Success Story

Teacher Contest Impacts Community, Drives $17K Annual Revenue

Holland Sentinel secures multi-month revenue, increases database, and promotes community engagement with year-long contest

Case Study Highlights

  • Paper secures multi-month revenue
  • Title sponsor engages with their target audience
  • 50% opt-in rate for paper’s newsletter
  • Goodwill contest aligns paper and sponsors with community

The Idea

The Holland Sentinel is a circulation 7,000 paper out of Holland, Michigan. In our second year of the Amazing Teachers contest, our team wanted to improve on our already successful campaign. The goal of our contest was to create goodwill within our community, grow our email database, and drive sponsorship revenue month after month.

The Execution

Our team designed the teacher of the month contest to be a year-long campaign. With a kick-off in August, the contest asked readers to submit a special teacher in their community and include a short description of what sets the teacher apart. Each month a panel of Holland Sentinel staff would look through the nominations and select the month’s top teacher.

We were able to secure a sponsorship from Gentex, a local auto parts manufacturer and major employer in the area. Since Gentex frequently employs local graduating high schoolers, the company was excited about the opportunity to align themselves with this education-focused contest.

But we wanted to do more to give back to their community’s teachers. We decided to wrap-up our contest with a big event in May honoring the winning teachers as well as the nominees. At the event, we awarded the winning teachers with plaques and each received $200 for school supplies.

As our title sponsor of our teacher of the month contest, Gentex’s sponsorship package included prominent placement of their logo on all our contest collateral – both digital and in-print. The company’s logo was featured heavily throughout the event and on the winner’s plaques, and they were also given time to speak at the event. In addition to Gentex, we also secured multiple supporting sponsorships for the event.

To promote the contest, we had a robust strategy. We used email and website ads, as well as our own print publication. Each month, we published a special piece about the winning teacher. Not only was this great content for our readers, but it also drove more people to our ongoing contest.

One of our favorite opportunities for promotion was the chance to feature our winning teachers in a national festival parade in town. Each teacher rode in a car decked out with a large banner announcing they were Teacher of the Month and also including branding to direct readers to the contest.

The Results

While we’re still wrapping up this year’s event, we’ve been pleased with all the results so far. We secured $17,000 in revenue from our title and supporting sponsorships. We also had nearly a 50% opt-in rate for our email database and received more than 100 teacher submissions.

But beyond all that, we’ve been able to make a meaningful, lasting impact on the teachers in our community. We’ve gotten so many responses from teachers such as this, “I was beyond blessed by our night at the Holland Civic Center for the Amazing Teacher Banquet! … I continue to be humbled by the recognition. The whole night was simply perfect!”

The response to the contest has been outstanding, and we have big plans to outdo ourselves with year three.

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