The joy of a well-done yearbook is sharing it with its community. The yearbook distribution and a yearbook signing party work hand in hand. Planning a successful year end distribution and signing event with a comprehensive marketing strategy will boost sales! This strategy includes print media, announcements, as well as social media blasts which increase the overall enjoyment of the yearbook by those who it celebrates! The plan is to get the yearbook into the hands of those the book is about. Yearbook distribution and signing parties may be just the ticket to accomplish this.
Planning & Executing the Plan
As early as possible, your staff should look at potential dates that don’t conflict with other ‘end-of-the-year’ events and lock in a date and a place on campus with the administration. Timing is essential. I’d recommend getting on the school calendar no later than September. As the end of the year approaches, there will be many requests for space and time for events that weren’t even thought of at the beginning of the school year. Clubs, teams, academics will all be vying for the same thing–dates, times and locations. The sooner the date, time and location is locked in for the distribution and signing party the better. If you are just making plans now, that’s okay, just get to it!
Make sure the location can accommodate food and various activities–like music or a photo booth. Check with the administration about the number of students the location can hold. If the event will be outdoors, what will be the plan B for inclement weather. And verify chaperones and security for the event.
Establish a student team to organize, promote and host the event. A senior would make a great project manager! The team should devise tasks per month to ensure the success of the event. This Countdown Calendar could be posted in the classroom to keep everyone up-to-date with what needs to be done. Checklists and punch lists will help meet deadlines. The team will need to answer these and other questions:
Will there be tables set up for yearbook distribution? How will the actual yearbook distribution process be coordinated?
After the initial distribution and signing party has concluded, will there be a yearbook ordering table with a distribution table for after school?
Does the school have unsold yearbooks from previous years? How might those be a part of the event as well? A senior who didn’t buy a yearbook as a freshman, sophomore or junior may want to do so. Families may want to complete a set of yearbooks for the years their children attended. Will these be sold at a discount? Will alumni sales be allowed or directed to a different location?
What kind of theme will the event have? What kinds of decorations are allowed for the location?
Will there be food and drink? What vendors will be used? When do those have to be scheduled?
Will there be entertainment (music, games, party favors, raffles, photo booth)? If yes, do any of these need equipment set-up? Think about managing a group of people–what will be the schedule of events? If not, how will students move from the distribution area to the signing area? Who will be the Emcee?
Consider creating “how our yearbook was made” reels that run back to back, or on loops, with interviews of the staff. Or make video clips of the photos that aren’t in the yearbook and play those throughout the signing party.
Will this be a fundraiser? Will there be a cover charge or tickets sold for food/drinks? Will there be a silent auction, raffles? Will there be any give-aways? Will there be yearbook accessories (pens, plastic covers, book marks) sold? How will the fundraiser be organized? Who will be the lead contact?
Can you raffle one or two of the yearbooks? This can help some students who have not yet bought their books to receive one.
Marketing & Advertising
The yearbook distribution and signing party, otherwise known as the biggest party of the year, may very well be the most important marketing and advertising strategy you have! If you build the right energy around the lead up to the event, students will remember and want to be at the front of the line for next year’s book. Make a big deal about the yearbook! This will be the one time you have all the attention focused on the yearbook and the story it tells about the school and those who attend it. This one event could sell out the current yearbook and increase sales for the next year!
Get the Distribution & Signing Party Team to design an event T-shirt for the entire yearbook staff to wear. Review the calendar and match t-shirt dates to new announcements, social media blasts and print flyers posted across campus. Don’t forget that everyone should come in the tees for the event itself!
This doesn’t have to be expensive–food and drink could be donated. Just make sure the tables have signage acknowledging the donor.
In lieu of a costly photo booth, create a temporary, interactive mural for selfies and social media posts. Props will always be a welcome addition.
Ask parents or office supply shops for donations of colored markers, stickers, post it notes–anything bright and colorful to add some fun to the signing part of the party.
It's important to have an assortment of pens for actually signing the yearbooks! Have plenty of kinds and types on hand.
Don’t forget to create a special hashtag for the event!
Every good host and hostess understands that clean-up is the cost of providing an enjoyable time! Part of the Distribution & Signing Party Team’s job is to determine what needs to get done and who needs to do what in order for the location to be in acceptable condition. The administration will want to partner with the next year’s yearbook staff if the event went smoothly, students had a good time, and cleanup was guaranteed and satisfactorily accomplished. Even though this is the last item on the list, it is perhaps the most important.
United Yearbook Printing is excited about your end of the year plans. Distribution and a signing party can be a meaningful and fun way to finish the yearbook experience for your staff. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are pleased to assist in any way we can.
Contributor: Lucy McHugh comes to United Yearbook Printing from a 39-year career in public and private school education. She was a former visual art teacher and yearbook adviser. She received a Bachelors of Science in Art from Columbia College in Columbia, SC, a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nebraska in 2000, and in 2014 earned a Certificate in Catholic School Leadership from Loyola Marymount University. Lucy enjoys her family, making art and gardening.
Editor: Donna Ladner obtained a B.A. in Education and a minor in English from California Baptist University, and a M.S. in ESL from USC, Los Angeles. After she married Daniel, their family moved to Indonesia with a non-profit organization and lived cross-culturally for 15 years before returning to the U.S in 2012. Donna has been working as an editor and proofreader for TSE Worldwide Press and its subsidiary, United Yearbook since 2015.