Six things new yearbook advisers should be doing right now
Written by Sarah Scott
Updated by Walsworth Yearbooks
As the school year begins, thousands of new yearbook advisers from all across the country are about to dive head-first into a new and challenging, yet exciting, endeavor.
There are many tasks to complete at the beginning of the school year. Walsworth is here to provide some guidance. We’ve compiled a list of the six tasks that need to be addressed right now.
Once you’ve finished this blog post, we recommend downloading 12 Essential Tips for the New Adviser, which contains even more advice for the school year!
1. Meet with administration
Meet with your principal and any assistants in the administration who have been involved with the yearbook program. Make it a priority to establish a positive and open relationship with them. Write down their expectations of you and the yearbook program.
With your principal, review the contract the school has with your yearbook company.
Inquire about yearbook policies at school.
- Ask whether any prior review policies are in place.
- Find out about the policy for parents who do not want their students in the book and obtain any of those records.
- Get approval to send all-calls and emails to parents to sell your yearbook and ads.
2. Talk with your yearbook sales rep
Your Walsworth Yearbooks sales representative is the person who will guide you through the printing and delivery process. Any time you have a yearbook question, contact your rep.
At the beginning of the year, you’ll be getting to know your sales rep and your customer service representative. They are there for you, so don’t hesitate to reach out.
Meet with your sales rep as soon as possible, preferably before the year begins. There’s a lot to discuss.
3. Join Walsworth’s Adviser Mentor Program
Unless you have a co-adviser, you are the only person in your school doing this job.
Talk to your rep about joining Walsworth’s Adviser Mentor Program. You’ll be paired with an experienced adviser. This is one more person you’ll be able to reach out to when you have questions or simply need to talk to someone who’s “been there” before.
This is not a replacement for your rep. Your mentor will be an additional resource. Your sales rep will still be the first point of contact, but a mentor can provide additional insights, from the point of view of someone currently working as a yearbook adviser.
Joining the Adviser Mentor Program helps grow your support network, which includes your Walsworth sales rep and customer service representative, administration, and parents of your yearbook students.
4. Set up a marketing plan
Marketing creates awareness about the yearbook and ads, explains why parents and students would want to buy them and tells parents and students how to purchase. You need to market to parents because they are the people who usually pay for the book. Here are a few tactics to use at the beginning of the school year.
- Walsworth’s Pick 6 program helps you decide the marketing methods that are right for your school.
- Use Walsworth’s Parent Email Program (PEP), which sends emails to your students’ parents, encouraging them to buy a yearbook and ad. Ask your registrar for parent email addresses when you get the student list. To enroll in PEP, upload your student list with parent email addresses into Marketing Central and then sign up at walworthyearbooks.com/pep to get started.
- Use Walsworth’s Online Sales program and place a banner on your school website that takes buyers directly to your online school store at yearbookforever.com.
5. Manage the staff
Whether students produce the yearbook as a class or club, the goal is still to create a yearbook about students for students. They are in charge of creating a product under deadline.
- Staff manual: Put all the information about how to create the yearbook and run the staff into a guide that staffers can use to get questions answered, from job description and fonts to use this year to staff phone numbers and policies on ads.
- Basics of scholastic press law: Prepare to teach them about the First Amendment, libel, copyright, obscenity, ethics and other topics of legal concern.
- Staff contracts: A commitment contract, along with a job description, should spell out what is expected of each student.
- Meet staff or discuss staffing with registrar or guidance office: If the staff has been selected, meet with them to get their thoughts on the direction of the book.
- Team building: Mixing games and food with the work will help your staff get acquainted and bond, which should improve working relationships and relieve stress.
6. Teach and train your staff
Decide what you should teach and what you should prepare your editors to teach. Team-building activities are a good way to start the year, and letting your editors be in charge will help them learn to organize and work efficiently with their staff.
Make sure your editors know they should meet separately from the staff at least once a week for planning purposes. Their time in class or with the club should be devoted to helping the staff and answering questions.
Look through Walsworth’s Yearbook Suite curriculum, a great resource for teaching your students the basics of design, photography, reporting, copywriting and more.
For even more advice on your new yearbook adventure, download 12 Essential Tips for the New Adviser.