Creating a “Best of” Campaign

One of the neatest and surprisingly easiest ways we’ve seen to engage with your local community is to offer a “Best of” campaign on your radio station website. These are created for your listeners to submit and/or vote on their favorite local businesses like restaurants, auto service shops, coffee shops, best pizza, etc. It’s sure to generate a buzz on-air and through social channels… not to mention revenue.

Before you begin with the online assets, think ahead to the winners. What will they receive? Each winner should receive some visible accolade they can display in their lobby for customers to see. We suggest a banner, plaque, or a nicely printed page inside a frame. Of course, this will include your radio station logo, links, etc. Each winner should also be recognized individually in social media posts, Youtube videos by your air talent, etc. Do whatever you can do to make it enticing for them to join and to potentially sponsor.

You can include all of this in a rules and guidelines section in place that covers everything from call to submissions, voting, etc. Think of every possible scenario that could go wrong and have guidelines in place so that everyone is on the same page. You don’t want to ruin a client relationship due to a miscommunication or misunderstanding.

We’re joined by Michael Brannon, Executive Video President for Radio Alabama.  They have several radio stations across Alabama as well as news and sports websites.  Each year they run a popular “Best of the Coosa Valley” campaign.  Check it out hereThe service they are using is SecondSteet (now known as “Upland”): https://uplandsoftware.com/secondstreet. However, you can use your own tools to achieve the same results.

Need a list of categories to start with? Download this PDF.

Steps for creating your online “Best of” campaign:

Step #1: Create a form for business submissions.
Unless you live in a very small market and know all of the businesses that you’ll be including in your “best of” polls, you will want to open a call for submissions. This will extend the length of the promotion and help to build buzz before the actual voting begins.  Either way, it’s good to let the businesses know that you’re including them in the polling because some businesses may not be willing to participate.

Step #2: Create the “Best Of” page for the information, sponsors, and the call for submissions form.
You should include all relevant information and images here. Include links to sponsors, when the final votes will be tabulated, what the winners receive, etc.

Also, be sure to include name, email, and phone fields in case the business would be interested in advertising (increasing their exposure) during the “best of” voting time period.

Step #3: Tabulate the submissions.
You should be able to keep track as votes are being submitted. After an established period of time, tabulate the votes and decide on your top 3 or 5 in each category.

Step #4: Create a voting form or polls.
There are several ways to do this. You can create several polls (one for each category), several forms (one for each category), or one large voting form with multiple choices for each category.

Ensure that there are methods in place to prohibit multiple voting like cookie or IP address detection in case some visitors do not want to play fair.

Consider including a payoff for each submission like a truly valuable sponsor coupon or multiple coupons. This will appear once the person submits the form/poll.

Step #5: Replace the submissions form with the voting form/polls on your “Best of” page. 

Do this on the day official voting starts. Be sure to conclude voting on the specified day/time.

Step #6: Display the results & promote the winners.

From there, you’ll want to display the results, so you’ll go back to the promotions page you made, remove all the polls, and add the results. Instead of simple text results, consider displaying image cards that can be shared by the winners via their social media channels right away.

Consider setting up on-air interviews with the winners as well. Perhaps having the morning show calling each winning business to announce them as the winner before it’s displayed online.

Make a plan to promote the “Best Of” campaign heavily each day on-air and online.

This kind of promotion will surely generate a large influx of visitors, so ensure you have a proper hosting provider to handle the load.  Need help with the first steps?  Reach out to us.

Jim Sherwood serves as the chief creative, brand strategist, lead developer, meticulous project manager, and station collaborator for all Skyrocket Radio sites and projects. Jim is a 30+ year radio veteran with a resume spanning several small, medium, and large markets including roles as Digital Content Manager, Program Director, Production Manager, and Morning Show Host.