15 Ways Media Companies are Using Promotions Around COVID-19

by Julie Foley Second Street

Pet Employee of the Week Photo Contest

Nashville Scene | Nashville, TN

With many now working from home, pets have become something like co-workers. Nashville Scene encouraged their readers to share a photo of their new ‘employees’ in this weekly photo contest. The photo with the most votes each week wins a shout out on the Scene’s social media sites, along with gift cards and prizes. So far, the campaign has collected 130 pet photos, over 700 votes, and is continuing to grow the magazine’s email list!

Pet Employee of the Week Photo Contest Nashville Scene

Thank You Healthcare Professionals Photo Contest

KPRC-TV | Houston, TX
KPRC developed this photo campaign to celebrate local healthcare workers during the Coronavirus pandemic. The station asked viewers to share a photo of a healthcare worker they love (or themselves) so the community could thank them for their service.

Thank You Healthcare Professionals Photo Contest KPRC-TV |

Coronavirus Quiz

Herald Mail | Hagerstown, MD
In place of their originally planned College Hoops promotion, The Herald Mail used this turnkey Coronavirus quiz to quickly educate and entertain their audience on the Coronavirus. To drive quiz engagement, they gave away $50 gas gift cards to five randomly selected users. The paper secured two local auto dealerships to sponsor the campaign and generated $3,000 in revenue! The advertisers received branding on campaign materials and valuable customer information through lead-generation questions.

Coronavirus Quiz Herald Mail

Kids Art Assignment Photo Contest

KPRC-TV | Houston, TX
KPRC has created a daily art ‘assignment’ campaign to engage their audience and their children during this time at-home. Each morning, the station announces the art assignment for the day on-air, such as ‘under the sea’, or ‘dogs’, and asks viewers to share their children’s art. During the late afternoon newscast, they show off some of the submitted artworks and promote the daily campaign. Then, the art submitted is repurposed into additional station content, which also further promotes the campaign. The campaign consistently brings in over one hundred entries each day!

Kids Art Assignment Photo Contest KPRC-TV

Nurses Who Rock Photo Contest

WCSX-FM | Detroit, MI
WCSX-FM used this Nurses Who Rock photo contest to showcase and celebrate nurses in Detroit during this pandemic. They asked their listeners to nominate a local nurse they’d like to publicly recognize. One randomly selected user won a $150 Family Feast from a sponsoring local pizza restaurant for their nominated nurse. On the registration form, the station collected valuable audience information, as well as email opt-ins for their promotions email list and food-specific newsletter.

Nurses Who Rock Photo Contest WCSX-FM

What Should You Do at Home With Your Kids and Family? Bracket

WRAL-TV | Raleigh, NC
To capitalize on all the newfound time at home, WRAL used this turnkey bracket to give their viewers a fun way to decide on their next family activity while growing their family-targeted email list. In addition to opt-ins for three different newsletters, the station included three lead-generation questions they could use to inspire future content for their subscribers.

What Should You Do at Home With Your Kids and Family? Bracket WRAL-TV

Restaurant Roll Call Survey

KKBQ-FM | Pasadena, TX
In an effort to encourage their listeners to support local restaurants, KKBQ created this promotion. They asked local restaurants to share their information, including their name, website, Facebook page, and if they are open for carry out/delivery/drive-thru. Then, their information is included in a list of ‘Restaurants that would love to see you’ hosted on the station’s site and shared on-air.

Restaurant Roll Call Survey KKBQ-FM

Coronavirus Quiz

WVNS-TV | Lewisburg, WV
Within their news content on the Coronavirus, WVNS-TV included this turnkey quiz within their sidebar. The quiz provides an additional format for their programming team to educate their audience on this important topic. It was a great way to further engage and educate their audience without driving traffic away from their website.

Coronavirus Quiz WVNS-TV

Metro Diner Gift Card Sweepstakes

WPOI-FM | Tampa, FL
This sweepstakes from WPOI was a fantastic idea to promote these new and needed services and drive sales for their advertising restaurant. To drive participation, they gave away a $50 gift card to one random user. The campaign highlighted the restaurants’ online pick-up, delivery, and curbside-pickup services.

Metro Diner Gift Card Sweepstakes WPOI-FM

Quarantourney Bracket

KKFN-FM | Denver, CO
KKFN-FM, a Denver sports station, didn’t let the delayed start of the Major League Baseball season get in the way of their bracket fun. Instead, they ran an All-Time Greatest Baseball Movie bracket and asked listeners to vote for their favorites. They included an email opt-in on the registration page to grow their database of interested users. This is a fantastic example of how local media companies can adapt to the situation and still engage their audience.

Quarantourney Bracket KKFN-FM

Neighborhood Heroes Ballot

WRAL-TV | Raleigh, NC
WRAL-TV utilized a ballot to highlight outstanding community members in their area. They created this Neighborhood Heroes campaign to spotlight people making a difference in their communities. They created five categories for nominations; Educator, First Responder, Health Care Worker, Local Business Owner. They also included a Neighbor category as catchall for community heroes who didn’t fit in those categories. The entrants and their stories are then shared on-air!

Neighborhood Heroes Ballot WRAL-TV

Home Office Photo Contest

The Pilot | Southern Pines, NC
The Pilot ran this photo contest to engage their readers who are now working from home, sponsored by a recreation venue and two local retailers. The newspaper asked their readers to share a photo of their new home office for a chance to win a $100 gift card. By structuring the contest to include a voting round, the paper was able to generate even more engagement and opt-ins for their three email lists.

Home Office Photo Contest The Pilot

Binge Bracket

WMGC-FM | Detroit, MI
Everyone is binge-watching something these days, and most people have strong opinions about what shows they’ve watched. WMGC created this bracket of popular shows and asked their audience to vote for their favorites for a chance to win a $50 gift card for streaming services. Not only did the head-to-head competition of fan-favorites generate great engagement, but it also gave their audience an opportunity to discover new shows.

Binge Bracket WMGC-FM

COVID-19 Polls

WTNH-TV | New Haven, CT
WTNH is incorporating polls into their Coronavirus-related content to further engage their audience. They’ve polled their audience on a variety of things such as their plans to order takeout, if they’re hopeful schools will reopen, and their concerns about the latest news. Not only is this a chance to give their audience a way to connect at-home, but the poll results also provide a prime opportunity to create additional content.

Coronavirus Polls WTNH-TV

Food Hub Ballot

WLHK-FM | Shelbyville, IN
This station utilized a ballot to showcase local restaurants and their take-out and delivery options. They asked these businesses to submit their information and displayed the entrants on their website. They gave entrants the opportunity to display a ton of extra details up front, which helped both the restaurants and the users looking to make an order.

Food Hub Ballot WLHK-FM

Looking for more ideas? Check out these 11 Creative Ways to Keep Your Audience Engaged.

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