May 11, 2020 / Marketing / Staff Management

Tips for a successful car line yearbook distribution

Written by Jenica Hallman, CJE

It’s the question on everyone’s minds: how is yearbook distribution going to work this year?

Social distancing, closed school buildings and elimination of shared surfaces added new twists we could have never predicted, but journalism adviser Carey Pung of Okeechobee High School in Okeechobee, Florida, didn’t let that stop him and his staff from a successful yearbook distribution via a car line. In fact, it was even covered by their local media (see the CBS News story and additional pictures here). Pung offers readers some insight into what worked for them and how to achieve that same success for your program.

In His Own Words

We had a very successful day of distributing yearbooks in the bus circle on Friday, May 1. We offered 8-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. pickup times. At the beginning of the day, we had 361 yearbooks to be passed out. Throughout the day, parents/students inquired about purchasing a yearbook, and we directed them to the website. We monitored the sales and quickly added names to the distribution list. By the end of the day, we distributed 330 yearbooks.

We advertised that either student IDs or parent/guardian IDs were required. Vehicles pulled up, someone got the name of the purchaser, someone checked the name off the list, others would be directed to get a regular book, a personalized book, or the appropriate book and envelope. Yearbooks were put on a cart and taken to the vehicle, the driver would take the book off the cart, the cart would be returned and cleaned. Things went really smoothly.

I was fortunate to have our principal and two assistant principals, the senior and junior guidance counselors, the dean and a couple of other staff members helping. When we finished, the remaining books were placed in close proximity to the main office so the admin could retrieve yearbooks for those who couldn’t pick up their yearbook or purchased one after distribution day. I also gave the purchase list to the admin and made sure they understood what the highlighted names meant and where all the books were located. Having already been a part of the process also helped them understand this.

Since we did this on Friday, I told them I would send them a list of additional purchasers in an already-shared Google document of the purchasers (they need this to answer calls of “Did I purchase a yearbook?”). As of this email, we are 24 books away from distributing 435 books.

Tips for Distribution

  1. Have things ready – tables, gloves, masks, pens, carts, cleaning supplies. It will make everything easier if you’re prepared.
  2. Have a printed list with names in alphabetical order. Highlight names that might be getting a personalized book and/or add-ons like book covers, autograph pages, iTags, etc. Have a column explaining why names were highlighted (I used namestamp; namestamp, envelope; envelope). This really helped the person checking names know exactly what each person should receive. The person checking names would then initial by the purchaser’s name.
  3. Having the administration and counselors present really helped speed up the process because even though we required IDs, they were able to identify students or parents/guardians as they pulled up. This also gave admin/counselors the ability to encourage students to complete assigned work.
  4. Have a phone or laptop available to check on-the-spot purchases.
  5. Keep extra sheets on hand to write up on-the-spot purchases.
  6. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE AN ACCURATE LIST. The last thing you want to do is have confusion or adults questioning your organizational abilities. I recommend having receipt books and/or a phone/laptop close by as a backup in case there are questions.
  7. Don’t forget to pull out books that you give away. This looks a little different for each school, but if you give certain copies away – perhaps to the principal, the library, the local police department, businesses that purchased an ad, schools that you swap yearbooks with, books for your staff, or copies for state and/or national competitions, keep those books separate so you don’t accidentally end up selling those and end up short.
  8. Up your online number to the max. Don’t forget to figure in how many you give away into your budget when determining how much you will sell your books for in order to land in the black. Before distribution, I included 20 of the 40 overrun books. After distribution, I changed the max to include 35 overruns.

A Job Well Done

The theme of the Okeechobee 2020 yearbook was “Same but Different.” They had no idea when they chose it how relevant it would be for this year. Okeechobee proved that you can still maintain those same yearbook traditions if you are willing to approach them in a little different way.

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Jenica Hallman, CJE

Jenica Hallman, CJE, is a Copywriter for Walsworth Yearbooks. Yearbooks got into her blood in high school, and she has been pursuing them ever since. She has worked in various capacities as a high school and college yearbook editor, an adviser, sales representative, plant customer service representative and now in marketing, her favorite role to date. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mass media communications from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.