How Engagement Campaigns are Helping Create Community Events

by Julie Foley Second Street

Events Based on Local Favorite Businesses

People are passionate about their favorite local businesses, and metro ballots are the perfect opportunity to capitalize on this passion. Plus, when it comes to deciding on the categories, the sky’s the limit. From best local spa or golf course to favorite Mexican restaurant or dog groomer, everyone in your community will find a category they care about.

When you turn your metro ballot into an event honoring the winners, you’ve got a winning combination (and additional revenue!). While you’re already drawing revenue from your ballot’s various sponsorship tiers, the event allows brand new revenue opportunities.

The Commercial Appeal’s Memphis Most metro ballot brought in nearly $200,000 in revenue and concluded with a major event honoring the winners. The exclusive event adds an additional element of prestige to being on the winners list and boosts users and interest for the upcoming year. Want a glimpse into this big event? Check out the video recap hosted by local celeb (and Commercial Appeal columnist), Michael Donahue.

Memphis Most Party 2013 from The Commercial Appeal on Vimeo.

Events to Target Niche Audiences

While metro ballots are perfect for mass appeal to your entire community, niche ballots are ideal for reaching a very specific audience. By looking at your internal planning calendar, you’ll be able to find some natural spots that would pair nicely with an event. Maybe you are planning to create a bridal show around Valentine’s Day or develop a golf special issue right before summer – both could be complemented with a niche ballot.

As an added bonus, creating a niche ballot can be the opportunity you’ve been looking for to target new advertisers you haven’t worked with before. Since these voter’s choice promotions touch a specific audience, there are specific advertisers anxious to get in front of your audience.

At the Coastal Virginia Magazine, they’ve turned their Giving Back Awards niche ballot featuring local non-profits, into a yearly event. Their Gala, which honors the top 50 non-profits, was a tremendous success and led to big revenue for the magazine and big engagement numbers from the local community – more than 6,000 users signed up to vote.

“The Gala has become one of the biggest events of our community. Not only do we look forward to it, but our audience can’t wait till we announce it each year”

Kearsten WaldenWeb Marketing & Promotions Manager, Coastal Virginia Magazine

Plus, the results of the ballot are used as the focus for an entire issue of the magazine – which is the most popular issue all year.

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Events Promoting Local Talent

Ballots aren’t the only promotion that can lead to an event. We’ve seen a slew of great events spur from MP3 and video contests as well. People love to share their favorite pictures and songs and are invested in seeking out votes from their friends and family. This means these contests can lead to a spike in pageviews as users come back to vote again and again.

For WPAW-FM, The Wolf, the station runs a contest called the Hometown Headliner. Local bands submit an MP3 of a performance for the chance to be the opening band at the station’s Hometown Throwdown concert. Casting a whopping 475,000 votes, not only is the contest a hit with listeners, but it also creates tons of buzz about the station’s concert.

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Ballots, MP3, and video contests can lead to outstanding events for your media company, but don’t limit yourself there. Other promotion types can also lead to fantastic event ideas, like an art exhibition featuring the winners of your photo contest or an evening beer tasting showcasing the results of a best local breweries bracket. Think about what’s popular in your community, look at where you have gaps on your internal planning calendar, and see what your team can come up with.

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