[COVID WINS] 19 Big Revenue Success Stories

by Liz Huff Second Street

Virtual Home and Garden Show

KXRA-FM | Alexandria, MN

Due to COVID, the team at KXRA turned their annual Home and Garden Show into a virtual event. Participating businesses got a virtual booth with their own sweepstakes for lead-gen and database growth. This creative spin helped them retain $70,000 from a nearly-cancelled event and provide over 2,500 leads for the sponsors.

KXRA-FM virtual spring home and garden show

Wild & Wonderful Summer Getaway Giveaway

WV Living Magazine | Granville, WV

A local resort and brewing company wanted to promote their reopening after closing due to COVID restrictions. The team at WV Living Magazine put together a sweepstakes for a trip for two to the resort. This prize attracted their target audience and delivered 2,000+ hot leads with the lead-gen questions and email opt-ins. The magazine secured $2,500 in advertiser revenue from the campaign.

Wild & Wonderful Summer Getaway Giveaway

Just Between Friends North Idaho Fall 2020 Giveaway

KXLY-TV | Spokane, WA

KXLY created a ticket and gift certificate sweepstakes to help promote their sponsor’s upcoming resale event. With COVID putting so many events into uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to find creative ways to promote one when it happens. With the email opt-in, the sponsor added 200 people to their database to contact about the upcoming event. The station brought in $2,000 in sponsorship revenue.

Sweepstakes perfect for promoting covid-friendly event

Community Photo Galleries

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Pittsburgh, PA

As communities have rallied around the pandemic, campaigns to support our local heroes have become even more popular. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran two photo gallery campaigns – ‘Saluting Those Who Served’ highlighting local veterans and ‘Faces of Courage’ celebrating healthcare professionals, first responders, essential workers, and volunteers. Businesses love aligning themselves with community promotions. After securing multiple sponsors, the paper brought in $35,000 in sponsorship revenue.

Community Galleries Drive BIG Revenue

Best of the Pines Ballot

The Pilot | Southern Pines, NC

The Pilot’s Best of the Pines ballot runs every year, but with COVID the paper wasn’t sure how successful they would be in 2020. They set a goal of $130,000 and focused their sponsorship efforts on industries which had been relatively unaffected by the pandemic. This year’s Best Of drove $148,000 – a 38% increase over the year before. In fact it was so successful, they’re planning a spinoff campaign in January.

Best Of the Pines Ballot

Pro Football Pick’em

Leighton Broadcasting | St. Cloud, MN

Despite the ever-changing football season, Leighton Broadcasting still planned on this as a revenue-generating opportunity for their stations. Combining three of their markets, they sold the sponsorship of their Pro Football Pick’em contest to Coors Light and a local auto dealer. This mult-market campaign generated $45,000 in revenue and curated content for their sports stations.

coors light pro football pick'em

Spice Hunter Quiz

St. Louis Magazine | St. Louis, MO

St. Louis Magazine created this multi-platform campaign for their advertiser, Spice Hunter, a brand of cooking spices. The campaign included two trivia quizzes, content with recipes from local chefs featuring Spice Hunter products, and two dedicated emails to the magazines’ database. Not only did this campaign drive exposure for the sponsor, but it also generated $17,000 in revenue for the magazine.

Spice Hunter Campaign

Chewelah Golf and Country Club Giveaway 2020

KXLY-TV | Spokane, WA

While many activities were cancelled due to COVID, golfing was one pastime that generally continued as normal. KXLY put together a simple sweepstakes to win a golf experience for four for a local golf and country club. The contest drove 900 entries and added over 420 opt-ins to the country club’s database. Plus, the station generated $1,600 in revenue.

Golf sweepstakes secures leads and revenue

Best of West Virginia 2020
WV Living Magazine | Granville, WV

For the first time, WV Living Magazine sold sponsorships like group and category ads and enhanced listings for their annual Best of West Virginia campaign. Not only did the ballot collect over 58,000 nominations and nearly 200,000 votes from readers (a huge jump from the previous year’s results), but it also generated over $14,000 in sponsorship revenue for the magazine.

Best of West Virginia 2020

What Should You Get Your Mom for Mother’s Day? Quiz
The Pilot | Southern Pines, NC

The Pilot utilized this ‘What Should You Get Your Mom For Mother’s Day?’ turnkey quiz to create a fantastic opportunity to drive exposure for local advertisers during COVID. They secured five industry-exclusive sponsors and crafted each of the quiz results to tie in with one of the advertisers. The paper secured $1,500 from this campaign and generated a great list of leads for local businesses during an especially hard time.

