Creating a Facebook Group to promote your yearbook

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Setting up a facebook group is a great way to keep your classmates updated and remind them of deadlines for profile entries and awards voting etc. If you’re a whizz on social media, this may just be the marketing strategy for you  🙂

facebookgroupClicking onto ‘create group’ will bring up a form like this for you to create your group 🙂 Remember you don’t want just anybody to be able to join the group so make sure your book is set to Secret! Once you’ve created your group, you can get to work inviting all of your year group to join.

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Collaborative working

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Working together on a creative project should be a good laugh so today we’re talking collaborative working and getting the most out of your team meetings. When it comes to working as a team, you may find you have loads of ideas that don’t necessarily all work well together but always jot down your page ideas so you can refer to them later. You’ll notice there is space for notes and ideas in your info books so be sure to take this along to your meetings so you have everything together!

Sometimes an idea on paper isn’t quite the same, so don’t discount any ideas before exploring the online system to see how you can translate your theme into a workable set of templates and designs 🙂 Some ideas may call for fiddly details so think about the time you have set aside for your project and how this fits in around your school work and other commitments 😀 Also make a note of school holidays and exam periods etc that will affect the time you have to work on the book so you can plan your workload in advance.

When you first start your book online, the first person to create the book itself will be listed as our main chief editor. We strongly advise you add other editors to your project with separate accounts so you can see who’s doing what. It also makes it easier for us to know who we’re chatting to and stops that baffled expression we get when we explain something for the 3rd time, not realising we’re talking to different people!  So getting back to your group, it’s best to assign roles to each team member so you know everything is covered. If you’ve got someone who’s super creative, why not set them the task of designing your cover. Another team member can track the profiles and make chase anybody who’s not logged in and another could oversee payments etc. Splitting the workload will help you progress your project with confidence and make the process super enjoyable for all.

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When it comes to launching your project to the year, you’ll have a few options available to you:

 

Option 1: Cool, Calm and Collaborative

If you want to go for a full collaborative experience, choose to invite your year group online so they can be completing their own profiles, voting in awards and uploading photos to the book. This will make your life easier as an editing team as people are all doing their own bit and filling up the majority of the book with profiles 🙂

Option 2: The DIY or ‘design it yourself’ option

Your second option is to add members manually to your book and having your editors complete these on behalf of the student group. Perhaps you found it easier to collect your data offline? This would be the option for you as you can easily fill up those profiles and drop photos into place without getting everybody active online.

If you are of the superhero variety, you may want to take on the whole project on your own which is also fine. You’d do this in the same DIY way! What’s more, our support and design team can assist you regardless of which option you choose and are available by phone, email and instant chat too!! If you’ve not started your book online quite yet, click the button below to explore our wonderful system 😀

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Facebook vs Yearbook

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Everyday we rely on social media to keep us updated on our friends lives and keep connected so there is often debate about how necessary a yearbook really is the modern world. Whilst online platforms are great (there’s no denying it), obviously I have to stand firmly in the Pro-Yearbook team. Over the past decade social platforms have become deeply rooted in our society but many have fallen by the wayside, Bebo, myspace, friends reunited for example are just a few now non-existent ones that spring to mind. Facebook is really in a league of its own but in 20 years time will you really be clicking through decades of photos to get back to your school days?DSCF3944_Fotor

As much of the publishing world moves towards E-books, I am still a fan of actual books. You can’t beat curling up on the sofa and leafing through the pages of a good book and there has to be something said for the tactile experience of actually holding a physical yearbook. As soon as you open the yearbook again, you’ll be taken right back to the good old days of school in a format that’s not updating constantly. Social media is great for the here and now which is why it is constantly evolving in format and style but when you’re trying to reminisce that’s not such a good thing. What is in style at the time you design your book has a real impact on how it looks and how it’s constructed and this unique design is something that Facebook just can’t compete with.

