33 of Our Favorite Success Stories

by Matt Hummert Second Street

Top 20 Powerful Women Awards | Northern Nevada Business View

To highlight standout women in their community, Northern Nevada Business View ran a Top 20 Powerful Women Awards ballot and hosted a post-contest awards ceremony. The ballot gained 225 nominations and 12-thousand votes. Northern Nevada Business View included a link to purchase tickets to the awards ceremony on the nomination and voting ballot, which helped lead to over 700 attendees at the event.



Play of the Week | Chattanooga Times Free Press

The Chattanooga Times Free Press partnered with Georgia Northwestern Technical College to promote their online, evening and day classes with a high school sports video contest. The paper utilized weekly emails, print ads in their High School Preps and Best of Preps sections, and social media posts to identify and target students at 77 local high schools. The promotion collected 35 leads for Georgia Northwestern Technical College, a $10,000 revenue.

Play of the Week | Chattanooga Times Free Press


Dunkin’ Hot Spots 2019 | HOT 96.9

To heat up their freezing Bostonian listeners, HOT 96.9 partnered with Dunkin’ Donuts to run a multi-month sweepstakes promotion. Every month, one lucky participant won a trip, including hotel stay and airfare, to a ‘hot’ location like San Diego, Miami, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. In its four years, this campaign has brought in thousands of entries and over $350,000 in revenue.

dunkin hot spots hot 96.9


Subscription Email Campaign | Lawrence Journal-World

Lawrence Journal-World launched a robust digital subscription initiative with a heavy emphasis on email in the hopes of driving new revenue. They achieved their first month’s goal in just 9 days and now 53% of new subscriptions are attributed to email.


5th Grade Brain Test | The Philadelphia Inquirer

To promote their free Brain Health Fair event, The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a pre-event quiz which asked participants to challenge their brain knowledge with a 5th grade level test. The quiz was taken over 400 times and was a great way to build awareness about the event.

5th grade brain test philly


Hometown Heroes 2019 | Capital Journal

The Capital Journal asked their readers to nominate and vote for someone who had a positive impact on the people and quality of life in the area. The winners were honored at an awards event, where they presented plaques and certificates in recognition of their efforts to make the area a better place to live.

hometown heroes Capital Journal


Desert Sky Cute Baby of the Month | KVEW-TV

KVEW-TV put a great spin on the popular cutest baby contest by running them throughout the year, with different themes each month like summer, sports, and Halloween. The station secured one sponsor for the entire year of photo contests, which allowed them to focus on promoting the campaign. The contest consistently generates over 140 photo entries and nearly 90 opt-ins each month for the Women’s Healthcare sponsor.

Desert Sky Cute Baby of the Month | KVEW-TV


Ultimate Wedding Ballot | Pittsburgh Magazine

Pittsburgh Magazine invited readers to nominate and vote for their favorite wedding vendors from florists to venues and bakeries to bridal boutiques. The ballot gained over 16,000 votes, more than 1,000 opt-ins for the magazine, and collected user’s expected wedding date – which is great data for potential sponsors!



Crack the Code Sweepstakes | GateHouse Media

To drive single copy sales, GateHouse Media ran a codeword sweepstakes with a $150,000 prize amongst all their papers. The codeword was hidden on a specific page in an edition of local print publication and required participants to find the codeword for their chance to win. The campaign collected over 524,000 entries and increased their single copy sales by 3%, which equates to approximately $35,000 a week.

Crack the Code Sweepstakes | GateHouse Media


YMCA Baby Shark Contest | Record-Journal

The Record-Journal partnered with a local YMCA looking to find parents of kids looking for swim lessons and summer camps. They decided to capitalize on the phenomenon of the hit children’s song, Baby Shark, by hosting a video contest. Entrants shared a video of their little one singing or dancing to the song for a chance to win two months at YMCA’s Mountain Mist Day Camp. The contest received over 850 votes and identified people who were interested in joining the local YMCA.

YMCA Baby Shark Contest | Record-Journal


Poll: Thumbs up thumbs down on Cards blue uniform? | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch wanted to engage their audience of readers and grow their St. Louis Cardinals email newsletter. With this simple poll gauging interest of the Cardinals new uniforms, the Post-Dispatch collected over 2,000 responses and 1,000 opt-ins for their Cardinals newsletter.

StPD Poll cards uniform


Swipe Right for Your Pet Contest | The Pitch

Kansas City’s alternative publication, The Pitch, is known for their unique – and sometimes snarky – voice. They knew their readers were pet lovers but needed something more than just a Cutest Pets Contest. Instead, they held a Swipe Right for Your Pet Contest. To win the prize of a boudoir photoshoot for the owner, users submitted a photo of their pet and their ‘profile’ for a dating app. It was a huge hit with readers and provided incredible content after the contest ended.

