October 21, 2011 / News

Yearbook guru Mike Taylor now part of the Walsworth team

Written by Evan Blackwell, CJE

If you have been on the yearbook staff and been to a workshop or national JEA/NSPA convention in recent years, there’s a decent chance you know Mike Taylor.

This week Walsworth announced that Taylor, a popular and respected yearbook instructor, has joined the company in a Journalism Specialist/Key Accounts role.

Taylor was working in a key accounts role with Balfour/Taylor Yearbooks. Prior to that, he was an award-winning adviser for 13 years at Florida’s Lecanto High School.

The Yearbooks Blog got a few minutes to sit down with Taylor to get his thoughts on yearbooks. For Taylor, the key to a successful yearbook starts with awareness.

“The yearbook staff and the adviser need to be visible in their school. They need to be as prominent as the cheerleaders and the marching band,” said Taylor. “I don’t believe in keeping the yearbook theme a secret. I don’t believe in keeping the cover secret. These are opportunities to spread awareness of the yearbook.”

Taylor also emphasized that yearbook staffs need to utilize social media outlets like Facebook to reach their audience, and that trends like QR codes are interesting, but the most important part of a yearbook will not change and that’s coverage.

“The biggest trend yearbook staffs need to emphasize is coverage,” said Taylor, adding that using tactics like focus groups is important. “Ask kids what they want in the book. You can’t assume what they want.”

Evan Blackwell, CJE
Evan Blackwell, CJE

Evan Blackwell, CJE, is a Web Content Specialist for walsworthyearbooks.com and yearbookhelp.com, as well as a regular contributor to Idea File magazine. He's been a writer and editor for Walsworth Yearbooks for the past 13 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.