The Pilot Mother's Day Quiz

Best of MS Weddings
Mississippi Magazine | Jackson, MS

Wedding businesses were greatly affected by COVID and needed opportunities to stay top of mind with their target audience. Mississippi Magazine launched their annual Best of MS Weddings ballot campaign during the pandemic. While this ballot is currently live, the magazine is on track to surpass last year’s $10,000 in sponsorship revenue.

Best of MS Weddings Ballot

Happy, Warm & Satisfied Sweepstakes
KCLD-FM | St. Cloud, MN

KCLD-FM partnered with a local HVAC company for this great lead-generation sweepstakes campaign. With a prize of a new unit valued over $4,000, the station knew the contest would attract homeowners in need of a new furnace. They also utilized extra chances for referring a friend and liking the sponsor’s Facebook Page to drive more participation. It was a fantastic way for the advertiser to identify leads, and the station generated $1,500 in revenue.

Happy, Warm & Satisfied Sweepstakes

Best of Local High School Sports Ballot
KNSI-FM/AM | St. Cloud, MN

This Best of Local High School Sports ballot included ten categories to spotlight local sports in St. Cloud, MN. The KNSI team secured a local construction and remodeling company as the title sponsor as well as multiple supporting sponsors. For each category a school won, the title sponsor provided a donation to the school’s athletic department. This three-phase ballot generated $2,220 in revenue for our station.

Best of Local High School Sports Ballot

Incredible Kids Photo Contest
Austin Monthly | Austin, TX

This monthly contest from Austin Monthly, sponsored by a local university medical facility, selects one outstanding Austin-area kid to spotlight. Each month’s winner receives a different prize, such as a day at the ballpark for four from the sponsor. Not only was this a great way to engage their community of parents and families, but the campaign also generated $30,000 in for the magazine!

Incredible Kids Contest

Fido’s Photo Contest 2020
Santa Barbara Independent | Santa Barbara, CA

The Santa Barbara Independent ran this fun photo contest with a local dog trainer, K-9 Solutions. Photo contests are always a great way to engage pet parents and identify leads for pet-related sponsors. The contest received over 400 votes and 107 responded yes to “I would like to receive information from K-Nine Solutions on training, events, and dog care tips.” To top it off, the alt-weekly generated $1,500 sponsorship revenue.

Dog Photo Contest Drives Leads

Be Well 2020 Campaign
St. Louis Magazine | St. Louis, MO

Due to COVID restrictions, St. Louis Magazine had to get creative to adapt their annual in-person health and fitness event, Be Well Boot Camp. The magazine pivoted to a virtual event to allow readers to still experience different fitness classes and generate exposure for the vendors. They utilized Event Sign-Ups for an easy way to collect RSVPs. This reimagined event retained the $27,000 in revenue from the sponsor, Missouri Baptist Medical Center, and – as going virtual resulted in reduced overhead costs – they increased their profit margin!

Be Well 2020: Giveaways

Home Free for a Year Sweepstakes
The Pilot | Southern Pines, NC

The Pilot capitalized on the huge opportunity of the Second Street National Sweepstakes to drive leads for a local realtor. This real estate agent had never spent with this paper before and sponsored the campaign for $3,000. With an email opt-in and lead-gen questions, the campaign added nearly 400 new leads to the sponsor’s database. The advertiser was so pleased with their results they’ve signed on to sponsor again next year!

Home Free for a Year sweepstakes entry page

STL Closet Factory Giveaway
St. Louis Magazine | St. Louis, MO

With a huge home improvement boom during COVID, the team at St. Louis Magazine pitched the idea of a promotion to Closet Factory. The magazine included three lead-generation questions on the entry form and asked the user for permission to contact about a free in-home or virtual estimate (what a great way to adapt with COVID restrictions!) This led to a fantastic list of 52 leads requesting to be contacted for an estimate from the sponsor. The magazine brought in $1,500 in advertiser revenue for this campaign.

STL Closet Factory Giveaway

Best of KC 2020
The Pitch | Kansas City, MO

Despite the pandemic, The Pitch recognized that their Best Of would bring about the branding and awareness many local businesses needed right now. The alternative magazine secured a title sponsor (a local medical spa) and also sold group ads, category ads, and enhanced listings. This year’s Best Of KC brought in 63,000 nominations, 665,000 votes, and added over 8,000 emails to their email lists. Plus, they brought in $40,000 in digital revenue – an increase over last year!

Best Of Ballot drives BIG Revenue


While COVID-19 has affected all of our companies, don’t think of this as a time to wait to make your next sale. Remember, promotions deliver the results your advertisers need right now. When you can show them ROI, they’ll be willing and eager to pay for it – even during a pandemic.

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