Scheduling your project

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If your debating when to start your project, I would always say sooner rather than later. If you need to take time out and study for exams that’s fine- your yearbook will be happily waiting for you when you return to the project 🙂

When people hear about the project for the first time, there will probably be a flurry of excitement as people log in to see what it’s all about. This is usually enough to get people started but the momentum will slow towards the holidays as people get distracted with the winter ball or mock exams and so on.  The important thing to do is get a rough idea of when you want hand out your books so you can set deadlines for members to complete their entries by. If you don’t have a plan in place, your members wont know when they need to finalise their profile and you’ll end up chasing people and sending reminders left right and centre. Instead plan ahead early- think ‘I want to hand out my books when we finish in May so I’ll say the cut off is March’. That gives you a full month to tweak pages before your final proofread and if anybody desperately needs to make changes, you can do this on their behalf.

As you know the books take between 10 and 17 working day to print and deliver. Note the word WORKING here. That means Monday -Friday people! It’s up to you to ensure you have everything ready in good time and your staff proof-reader has also done everything they need to do. Don’t just presume you can finish the night before your print deadline and your teacher will be online to approve the final draft. Teachers have lives too so be mindful and leave a little leeway for your staff members to do their bit.

TOP TIP! Be sure to jot down any holidays that may affect your plans and availability. If your book is set to go to print during the holidays, can you still reach your staff proof-reader by email or phone? If the answer is no, you’ll need to rearrange your delivery plan slightly so dates fall when everybody is available 🙂 Trust me, it’s worth it to avoid the stress of not being able to track down your teacher and delaying your print and delivery!

Pre-order your 2016 sample yearbook today!

Exciting news everybody, our 2016 sample books will be ready in just a weeks time so don’t forget to pre-order yours now to ensure you’re the first to get your hands on a copy! This year we’ve kicked things up a gear and you’ll be receiving an epic hardback sample yearbook complete with profiles, awards page designs, confessions, quotes, timelines…. well you get the gist! Basically it’s a full mock up of the kind of yearbooks we pride ourselves on making 😀  What’s more, the entire pack has been lovingly designed using ONLY our online system to show you just how much is possible!

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What else is new I hear you ask?! Well you’ll also receive a paperback infopack that is filled with tips on how to organise, fundraise, photograph and schedule a yearbook project. Other companies may want to tell you that online systems are too much hassle but I say bah to all those naysayers! You don’t need to pay a designer to create a beautiful book when you can build it yourself with our fantastically flexible page designer.

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Depending on whether you’re a primary group or secondary, sixth form or corporate group, you’ll receive tailored information to suit your project- no unnecessary fluff that doesn’t apply, just straightforward tips and tricks from our experienced team. So now I’ve convinced you all to grab a copy, head to allyearbooks.co.uk/infopack to pre-order yours now. Books will be arriving in school next week but do message us if you have any questions at all in the meantime!

Bring it on Class of 2016, we’re ready for you 😛

Give a gift, give a yearbook…

20141212_140433The countdown to christmas has begun which means it’s about to get hectic. Before you start fretting about your christmas shows and what outfit to wear to the end of term party, pop over to your finance office and ask them to add your yearbook collection onto their ParentPay system before the holidays. Tell them it’s your christmas wish and you’ve been good all year!

Christmas is a time for giving and most parents (mine included) will get a little stuck for gift ideas. Now is a perfect time to ask for a special gift, one that you’ll treasure forever – no not that scratchy xmas jumper- but your yearbook! Think about it guys, ok you might have to wait a few months till you get the book itself but you’ll know your deposit is paid and you’ll have more cash to spend on your prom tickets later in the year 🙂 Bonus!!!

