3 Ways to Use Promotions to Tell Richer Stories

by Ellen Trunk Second Street


Polls are an excellent way to enhance just about any content on your site. Not only are they simple enough to embed in an article, but they’re a great way to quickly get your audience’s opinion on a topic.

When many lawmakers began proposing the controversial idea of arming teachers as a way to help combat the rise in school shootings, the Clarion Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi had a lot of coverage on the topic. Embedding a poll within their website coverage, the paper asked their viewers to tell them what they thought about the new proposal. More than 2,200 people voiced their opinion.

clarion armed gun teachers poll 2

USA Today publishes videos and articles about the favorite late-night comedian punchlines about the week’s top news headlines. Recently, they started adding a poll to let their readers weigh-in on their favorites. These polls are getting thousands of participants each week.

usa today punchlines poll


While ballots can be used to enhance existing content, they really thrive in generating brand new content for your site. Based on the results, you’ll see what your audience values most and, in turn, be able to create videos, articles, or special segments about these topics.

WDIV-TV has turned their citywide ballot unto a year-round content powerhouse. With an annual major citywide ballot and additional monthly ballots, they turn the results of their ballots into articles and on-air content all the time. On National Beer Day, they published an article about the top local breweries including a link to the ballot winners’ page.

wdiv beer ballot content

In St. Louis, the start of spring means fish fry season. These extremely popular Friday night church and community dinners attract huge crowds, and people are passionate about which local business puts on the best one. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Fish Fry Face-Off ballot had more than 1,500 people nominating and voting for the best. This turned into fantastic content in-print and on the paper’s website.

stlpd fish fry face off ballot 3


Quizzes are a fun way to both enhance existing content or create standalone content on your site. Whether you choose a personality or trivia quiz, this versatile tool can be used for virtually any topic.

Sports radio station, WEEI in Boston has found great success using quizzes as content on their site. With ever media company in the area publishing similar stories about the top Boston sports news, quizzes are letting WEEI stand out amongst the clutter. The station has turned these quizzes into database builders as well – their Patriots Super Bowl quiz brought in 500 email addresses for their Patriots newsletter.

WEEI Patriots' Quiz

With Seattle gearing up for the election of their new mayor, Seattle Weekly created a personality quiz matching users to the candidate they were most like. While every news station was trying to get out information about the candidates, Seattle Weekly was able to present the info in a unique way that engaged their readers.

seattle weekly candidate election quiz

No matter the topic, a promotion is a great way to take your content to the next level. Whether you’re looking for something to stand on its own or complement existing content on your site, a quiz, ballot, or poll can be a great addition to your website.

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