August 25, 2009 / It's Worth It / Marketing

Rider High staff takes videos to Facebook, YouTube

Written by Evan Blackwell, CJE

Adviser Mary Beth Lee and her yearbook staff at Rider High School in Wichita Falls, Texas, were not happy with their lagging sales last year and they wanted a boost. After entering the realm of online videos through the use of Walsworth’s media-sharing website ClassScene, Lee and the kids got an idea.

“We had really been making a concerted effort to have more of an online presence with the yearbook,” said Lee. “Because we had been involved with the videos and ClassScene, we decided to create our own videos and have the kids put them up on Facebook. They basically became viral videos.”

Lee and the staff created two, 54-second clips using iMovie, with the goal of spreading them around over the internet to their audience, or making them “viral.” The movies were simply montages of some of the best images from the Rider yearbook, set to inexpensive, royalty-free music that can be found on the internet.

There are quick messages at the beginning and end of the videos promoting the sale of the yearbook, which are subtle enough that the clips almost venture into guerilla marketing. But according to Lee, that was precisely the point – creating a buzz. And it worked.

“It made yearbook a topic to the kids. It put yearbook on their mind, whereas otherwise it might not have been,” said Lee.

Last year’s videos eventually made their way from Facebook over to YouTube, and the staff even got them posted on the school district website. As a result, they saw a $20,000 increase in their sales.

This year, they plan to create more videos and Lee said they would be getting more elaborate with the planning and themes now that they have had one successful run.

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Evan Blackwell, CJE

Evan Blackwell, CJE, is the Marketing Automation Supervisor for Walsworth. He's been a writer, editor and web content specialist for Walsworth for the past 15+ years, and is the author of the Yearbook Suite's "The Art of the Interview" unit. Prior to joining Walsworth, Blackwell spent five years as an award-winning newspaper and magazine journalist. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.