From an editors point of view, this means you can be collecting payments over the holidays. No need to go to the finance office or chase your editing team around the campus! It’s just a suggestion but it could make life easier in the long run 🙂

Selling advertising space in your yearbook

girl_c3There are lots of projects on the go now which is awesome and a lot of you are in the process of collecting orders and payments for the yearbooks. If a sponsored silence, car wash or bake sale isnt for you then a good way to raise funds for your project is to sell advertising space in your books.  Here is a quick guide to help you get the ball rolling 🙂

Approaching a business can be a scary thing, especially when you’re going to ask for money which is why it pays to be prepared. First things first think about your year group, your community and the sorts of places you like to go/ things you like to do. When a business can see you’ve invested some time in learning about them you’re much more likely to get the results you hoped for! Being able to discuss the benefits of promoting their product in your book will help you to get sponsors on board and will add those all important funds to the kitty! Remember, when approaching a local company or society for sponsorship, it’s best to know who you’re talking to! Always try to speak with a manager a.k.a the decision maker- they will be able to give a definitive answer as to whether it’s of interest and you can continue on your quest for a sponsor should they decline. Most of the time you’ll be making a few calls but if you’re going to meet with anyone obviously be cautious and always be safe! Ask a parent or a staff member if they can attend too! If you’re emailing companies, perhaps set up a generic yearbook email account to use. That way your enquiries will be accessible to your editing team and lets face it, AYByearbook2014@gmail.com sounds much more professional than sparklyunicornsandhearts@hotmail.com!

Sponsors can vary depending on your age group and sometimes you wont have to look far! If your school, college or university have an alumni, start here! A lot of schools want to keep in touch with past students so you might find the Old Boy’s Society for example want to promote their group and encourage sign ups from the new leaving class. You might find that including a single page ad will subsidise your yearbook costs and in turn make the book more appealing to the year! More sales, means the price is lower so it’s win-win for everybody 🙂

If your part of a university project, you might find sponsorship from larger, national companies. Medic yearbooks often get sponsorship from specialist insurance providers for example. If you’re part of a secondary school, perhaps look to nearby colleges, driving schools and more local companies. Perhaps set your year group a mission to speak to parents about the project and see if their workplaces would consider offering sponsorship. If everybody in the year gets one parent to enquire with work then you’ve already targeted 100 companies and that’s a pretty great start.

Also, remember to leave yourselves enough time to liaise with your sponsors. No one likes to be told “we need you to give us money, right now” as this puts pressure on the companies you’ve approached. Leave yourself a few weeks so people can go away, think about the opportunity and prepare any artwork they will need to provide you with. If you’re successful in selling ad space, hooray and congratulations 😀 You’ve just made your books cheaper! If you have any questions about page sizes and dimensions for artwork, just get in touch. We’ll be more than happy to talk you through this and help out where we can. Sponsors will need to send their payments through to you at school, or to you as an individual, as we usually don’t accept payments from third parties. Again, if you have any questions at all just give us a shout 😀

Staff Proof-readers for Year 11 and Year 13 Yearbooks

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Throughout the yearbook process, you might stumble upon some rather shocking stories and photos, some of which may need editing or removing entirely to avoid any upset or embarrassment. As yearbook editors this is something you can monitor and you can always block/delete troublesome members if they’re misbehaving! In the same way that you want everything to be perfect so will your school. Schools work hard to provide you with a positive, safe and respectful community and it’s no surprise that they want to protect this! If your yearbook bears the school’s name and logo you will need to approach a staff member to proof the content before printing, that’s just how it is! They don’t need to be fully involved and they won’t take over your project but we do need that person to either:

  •  Agree to proof all content in the yearbook before printing

OR

  • Give the Chief Editor of the yearbook permission to proof.

It’s best to do this early on in your yearbook’s timeline – we all know how busy teacher’s are, and we don’t want proofing problems to delay your yearbook delivery. Often it’s the Head of Year, or perhaps the Business/Marketing Manager, or the Pastoral Heads of Year who get involved so have a chat to your favourite teacher and I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to help 🙂

Alternatively, you can create an Unaffiliated Yearbook. This would not bear any information that can be directly related to your school, and there are several conditions that would need to be met.