Swipe Right for Your Pet Contest | the pitch


Morning Candys Ballot | KNDE-FM

KNDE-FM’s talk show, Morning Candy with Frito & Katy, ran a ballot with fun and unique categories like Best Smelling Business, Drive Thru Least Likely To Screw up Your Order, Most Influency Local Influencer, and even an award for Outstanding Achievement In Morning Candy Listenership (Listener of the Year.) It was a hit with nearly 700 nominations in 10 days, over 11,700 votes in the next two weeks, and KNDE gained more than 1,300 opt-ins for three different newsletter/email programs.

Morning Candys Ballot | KNDE-FM


Sioux Falls Mayoral Race | KSFY-TV

KSFY created a multi-question poll asking viewers to weigh in on their thoughts about the next Sioux Falls mayor and other election “matters.” This interactive poll was a great way for KSFY to educate their viewers on the upcoming election, while also growing their own email database. 3,400+ people participated in the poll, and KSFY added 500 new people to their email newsletter database.


Rugged Maniac Sweepstakes | The Columbus Dispatch

The Columbus Dispatch partnered with Rugged Maniac Obstacle Race Series to give away a four-pack of VIP tickets in a pre-event sweepstakes. The campaign collected nearly 1,600 entries and $1,000 in ticket sales. More than 300 people opted in for emails from Rugged Maniac, and The Columbus Dispatch gained almost 600 opt-ins for their newsletter.

The Columbus Dispatch rugged maniac (1)


Kentucky Orthodontics & Invisalign Giveaway | WLEX-TV

WLEX-TV hosted a sweepstakes with sponsor Kentucky Orthodontics & Invisalign to give away a complete invisalign treatment and follow-up appointments, a $6,200 value. The campaign collected more than 2,200 entries, and gained an average of 1,500 opt-ins for each of WLEX’s five newsletters. The sponsor included one lead-generation question in the promotion, “Did you have braces as a child or teen and your teeth have shifted back?” which identified nearly qualified 800 leads.

wlex ortho invisalign contest


Spring Outdoor Sweepstakes | West Kentucky Star

To kick off the spring season, the West Kentucky Star partnered with Hoyer Outdoor Equipment to give away a prize bundle of over $7,000. Almost 3,000 people entered the sweepstakes, nearly 1,700 entrants opt-ed in for emails for Hoyer, and over 2,100 opt-ed in for the West Kentucky Star newsletter. The contest utilized lead-generation questions and identified 156 leads for Hoyer, six of which turned into sales leading to over $40,000 in revenue.

Spring Outdoor Sweepstakes | West Kentucky Star


Southwick’s Zoo Quiz Bundle | WKLB-FM

*2018 Second Street Award – Best Quizzes
Southwick’s Zoo is a local Boston client who wanted to work with WKLB-FM through a digital campaign. WKLB started with a single quiz featuring images of animals at the zoo. The client saw such great results, they immediately expanded this into a three-month-long campaign featuring a new quiz each month. The quiz bundle turned into a $10,000 revenue win for WKLB.



Amazing Teachers Contest | Holland Sentinel

In the second year of their multi-month Amazing Teachers contest, Holland Sentinel received more than 100 nominations, a 50% opt-in rate for their email database, and $17,000 in revenue from a title sponsor and multiple event sponsors. Each month, they published a piece about the winning teacher which not only was this great content for readers, but it also drove more people to the on-going contest.

holland sen amazing teachers 2


Care Package for Soldiers Photo Sweepstakes | KIDK-TV

KIDK-TV hosted a photo sweepstakes to honor active military members in their community. They secured a local credit union to sponsor the contest and provide the prize of a care package to the winning soldier. Nearly 70 community members nominated their loved ones with a photo and nearly half of entrants opt-ed in for KIDK emails.


How Much Do You Know about the Blues? | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

When the St. Louis Blues advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran a quiz asking fans to test their Blues knowledge for a chance to win an autographed hockey puck. The quiz attracted 545,000+ page views, collected 1,800 entries, and drove over 900 opt-ins for the Post-Dispatch’s Blues newsletter.

stl post dispatch blues poll


Birthday Hangover Club | The Pitch

The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt-weekly, put a twist on the popular birthday email promotion. The morning after their birthday, subscribers receive a coupon for a post-birthday activity or treat. The Pitch secured a local bowling alley for their first year-long sponsor and, after only launching earlier this year, The Pitch has already added over 2,000 readers to the Birthday Hangover Club.

birthday hangover club the pitch


Pet vs. Furniture Photo Contest | WCAX-TV

This fun photo contest from WCAX-TV asked viewers to submit a photo of their furniture destroyed by their pet. They secured Ashley Homestore as a sponsor, who provided a new couch as prize. The contest collected nearly 130 entries, over 460 votes, and provided the WCAX team with tons of great content to use on-air.

