When running a Best Of or Readers’ Choice ballot for your publication, you should have two primary goals: increase reader engagement and drive revenue. Here are three quick tips to increasing reader engagement and revenue in your contest.
1) Create a social media sharing kit
The biggest single driver of voting numbers in any Best Of or Readers’ Choice contest is local area businesses promoting the ballot to their customers and fans. Make their job easy by providing them with branded photos and templates for use on social media. You can also provide point-of-purchase signage and posters with QR codes that they can display in their businesses.
2) Add or subtract categories (strategically)
You should always be evaluating how individual categories are performing on your ballot, and making annual adjustments to your list. Listen to reader and client suggestions for new categories, and consider what new categories could generate revenue or community engagement if you add them. And if a category is not being voted on by your readers and/or if it isn’t an attractive category for advertisers, you should consider taking it off the ballot.
3) Build the Brand
Your Best Of / Readers’ Choice is arguably your publication’s biggest brand, and you should treat it as such. Promote your vote using all available channels. Host an event (which is another strong revenue stream). Use window clings, plaques or awards to promote brand awareness. And create digital award artwork for companies to use on their websites, social pages, and even their vans or billboards. And promote it year-round, not just once a year.
If you’re looking to make your Best Of or Readers’ Choice program the best it can be, SceneThink can help. Our state-of-the-art ballot software system will enable you to maximize revenue while minimizing staff labor. And our consultative approach will win you over.
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SceneThink is a technology solution provider driving revenue and engagement for our media partners. Our products include a Best Of / Readers' Choice and Photo Ballot System and a hyperlocal event calendar and content creation system (with editorial features such as email, embeds, guide creation and more). Both systems have multiple revenue streams, including sponsorship, direct sell and self-service advertising opportunities. Our clients include The Washington Post, NOLA.com, Sound Publishing, Today Media and many more.
Blair Barna is one the founders and former owners of Charleston City Paper. He has been championing Best Of / Readers’ Choice balloting for over 25 years, and has presented at numerous national conferences on the topic, and consulted with over 75 publications, helping them optimize their strategy. While at City Paper, he co-developed a new ballot system with SceneThink, which he used to generate six figures in digital ballot revenue. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.