6 Reasons You Need to Run Ballots

by Julie Foley Second Street

Grow Your Database

The highly shareable nature of a ballot means it has the potential to maximize consumer engagement and participation. Including an email opt-in on the registration form allows for you to build your database in addition to creating a list of new leads for your advertisers.

The Best of Charleston ballot brought in over 900,000 votes and earned the paper over 8,000 new email addresses. Just think of the increase you could get to your database.

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Offer Fun, Interactive Content

Not only do ballots align with existing content, but your audience will love them. Each ballot is an opportunity to create something fun and memorable for your audience. WHAM-TV found a way to drive large amounts of participation with a unique and adorable idea. They created buzz for their advertiser and over 400 email opt-ins with their memorable ballot.

WHAM Battle of the Chicks

Drive Massive Revenue

When you run a ballot, you can target new advertisers with unique opportunities. This allows you to create an entirely new revenue stream by selling ads during and after your ballot – online, in traditional media, and through event sponsorships. And if you create a special section featuring the winners, you can drive even more.

One small-market paper, the Forsyth County News, was able to generate over $100,000 from their metro ballot (a 100% growth YOY). Annually the San Diego Union-Tribune brings in a massive $250,000 from their ballot.

Forsyth Ballot Special Section

Benefit Advertisers

It has never been easier to help your advertisers reach their goals with ballots. Whether they want to boost their email database or generate qualified leads, there’s a ballot that would work perfectly for them. For WRBR-FM, they ran a bike giveaway in which people voted on the bike to be given away. This was a great way for the advertiser to show off their collection, and every email opt-in was a new lead for the bike shop to pursue.

Create Unique Content for Advertisers

Build Unique Content from Results

For Coastal Virginia Magazine, their magazine issue featuring the winners of their ballot has become their most popular all year. Nearly 100 advertisers pay to get ad space in the publication.

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Allow Your Audience to Be Influencers

People are passionate about their favorite businesses. Whether it’s voting for the best pizza place, their preferred nail salon, or even their favorite local fire fighter – people are ready and willing to campaign for votes in a citywide metro ballot. Over 20,000 people registered to cast their votes for the Charleston City Paper’s metro ballot.


Ballots are a huge opportunity that your company needs to be taking advantage of. From citywide metro ballots to niche audience ballots, there are tons of possibilities that could fit your needs. As you head to you next brainstorm session, make sure a ballot is making its way onto your calendar.

Download Your Ballots Playbook