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Advertising

To make money, it’s been said yearbook staffs should sell their products – yearbooks, ads and options – and not candy bars and car washes. If your yearbook staff has a great annual fundraiser that your school enjoys, stick with it. But if it’s time to venture into or improve your business ad sales, these tips should get your staff organized and increase their confidence.

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Having trouble keeping down the costs for your yearbook? Want to give parents a fun way to show off how cute their teenager was as a baby? Sell eighth grade baby ads!

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Your yearbook program needs revenue. That precious money can come from a variety of places. Sales of the book, obviously, are the most important, and creative fundraisers can supplement the budget, but ad sales are a vital piece of the pie that you might not be maximizing.

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Video may have killed the radio star, but it can do a lot for your yearbook. Just ask anyone at Winfield Middle School in Winfield, W.Va.

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Many yearbooks depend upon advertising revenue to sustain financial integrity. It is important they have policy that guides business operations, advertising content decisions and ethical judgments.

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Fill your coffers by letting parents honor their seniors with adoring text and baby photos of them in Superman Underoos or silly hair bows.

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Two yearbook advisers in different parts of the country came to that conclusion about the same time – Olga Martinez-Pagnussat at Our Lady of Lourdes Academy in Miami, Fla., and Jai Tanner at Franklin High School in El Paso, Texas. Previously, parents and students had great influence in how their personal ads would look in the book. At Our Lady of Lourdes, an all-girls school, the seniors would create their own collages, with photos that were scanned, grainy and too small.

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It is true – the best way to fund your yearbook is to sell ads and yearbooks. However, organizing such sales is time-consuming, and you must compete with other groups in your school, and sometimes other schools, for those dollars. If your yearbook program is self-sustaining like mine is – the district gives us no money – the task of funding a great yearbook every year seems daunting.

The sales plan I devised and have used for years is successful for many reasons.

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No one involved in the process knows everything they should know to produce a senior tribute for the yearbook. Most parents have never designed, photo-edited or written for a yearbook before. Yearbook designers and the tribute staff have never had children graduate. These two groups — parents and ads/tribute staff — are often at odds in the tribute production process.

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My students cringe when they see paperback publications with posed photos, talking captions and weak copy in other yearbooks. They have come to expect more when it comes to producing a middle school yearbook.

There is no reason why a middle school yearbook can’t have lots of pages with great photos and strong copy.

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