September 24, 2015 / Ask Mike / Coverage / Idea File Magazine

Cover your yearbook buyers

Written by Mike Taylor, CJE

If you were to divide the students in your school into three groups they would fall into:

  • Those involved in school activities
  • Those involved in sports
  • Others

Students involved in activities and sports have more in common than just school work. The others are simply there to be educated. When you look at the index of your book, which group is usually only in the book one time? Those students want to be in the book, too, and they want to buy a book they are in.

So how do you get these not-participatory students in the yearbook more than one time? First you must figure out who they are. You can create a non-buyers list in the Marketing Central area of Members Only. For Online Design 2016 users, if you have tagged students in images on submitted pages, those page numbers appear in the Pics/Book column. InDesign users can print the non-buyers list and add the page numbers for those students.

You also can use Google Docs: Just upload all student names and create a system to code each student (such as a color code like blue for clubs, yellow for sports, etc.). Google Docs allows you to manipulate your document to show only athletes, club members, non-covered students and other subsets.

While sports and clubs are usually featured in the book, there is plenty of room for coverage of the non-involved students. These students attend pep rallies, watch games and go to plays. They may participate in out-of-school activities such as ballet and piano lessons. These students have jobs, go on trips with their churches and families and head to the beach in the summer.

Students participate in activities unique to your area; in the southwest, some are involved in rodeo; on the coast some like to surf; and in the mountains there are those who can’t wait to ski or snowboard. These activities may or may not be actual school activities. However, all should be covered in your yearbook.

And, these students are involved in academics; after all, that is why they go to school. Catch them doing science labs, board work and oral reports.

Capture these students in your theme-related photos, student life and academics. This will balance the coverage of the athletes and band kids who easily make their way into theme-related spreads and coverage of homecoming and pep rallies.

Within the activity and sports spreads there is another hierarchy of coverage – the great players versus teammates who see little playing time. Be sure to create photo packages that cover practice and training, backstage and tech crews for the plays and the general club membership. The quote or how-to packages are perfect for these students.

Remember, run the index and update your Google Docs document with the students covered after each deadline. As the year goes on, you will see those students who purchased a book but still need coverage in the yearbook. After all, non-buyers rarely complain.

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Mike Taylor, CJE

Mike Taylor, CJE, sees things differently, and as a journalism specialist for Walsworth, he uses that creative edge to help yearbook staffs across the country put together the yearbook they dream about. A former award-winning yearbook adviser, Mike has been awarded the JEA Medal of Merit, CSPA Gold Key and Florida Scholastic Press Association Gold Medallion. Follow Mike on Pinterest at taylormjc.