9 Ballots for Any Market + Any Season

by Liz Huff Second Street


It doesn’t matter your demographic, you’ve got plenty of families in your community. Parenting or Family Favorites ballots can offer a variety of categories such as Best Family Restaurants, Best Family Attractions, Best Schools, or Best Doctors.

Family Favorites Ballot

Washington FAMILY Magazine runs an annual “Best of Families” ballot featuring twelve categories including Health, Retail, and Places. Just this year, nearly 2,500 users cast over 13,000 votes for their favorites.


No matter the season, a music ballot can be successful in your market. Try a Battle of the Bands featuring a variety of local artists. Have a big summer concert series in your area? Create a Best of Summer Concerts ballot. A Best of Rock ballot can feature bands and musicians from all decades.

Music Ballot + Event

A music ballot works beyond just radio. The Charleston City Paper’s “Music Awards” seeks out the best of their local music scene including categories for DJ of the Year, Jazz Musician of the Year, and even Up-and-Coming Act of the Year. Over 17,000 votes were cast and the paper held a huge concert event featuring many of the winning artists.


Education-themed ballots can appeal to a wide audience from school-age children and teens to parents and relatives. For your ballot, consider categories like Most School Spirit, Best Teacher, All-Time Favorite Quarterback, or even Best Preschool Program.

Education Ballot

The Paducah Sun’s “Best of High School Football” had over 20 categories ranging from Best Kicker and Best Wide Receiver to Best Band and Best Student Section. Their ballot brought in over 2,000 votes.

Movies & TV

Everyone’s passionate about their favorite shows and movies, and these themes can work year-round. Categories like Best New TV Show, Best Movie of the Year, Top Actors and Actresses, and even Best Pet Actor can target a wide audience range.

TV + Movie Ballot

To capitalize on election fever, KNDD-FM created their “Alternative Election” ballot. The ballot had users vote for their favorite presidents from movies and shows including The West Wing, House of Cards, Independence Day, and even Napoleon Dynamite.


A Best Neighborhood ballot can be a great way to target your entire demographic. Categories could include everything from best bike paths and dog parks to best neighborhood watch group and babysitters.

Neighborhood Ballot

KBLX-FM put together the “Bayborhood Awards,” a series of neighborhood-themed ballots about the Bay Area. The ballots included categories like Best Place to See Holiday Decorations, Best Family-Friendly Entertainment, Best Cupcake Company, and Best Teacher.


If you’re looking for an opportunity to connect with new potential advertisers, a shopping ballot can be ideal for generating these new partnerships. Categories could be more general such as Best Clothing Store and Best Grocery Store or you can dive deeper and offer categories like Best Place to Buy Athletic Gear and Best Meat Market.

Shopping Ballot

Charlotte Magazine’s “Best of the Best Awards” features an entire ballot dedicated to Shopping. They have over 30 categories including ones for Electronics, Resale/Consignment Clothing, Furniture, Fresh Fish, and Pet Supplies. This ballot is incredibly popular with their audience driving in over 8,000 votes and collecting over 4,000 opt-ins for the magazine’s newsletters.


Ballots about top local workplaces can target a wide audience. Plus, these awards are often touted as big honors for the businesses that win. Categories can range from job types and industries to favorite spots for work lunches and happy hours.

Employer Ballot

The Rockford Register Star’s “Employers That Rock” ballot tapped into a niche audience and gathered more than 6,000 votes. The ballot had a variety of categories including Most Innovative Workplace, Best Company Party, Best Benefits Program, and Best Employee Recognition Program.


Your community is bound to be filled with sports fans supporting local high school teams, minor league teams, or even a local professional team. A sports ballot could include all sorts of categories like Best of a Specific Decade, Best Players of the Year, or Best Sports Businesses.

Sports Ballot

The Ames Tribune created the “Best of Iowa State Basketball” ballot capitalizing on the big ISU fan base in their community. The ballot contained dozens of categories including Fan Favorite, Best ISU Win, Best Coach to Play For, and Best NCAA Win. Sponsored by a local sports bar, the paper generated over $10,000 in revenue.


Food and drink ballots always draw in huge numbers no matter when they’re run. Your ballot can consist of a huge variety of categories from Best Coffee Shop and Best Chinese Restaurant to Best Bartender and Best Sunday Brunch.

Dining Ballot

The annual “Best of Food 2016” ballot from Planet S magazine has categories for everyone including Restaurants, Booze & Pubs, Pizza, and Breakfast. More than 3,000 people registered and cast a whopping 109,000 votes. Planet S publishes the winners in a special issue of their magazine where ad sales from the competing businesses bring in over $10,000.

Not only are ballots an excellent way to engage your entire audience, but you can leverage all that data you collect for targeting your future campaigns. Plus, this is a great way to start new revenue streams with advertisers you may not already be working with making these a huge win for every department in your company.

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