Why Broadcast Needs to Run Ballots, Plus 5 Themes to Get You Started

by Liz Huff Second Street

Sports Awards

You are likely already running sports programming on air, so a high school, college, or pro sports ballot is a great way to add an online component that will keep your audience engaged. Even if the actual broadcast is not on your air, your sports department is already talking about football or basketball all week long – so add a ballot to get your reporters and your viewers even more excited. Even if you are already running a football pick’em or basketball bracket, a sports ballot can help you reach a more diverse audience. You don’t need to stop at football or basketball either – you can run a ballot around any locally beloved sports team.

Check out how WRAL’s high-school sports ballot delivered 200% opt-in growth and 15% revenue growth in just 3 years!

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Year-End Best of Content

As you are pulling together your year-end Best Of content, ask your viewers for their favorites. A ballot with categories like Favorite News Story of the Year, Favorite Feel-Good Story of the Year, Biggest Weather Event of the Year, and so on will involve your audience in the selection process and keep them more actively engaged with your on-air content. You could even have your on-air team vote and then compare their picks to those chosen by your viewers!

Entertainment Programming

As you are promoting local and national network programming, have fun with it. Choose those top network programs each season and launch a ballot around them with categories like Best Character, Best Episode, and more. This helps ensure that your audience is actively involved in the second screen experience. Plus, promote the ballot when you are promoting the show and get extra exposure for the ballot!


Family Favorites

Are you producing entertainment and “around town” segments or sponsoring local events? Reinforce your family-friendly brand with a Family Favorites ballot targeting local families with children to see what your viewers are thinking. What is their favorite thing to do with their kids on summer break? Where is the best spot to take out of town guests?

Best Of

Metro best of ballots aren’t just for newspapers! These promotions are the perfect way to target a wide variety of local businesses, and they can bring in serious revenue as a result. They are also are a great way to engage smaller advertisers that aren’t already spending with your station. There is a ton of sponsorship revenue potential for these types of promotions – think about reaching out to your local Chamber of Commerce or Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Learn how WDIV-TV turned a single ‘Best of’ ballot into an annual program driving a million dollars and thousands of email opt-ins.


Ballots an excellent way to engage your entire broadcast audience and allow you to leverage that data for future targeted campaigns. Ready to get started with your ballot? Check out our guide for ballot best practices.

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