Spring Outdoor Sweepstakes | West Kentucky Star


Chicago’s Merry Own | WGN-TV

WGN invested in a large-scale holiday-themed sweepstakes with BIG prizes (tickets to Blue Man Group, the Chicago Blackhawks, and more) to grow their existing database and their new birthday club list. This range of valuable prizes allowed WGN to attract a large and diverse group of users. They received more than 33,000 entries from over 14,000 people and added over 20,000 opt-ins to their new birthday list.


Raise the Roof | KNDE-FM

In College Station, Texas, KNDE-FM ran a sweepstakes for a chance to win $5,000 towards a new roof from sponsor, Aggieland Roofing. Over 250 homeowners entered, 206 opted-in for KNDE emails, and 173 opted-in for sponsor emails. The sponsor also gained valuable information through lead-generation questions, which identified 44 homeowners who wanted to be contacted directly for a roof inspection.

raise the roof KNDE


2018 Good Day Snow Day Giveaway Powered By Toro | WLUK-TV

WLUK, local station 11, gave away a Toro snowblower each day for 11 days on their morning show, Good Day Wisconsin. The sweepstakes drove watch time as the contest required viewers to watch the morning show each day and call-in if their name was announced as the winner on-air. WLUK received over 71,000 total contest entries (a WLUK record,) nearly 13,000 opt-ins for the station’s two newsletters, and almost $7,000 in revenue for the station.

Good Day Snow Day wluk


HighSchoolOT Honors | WRAL-TV

WRAL in Raleigh, NC hosted a Best of High School Athletes ballot for local high school athletes, sponsored by eight businesses. This campaign collected nearly 50,000 votes, grew WRAL’s email list 23% and earned the station $100,000 in revenue. The station and sponsors also hosted a post-contest event honoring the winners of the ballot. High school sports continue to be a great opportunity to drive big audiences and dollars all year long.

hsot header


Civics Test | KIDK-TV

*2018 Second Street Award – Best Programming or Editorial Campaign
While developing a story on the challenge of becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen, the team at KIDK-TV saw an opportunity to engage their local audience on this national news topic. They created a quiz to see if local viewers could pass the test themselves to highlight the difficulty of the real citizenship test. This became KIDK’s top news story for several weeks and collected 3,100 entries.



Hurricane Resources | WRAL-TV

*2018 Second Street Award – Best Single Email Winner

In response to Hurricane Florence, WRAL-TV out of Raleigh, NC, sent out a Hurricane Resource email to their general database. While they normally segment all email messages, the felt the content was valuable for all subscribers. The email provided much-needed resources and received a glowing response from the community, including a 25% open rate.


Hurricane Resources | WRAL-TV

Would Josh McDaniels be a good Hire for Colts? | Indianapolis Star

When Josh McDaniels was eyed for the Indianapolis Colts coach position, the Indianapolis Star polled their readers for their opinion. The one-question poll received over 8,300 entries, and the results provided great additional content for future articles.

josh colts poll


Iditarod Newsletter | Anchorage Daily News

Anchorage Daily News covered the annual Iditarod Trail Dog race with two weeks of daily email updates. Over 3,000 people opt-ed in for the updates and the newsletter had an average open-rate of 53%.

Iditarod Newsletter | Anchorage Daily News


Harbor Eye Vision Health Quiz Bundle | Seacoast Media Group

*2018 Second Street Award – Campaign of the Year, Best Advertiser Campaign
Harbor Eye Vision Health, a local eye care center, was looking for new potential clients. Utilizing opt-ins and lead-generating survey questions, this multi-month quiz bundle sent over 1,500 visitors to the Harbor Eye website each month for three months. Harbor Eye also put up a prize of a six month supply of Revitalash for one lucky quiz-taker to encourage participation. This resulted in over 250 new patients, which is more than $20,000 in revenue over a patient’s lifetime.

seacoast-media-eyecare-quiz (1)


Me and My GrillFriend Photo Contest | KXLY-TV

The team at KXLY-TV asked viewers to share a photo of themselves and their barbecue grills for a chance to win a new Traeger grill. Synced with Father’s Day and the Fourth of July, the contest collected more than 40 hilarious photos and gathered nearly 500 votes for their favorite. The promotion also brought in over 230 opt-ins for each of KXLY’s three newsletters and 220 opt-ins for the sponsor.

WXLY Grillfriend


Birthday Emails | Aberdeen American News

The Aberdeen American News utilized their existing database to launch an email birthday club and drive new revenue. The emails are driving a consistent 40% open rate and delivering $15,000 in annual revenue for the paper.



This list is just a handful of the promotions and email success stories from this year. From media companies to niche publications, these ideas are great to engage your audience, grow your database, and secure even more revenue.