13 Strategies for Getting More Money Out of Current Initiatives

by Liz Huff Second Street

Bucket 1: Things that continue as they always have

Good news – Some of your coverage will not be restricted by COVID! Contests and interactive content tied to your regularly scheduled content is a great way to enhance your brand and drive database growth.

1. Weather
Take your teams’ dedication to informing your audience on weather changes and severe weather precautions to another level. Layer in another piece to further inform your audience and create sponsorship opportunities.

WDTV-TV used this photo contest to collect pet photos from their audience. These photos were then shared during the daily weather updates, which was a fun way to connect with viewers and brighten their days. The station successfully partnered with a local car dealership which hadn’t done business with them in years, which generated $10,000 in revenue. Utilizing email opt-ins and lead-generation questions the station provided 17 leads for the advertiser.

WDTV-TV Dog Walking Photo Contest

2. Severe Weather Coverage
Your team is already working to provide severe weather coverage to your audience. Take that and layer in another piece to enhance that content and create a sponsorship opportunity.

WJXT-TV signed a six-month campaign with Ace Hardware to do just that. For the first three months, the campaign focused on landscaping and the station’s meteorologist shot segments at Ace Hardware locations. They then pivot to hurricane preparedness as Florida heads into hurricane season! With interactive content like quizzes, the station created a fun way to educate their audience and a huge sponsorship opportunity that generated over $40,000!

WJXT-TV Green SpACE photo contest

3. Special Sections
Don’t limit your Top 20 Professionals Under 40, Most Remarkable Women, or Hometown Heroes content to an editorial piece. You know when they are coming up and have time to plan ahead so utilize promotions to do something creative to connect with your audience.

This ‘Most Remarkable Women’ ballot from Tahoe Daily Tribune is a great example of using promotions to enhance your special section. They created this ballot to celebrate local women making a difference in their community. The paper secured four sponsors including the Tahoe Women’s Community Fund, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Advance, and Remax.

Tahoe Daily Tribune most remarkable women ballot

4. Existing Initiatives
Promotions are a fantastic way to add something special to your established initiatives. Whether your company is focusing on pet adoption, holidays, weddings, or heart health, you can use promotions to enhance that work.

This cutest pet photo contest from WAVY-TV was a great way to extend their existing pet adoption initiative and created an opportunity for advertiser revenue. The station secured four local advertisers to sponsor the campaign, an HVAC company, an auto dealer, pet care facility, and a yankee candle.

WAVY-TV Cutest Pet Photo Contest

5. Programming
Promotions can generate even more engagement for your regularly planned programming/content. Think of all the opportunities you have to offer your audience when it comes to award shows, artist coverage, or album releases!

For country station WPAW-FM, the Country Music Awards is already a big conversation topic for their station. So instead of just talking about the CMAs, WPAW created a ballot asking listeners to say who they thought should win Entertainer of the Year. This was an excellent way for the audience to make their voice heard and gave the station even more to talk about on-air around their coverage of the big event.

WPAW-FM CMA ballot

6. Holiday Programming
Your team is most likely already making content for each big holiday, which is a great chance to use promotions to capture audience data and build your database.

The Southeast Missourian’s Scared of Santa photo contest was a fun and festive way to engage their audience of families for the holiday. It was also a fantastic chance for their advertiser to reach local families. Not only did they provide the advertiser over 600 email options, but the paper earned $9,000 in revenue from our partnership with Southeast HEALTH.

Scared of Santa photo contest

Bucket 2: New opportunities that have surfaced since COVID

There are tons of new ways you can give back to your loyal audience by focusing on community connection and feel-good stories using promotions.

7. Recognize Local Heroes
While these have been popular before COVID, we’ve seen a surge in their popularity since the pandemic began. Local media companies can use promotions like ballots and photo contests to celebrate local heroes such as nurses, teachers, and essential workers.

This campaign from Metrofamily Magazine and their sponsoring heart hospital is a particularly heart-warming success. The magazine asked readers to create a heart-themed craft with a message and share a photo via their Draw Your Heart Out photo contest. Then, they took those images and displayed them across the hospital.

MetroFamily Magazine heart photo contest

8.COVID-based Content
Your audience is hungry for legitimate information on COVID, and they are coming to you. Be that source of information and deliver it in a fun and engaging way. We have ready-made COVID turnkeys you can easily get running.

The Herald Mail used the Coronavirus quiz turnkey to educate their audience. They even secured an auto dealer to sponsor the quiz. On the entry form, they included three lead-generation questions to learn about users and provide a lead list for the advertisers. This campaign generated $3,000 in sponsorship revenue for the paper.

Herald Mail Coronavirus Quiz

9. Community Boards
We love seeing our partners use community boards to highlight local businesses. Community boards allow you to easily feature businesses and share information such as their website, important updates, or a special promotion.

The Park Record used a community bulletin board for businesses to share their hours of operation & their plans during COVID-19. They even secured the Park City Chamber of Commerce to sponsor the board!

Park Record community board

10.Newsletter Series
Email is one of the absolute best ways to connect with your audience. You can easily turn your continuing COVID content into a newsletter series and find new revenue opportunities.

That is exactly what the Southeast Missourian did with their Coronavirus Newsletter. It was an immediate hit with 700 opt-ins on the first day it launched. They partnered with two local healthcare providers who sponsored the campaign and generated $15,000 in revenue for the paper!

Southeast Missourian Coronavirus newsletter

Bucket 3: Traditional events that have been disrupted or canceled

With social-distancing limitations, your audience is missing out on in-person activities like sports and events. This means there is a pent up demand for content that can scratch that itch. Promotions are the perfect solution to engage this audience and drive more revenue from advertisers.

11. Sports Coverage
Local media companies typically cover a range of high school and pro sports. With COVID, your audience, talent, and content teams are missing that sports coverage. Promotions allow you to engage local sports-fans, add layers to your coverage, and create sponsorship opportunities!

When the annual college basketball tournament was cancelled, Lawrence Journal World created this voting-bracket to save advertising dollars. A local credit union sponsored the campaign, which was great for growing brand awareness in the area.

 Lawrence Journal World Self Madness brackt

12. Home and Garden Coverage
With COVID limiting in-person events, your audience is certainly missing out on local home and garden shows. We’re seeing a ton of partners shift those events online which creates new opportunities for sponsors.

This home rejuvenation sweepstakes from WKDZ-FM received record engagement for the station. The sweepstakes promoted their expo event, which was shifted from in-person to online. The station adapted their event sponsor advertiser packages to work on their digital platform.

WKDZ-FM home rejuventation sweepstakes

13. Weddings
The wedding industry has been incredibly disrupted by COVID, but these businesses are still competing for customers. Your wedding issue or special section is a fantastic way to drive advertiser revenue. Utilize promotions to enhance your wedding content and engage your audience in a fun new way.

This Best of Mississippi Weddings ballot from Mississippi Magazine engaged the ever-revolving group of engaged couples. The ballot included eight categories such as attire, venues, catering, printed goods, and wedding professionals. To encourage participation, everyone who participated was entered to win a $250 cash prize. Over 4,500 nominations and 43,300 votes were collected, and the magazine generated nearly $10,000 in revenue from campaign sponsorships.

Wedding ballot from Mississippi Magazine

Have questions on how to drive more revenue from your local media company’s current initiatives? Check out our session from the Second Street Summit for more details on these examples of contests and interactive content!