Unaffiliated books for friendship groups

girl_c5aWe make lots of yearbooks and part of our standard procedure is to make sure the school is aware of the project and to determine how involved they want to be. Every year we get enquiries about making unofficial or independent projects for friendship groups,without staff involvement, so we wanted to lay down the ground rules for making these types of books! If you make your yearbooks without school involvement there are several conditions we will need you to adhere to. It’s important to remember that failure to meet any of these may result in delay to your books being printed so please ask if you’re not sure on anything! You can always give us a call on 01223 503259 to chat to your coordinator 🙂

So here are the rules. School need to be aware that you are making a book. It will likely include photos of you in uniform, pictures from around school etc so make sure you’ve discussed it with them first. If they’re happy for you to proceed without their involvement:

~ The school name and logo cannot be used for your cover, or in the internal pages of your book (unless we have it in writing from school that they are happy for you to do so).

~ You will need to pay for your order in full before we can send it to print, and we cannot deliver it to school premises.

~ Schools often request that teachers names, school photos, or photos of people in uniform do not appear either. It is your responsibility to make sure this is the case.

Please be aware that we cannot make unaffiliated books for Primary and Junior schools. If you are looking to make an unofficial book for anyone under the age of 16, you will need to get a staff member involved in your project. It is your responsibility to ensure these conditions are met. As with any project, we reserve the right not to print any content that is deemed inappropriate or offensive so even if school aren’t involved, still be mindful of the content you plan to include. You will also need to accept full responsibility for any complaints or repercussions that might arise.

We do encourage you to seek the schools cooperation with the project, a yearbook is a great record of your time at school and the majority of schools are very happy to be involved whilst still giving you free reign creatively – most will just want to read the final book before print. Why not have a quick chat with your favourite teacher and see if you can get them on side?

The Yearbook Checklist- Part 2 :)

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Where did we get up to? Ah yes, you’ve invited everybody to join the book and hopefully people have started to log in. Expect people to log in and take a look around first, they might not fill out their entire profile at once but it’s good to see the word is getting out and people are interested in being included! So what’s next…

Step 6: Now that people understand what it’s all about, they are more likely to part with their hard earned pennies! A good way to gauge how committed people are is to organise the collection of a small deposit, lets say between £2-5, from each person. You’ll soon raise your £100 deposit this way and you’ll know who is serious about wanting a copy 🙂

Step 7: You’re happy things are going nicely and then we mention staff getting involved and everybody freaks out! As we make the book with the schools names/logo on it, we have to ask if the school want to check over things before it’s printed- that’s the law! That doesn’t mean anybody is taking over your project and when you nominate a staff member, all we do is pop a quick email over to them asking if:

A- they want to be involved throughout,

B- they want to read the final copy before its printed,

C – they are happy for you as students/parents to authorise the content on their behalf.

See that’s not scary is it!

Step 8: If design isn’t your forte, you can ask our lovely designer Lee to help you create the perfect cover for your book. You tell us your ideas and we’ll go from there!

Step 9: A jam-packed yearbook is a happy yearbook so include lots of photos from your trips, sports days, fashion shows and events! It doesn’t stop there though as you can also create awesome pages like guess the baby (go on, embarrass everybody- you know you want to!), look-a-likes and the yearbook classic… Awards!

Step 10:  You have a yearbook! Once you’ve checked over everything and you’re happy that it’s finished, do a final proof-read to catch any last minute spelling mistakes or errors. We’ll pop a final email over to your confirming your final order quantities etc and then it’s ready 🙂 Check your pre-print payment is on it’s way as we’ll need this before we can hit the big ‘go’ button on our printers!

After this you can relax and eagerly wait for your yearbooks to arrive 🙂 Don’t forget there’s a final payment due once they do so don’t go disappearing on us- we track everybody down eventually! So that’s it I guess, the honest and open 10 step guide to our online yearbooks 🙂 Now you know what will happen… get set…Go!