Photo by: Nancy Oben
Yearbook staffs continue to succeed, and sell, despite pandemic
Written by Alec Aguirre
The previous school year required more adapting than ever before for schools across the nation, and completing a yearbook during this period seemed daunting, to say the least. Yet many yearbook staffs not only succeeded in producing their book, but they thrived with sales while embracing new programs and marketing tactics.
“In the beginning of the year, we made an Adobe Spark page that went over yearbook deadlines and other important information,” said Nancy Oben, an adviser at Robinson High School in Tampa, Florida. “We did a few announcements via Canvas, which I think helped with the eLearners.”
A silver lining for yearbook advisers was learning which different methods were effective so they could implement them for years to come. Another refreshing aspect was hearing how Walsworth resources provided amazing results.
“I found the PEP program (Parent Email Program) to be hugely helpful,” said Adam Schellhorn, an adviser at Ridgeview High School in Orange Park, Florida. “I felt like there were definite increases in sales after PEP emails went out.”
Another difficult aspect was promoting the yearbook to students and parents who may have felt it would be empty without traditional content. Staffs showed resilience by encouraging their community to send in their photos to showcase different experiences from life during the pandemic. Recognizing the outgoing senior class remained a priority, and one way they did so was through highlighting their ads, proving that some traditions remain strong even during uncertain times.
“I think a lot of (our senior ads marketing) is word-of-mouth for a good product,” said Oben. “The postcards I send via Walsworth also help, and I have Walsworth mail them too.”
“Our ad sales drastically improved, and I think part of that was parents responding to the situation around them in an effort to make sure their seniors felt this was a special year,” said Schellhorn. “Additionally, I placed a greater grade emphasis on sales, and my staff by and large responded.”
These success stories were made possible by the determination of the yearbook staffs to create a volume that would highlight a year unlike any other. Advisers and students across the country deserve credit for overcoming unprecedented obstacles.
“I’m definitely most proud of our staff and the responsiveness and engagement with our student body,” said Schellhorn. “The staff felt that it was important to give our students a positive memory of a difficult year, and I think they accomplished that.”
“It was great to see students reimagining what the book was going to be and then able to exceed expectations even with the reality of the year,” said Walsworth Area Sales Manager, Rhonda O’Dea. “The staffs had very creative ideas to supplement the book and this year more than ever will include the memories that people will talk about during their future reunions.”