor Society gets a lump in his throat looking at the photos of the club’s community service project and realizes he really is turning the gavel over to someone else and graduating. Those are magic moments. And it’s our job to create as many of those moments as possible by including as many people on each yearbook page as possible. And the by-product of great student coverage is selling more yearbooks.
How, exactly, can you increase the number of students included in the book at least once besides their mug photo? Here are the ABC’s of building better coverage:
Keep yearbook in the minds of students on campus all year long. Use the book itself as a marketing tool. “Leak” info about the book: reveal little pieces of the cover; give hints about the theme; post a Photo-of-the-Week that’s already in the book, or might be in the book. These photos should be great photos and include a mix of high-profile students and students who are not the most popular or most active on campus. Then let those students know if that picture actually makes it into the book. Send out “Congratulations! You’re pictured on page ___!” notices to students twice a month or after each deadline. Be creative and diligent!
Engage more students in the yearbook process. Encourage them to share their photos with you. Set up Herff Jones’ eShare site or a shared folder on Google Drive, Dropbox or other online storage sites. Have them post to your yearbook Facebook page and tag people in the photo. Ask questions and take polls on your Facebook page, too. Spread the word to hashtag Instagram photos or Twitter posts #yourschoolyearbook. Then let them know you used their photo and on which page. This will continue to build anticipation for those magic moments. NOTE: When choosing to include photos from social media sites, we recommend contacting the person who posted the photo and requesting a copy of the original file. This will ensure higher resolution necessary for use on your pages.
To get the best coverage and more people in the book, connect with the people who know what’s happening. Go to Inter-Club Council meetings to know when club events are happening; contact the Band and Athletic Boosters and ask if you may attend a meeting to discuss your desire for increased coverage and to encourage members to share their best photos with you; check with ASB/Student Council leaders once a week for a list of any planned activities. Contact your school/class historian(s) and ask if they would share some of their photos with you. Meet with team coaches before, during and after the season to get their insights on the team, must-attend games and reflections on the season. Ask teachers each grading period for dates of interesting projects or classroom activities they would be willing to let you photograph. Be pro-active, consistent and considerate.
By starting with these three building blocks to better coverage, you will see how easy it becomes to create more magical moments for more students on your campus. And you’ll probably sell just a few more books along the way!