In part one of this series, I covered five suggestions for getting the most out of your printed viewbook. This week, I’ll tackle the top five things that will help you with your viewbook experience.
5. Have a flow
Viewbooks that don’t have some type of defined flow to it typically are difficult to absorb. Consider the viewbook as a guided tour much like on campus. Walk the reader through a defined story about your institution. What comes first and what comes last is not as important as putting together a flow that makes sense and does not confuse the reader.
4. Use QR codes
We have tracked the traffic of QR codes and they are ever increasing. Students are using them. This is an opportunity to drive them to videos on YouTube or anything that will show them the true essence of your institution beyond the printed piece. If you are looking for ways to integrate technology….this is your opportunity.
3. Accompany it with a letter that engages and entices
The standard, “Hello Joe Student, thank you for your interest in College X” is not going to cut it. If you want them to read the letter at all beyond the first sentence….capture them with something. A call to action, an event on campus, a unique fact or just about anything beyond the standard letter salutation would be good.
2. Run it by your students!
I once worked with a school that used the term “Show me the money” when talking about financial aid. (this was before we got involved!) First of all….that is horrendous. Second of all, when we asked students about what they thought about that they said: “what does that even mean?”. Jerry Maguire came out when these students were probably 2 -years old. While it may be funny to you……it probably is not to them. You have access to your current students so use them as a resource!
OK, so I have listed 9 very important rules in the development of a great viewbook. While they are all important, none of them compare to the next one. If you leave with ANYTHING after reading this post, leave with the following rule!
- 1. No “kitchen sink” mentality!!!!
What I mean here is that the viewbook is NOT a course catalog nor is the viewbook a website. It is simply a visual representation (with some words) of who you are and why you are worth the investment (aka a “view” “book”). Every program, every department and every student life event does not need to be discussed or even listed in this publication. Students and parents have the web for these types of things. Once you start feeling the need to keep adding and adding and adding and adding….you have developed a boring, useless viewbook. If there is push back on campus about not “equally” representing the academic programs then develop an academic piece with spreads that “equally” represent each program and send that under separate cover. Trust me….students and parents are not opening up the viewbook in hopes of finding that you offer “Psychology 101” as a course.
So, that is it! If you any further questions I would LOVE to discuss the development of a great viewbook. (one of my favorite discussion topics beyond sports!) Have fun, good luck and remember……less is more!