Entourage has been producing yearbooks for over 15 years, and they’ve helped hundreds of schools hurdle all kinds of obstacles in that time. Here’s their list of the Top 5 Yearbook Regrets of May:
#5 Regret: Not Reading Senior Quotes
It’s no secret that teenagers love to pull one over on adults, and seniors in high school are no exception. Harmless pranks are one thing, but some seniors use their quotes to make inflammatory remarks, warns Entourage.
How To Avoid It: Have your yearbook staff peer-review the quotes first, suggests Entourage. Students are most likely to catch other students’ references, as they’re naturally savvy to the lingo and in-jokes of the day. Once the peer review is done, check and double-check the quotes yourself before approving for print. Pay special attention to quotes with numerical characters, as they’re often used to code secret (and sometimes hurtful) messages.
#4 Regret: Forgetting Ads
Ads, whether business or personal, have long been a tradition of the American yearbook. According to Entourage, the most common issue with these ads is forgetting to place them in the book or forgetting to market them. Either scenario can lead to sense conflict between parents and advisors when distribution rolls around, warns Entourage.
How To Avoid It: To ensure parents (and businesses) are aware of ad sales, plan at least three different methods of contact with your community before the ad deadline passes. Examples might include mentioning ad sales on the school’s morning announcements, adding a link to ad sales on the school’s homepage, or sending an email blast to parents. Entourage also suggests that advisors keep a detailed list of purchased ads on their phone, to easily check against their final printed proof book. In addition, some vendors offer online management of ad sales for easy tracking of ad payments and placement.
#3 Regret: Forgetting Students
Even worse than forgetting an ad is forgetting a student, says Entourage. No school or advisor wants to pass out a yearbook with a missing student, so it’s imperative that all students are accounted for before the yearbook pages are approved for print. While reprints and stickers are often available to rectify issues like these, it’s best to ensure no one is left out in the first place.
How to Avoid It: According to Entourage, the most effective way to ensure no students are missing is to send a personalized list to each teacher of all students in their classroom or homeroom that will be included in the yearbook. Those teachers should check that no students are missing or names misspelled, then return their signed list to the yearbook advisor at least 2 months before final printing.
#2 Regret: Ordering Too Many Books
Thousands of schools order too many yearbooks each year, says Entourage. This is sometimes caused by schools overestimating their quantity at the beginning of the year and become stuck in a binding contract, but just as often the school does not lower their book quantity because they don’t know how or are hesitant to reach out to their vendor about such a change. This can lead to a cycle of yearbook debt which can take years to rise out of, warns Entourage.
How to Avoid It: Entourage suggests checking prior years’ sales to get a feel for how many books are typically purchased. If unsure, advisors can speak to their school business or purchasing departments to find out. Some companies also allow non-binding contracts, so schools can adjust their quantity as needed, adds Entourage.
#1 Regret: Not Ordering Enough Books
According to Entourage, the number one complaint that advisors face from parents is the inability to buy a yearbook after sales deadlines pass. Regardless of how robust a school’s marketing initiatives are, it seems there are always would-be buyers who miss the opportunity to purchase a book. This can lead to angry parents, and worse, upset students at the end of the year.
How to Avoid It: Entourage suggests raising your order quantity by 5% to ensure extra copies are on hand for any late purchasers.