Third Times the Charm for Forsyth County News

by Vince Johnson The Sumter Item

Case Study Highlights

  • Generated more than $200,000 in revenue for over 100% growth YOY
  • Hosted first-time event with 500 attendees and multiple sponsorships
  • Garnered 8 new advertisers who are now investing $50,000 a year

*Editor’s Note: This citywide metro ballot was a finalist in the 2016 Second Street Awards.

The Idea

Forsyth County News is a small-market paper with a circulation of 12,000. A tri-weekly, it aims to deliver the best print and digital news platforms to residents of Georgia’s fast-growing, most-affluent, and healthiest county.

Other publications have been running ballots for years, but our Best of Forsyth has proven itself as a leader with its third year of voting and, yet again, increased revenue.

With the conclusion of our third annual ballot, we have seen valuable success in readership, sponsorship, and revenue. Here’s how we went above and beyond the first two runs with the 2017 Best of Forsyth ballot.

The Execution

Beginning in October of 2016, members of the community voted for their favorite restaurants, salons, attorneys, gyms, and more. Getting the community engaged and giving businesses their chance to advertise was a win-win for Forsyth.

Best of Forsyth ballot

It was also a positive for us at Forsyth County News, as we received more than 7,500 email opt-ins from voters as they signed up to vote and receive further updates.

We sold sponsorships ranging from $499 to $20,000 that included expanded listings, banner ads on the site, daily site backgrounds on, and email ads. We also sold packages of print and online ads that promoted individual nominees during the nomination and voting periods, and added event sponsorships to the packages, which was a large area of growth from the previous year.

After the voting and nomination periods in the Fall, we announced the 243 winners in January. But rather than just featuring winners in a special edition magazine as we did last year, we decided to go one step further.

We enhanced the ballot experience this year with the Best of Forsyth: Red Carpet Event. It was a success, with 500 attendees and a plethora of added opportunities for sponsors to advertise. Not only were there enhanced listings, banner ads, and category sponsors online, there was also a title sponsor for the event and other event sponsors. We also generated revenue through direct ticket sales.

Winners were invited to accept their award and were given a window cling and a plaque at this event; these are both pieces of recognition they may display to let customers know what they have accomplished.

For us, Best Of Forsyth is a year-round event. Advertisers are constantly talking to us about their win, planning on how to win it next year, and raving about the many new customers Best Of has brought to them. To maintain the excitement, we include Best Of in a prominent space on our website and in our daily email newsletter year-round.

We also published a glossy magazine that features the winners and highlights more sponsors; this, in turn, creates further revenue for us and our clients.

First Time Charleston's Choice Ballot

The Results

The 2017 Best of Forsyth ballot brought us over $200,000 in direct revenue, which more than doubled our total from last year’s ballot. It far outshines any other promotion we have run before.

The ballot received a total of 230,258 votes within the 243 categories. In addition, we generated a total of over 7,500 email opt-ins. We also had a 100% increase in sales as a result of the ballot.

First Time Charleston's Choice Ballot

Our brand is larger than ever before, with local businesses viewing us as a distinguished authority in our community. They proudly hang window clings and banners in their windows to let the community know that they are one of Forsyth’s best.

Best Of has only grown through the years after beginning in 2015, doubling in both audience in revenue each consecutive year.

First Time Charleston's Choice Ballot

With the constant buzz around the contest, as well as having Forsyth’s largest black-tie event a year under our belt, we can only imagine what the next versions of Best of Forsyth contest may bring.

Learn more about the Second Street Summit.