8 Great Ballot Ideas for Any Community

by Julie Foley Second Street

Citywide Metro Ballot

Often known as a “Best Of” or “Voters’ Choice” these citywide ballots have become huge company wide initiatives drawing in thousands of votes. These can have multiple categories (restaurants, services, professionals) broken down into dozens of subcategories (best Korean restaurant, best tattoo parlor, favorite local fireman).

The Dothan Eagle’s “Best of the Wiregrass” metro ballot was a resounding success. They pulled in over 611,000 votes and collected over 7,000 email addresses for their database.

Run a Metro Ballot

High School Sports Award Ballot

No matter the city you live in, a high school sports ballot can be a year-round success in your community. People love the chance to campaign for their favorite schools. Categories can include anything from best quarterback and best cheerleading squad to favorite post-game hangout and best mascot.

The Signal’s high school sports ballot was sponsored by Providence Medical Institute, a brand new medical facility hoping to target the families in their community. Not only did the paper make $5,000 from the sponsorship, but the ballot also lead to over 31,000 votes and garnered 1,000+ email addresses for their database.

Run a High School Sports Ballot

Holiday Ballot

The holidays are perhaps one of the biggest spending months of the year for many of the businesses in your community. Being a featured business on your holiday ballot will present these companies with a great opportunity for increased brand awareness right during their biggest season.

The Roanoke Times ran their Best of Holiday Shopping Ballot featuring dozens of local businesses. The ballot included a variety of categories from Shopping Local to Bargain Hunting, and earned the paper over $70,000 in revenue from various sponsorship opportunities.

Run a Holiday Ballot

Wedding Ballot

Weddings are huge events and they drive a ton of spending. Plus, the consumers are changing year after year, so are always looking for new opportunities to get in front of their target audience.

As you create your bridal ballot, make sure that you cover every aspect of the wedding. From venues and florists to tux shops and DJs, there are a ton of categories you’ll want to include.

Run a Wedding Ballot

Food Ballot

People are passionate about their favorite foods, so ballots trying to crown the best will definitely draw in a big crowd. We’ve seen successful food ballots like “Best Food Truck” or “Best Burger” or even a “Best Andy’s Frozen Custard Topping” ballot.

Ottawa Daily Time’s Pizza Games ballot pitted dozens of local pizza joints up against each other for the title of best pizza. The ballot brought in over 2,500 votes from over 500 registered users.

Run a Food Ballot

Family Favorites Ballot

This is a great ballot idea to help you target a coveted, niche demographic including primary decision makers and families with children. Many advertisers are anxious for the opportunity to get in front of these consumers and show themselves as a partner to the families of their community.

Colorado Parent Magazine’s annual Family Favorites ballot is a big hit with their community and readers. This year, the ballot received nearly 10,000 votes. Plus, the magazine publishes the winner’s in a special issue that is sold later that year – and presents even more opportunities for selling advertising space.

Run a Family Favorite Ballot

Battle of the Bands Ballot

A Battle of the Bands ballot is the perfect way to showcase your local talent and also drum up new revenue from unique advertisers. When you’re looking for sponsors, consider concert venues and retail music shops that you may not normally work with.

The Sandusky Register had a lot of success with the Scott Gast Memorial Battle of the Bands ballot. Over 60 entries entered into the contest for a chance to be the opening band at a popular local event. The contest received over 1,600 votes.

Run a Battle of the Bands Ballot

Thematic Deep-Dive Ballot

From top doctors to top lawyers to even top local bachelors, these ballots allow you to cover a very specific category and target a niche audience.

The Coastal Virginia Magazine’s community ballot, the Giving Back Awards, highlights hundreds of local non-profits. By selling ballot sponsorships, offering sponsorships for their celebration event, and publishing a special issue featuring the winners, the ballot earned the magazine over $6,000 in revenue.

Run a Thematic Deep-Dive Ballot

There are tons of ballot ideas that can work in every community. If you’re not running a ballot, see which one you could add to your calendar.

Learn more about the Second Street Summit.