Success Story

High School Sports Photo Contest Scores Year-long Revenue

Times Herald-Record's year-long photo contest drives in significant revenue and grows email database month after month

2017 Second Street Award – Finalist

Case Study Highlights

  • $60,000 revenue for paper
  • Year-long photo contest drives in recurring revenue
  • 11,000+ votes and still going
  • 2,800+ opt-ins and counting

The Idea

The Times Herald-Record in Middletown, NY was looking for a new way to increase their revenue, grow their email database, and promote goodwill among their readers. Varsity 845, the paper’s designated local sports site, decided on a High School Athlete of the Month photo contest.

The Execution

High school sports campaigns aren’t just a big hit with your community, they’re also a big hit with your advertisers. Local businesses love the opportunity to show their involvement with local sports teams.

times herald record student athlete ballot

While the Times Herald-Record was able to secure seven sponsors initially, interest grew, and they’ve even added two more. From healthcare and home improvement to community colleges and automotive, their sponsors were proud to be a part of the photo contest.

The year-long photo contest featured new high school athletes every month in separate categories for male and female athletes. Each month, the athletic directors from each school district would submit one female and one male scholar athlete. A committee from the Times Herald-Record would narrow down these submissions to the top five.

times herald record athlete ballot mobile

Each month, the two winners would receive a plaque, a gift card for $250, and coverage in the paper. To take the honor of winning another step further, the Times Herald-Record has partnered with their local athletic association and plan to recognize all the monthly winners at their end of the year banquet in May.

Knowing a high school sports photo contest will attract a large audience, the paper was sure to leverage this as an opportunity for email database growth. They included an opt-in for themselves as well as one for their sponsors.

times herald record athlete ballot opt-in

In order to attract people to the photo contest, the Times Herald-Record posts frequently on their website and on social media. But the main way they get users to their photo contest is through email. Each month, an email is sent to announce voting is open and remind users they can vote once a day.

times herald record athlete ballot promote

Beyond the paper’s own means of promotion, the entrants on their photo contest bring a lot of their own promotion. Any photo contest about children means you’re going to get tons of parents, grandparents, and friends rallying for votes and sending people to your website.

times herald record athlete ballot fb posts

The Results

While the Athlete of the Month campaign only started about eight months ago, the paper has already found outstanding success. So far these monthly contests have brought in over 11,000 votes. More than 2,800+ people have opted-in for the paper’s database and another 2,700+ opted-in for messages from the sponsors.

But the biggest success, is revenue. This year-long contest is bringing in revenue month after month, leading to more than $60,000 in annual revenue for the Times Herald-Record. The paper has found this to be an excellent way to celebrate the top student athletes in the community and looks forward to continuing this successful campaign.

More resources

Success Story
Reed In Partnership Revitalises Customer Feedback Loop and Maximises Satisfaction with Rant & Rave

Discover how Reed in Partnership improved NPS evaluation and response times by collaborating with Rant & Rave, solving issues of low feedback volume and long survey cycles.

Read more

Success Story
Tai Calon Community Housing Achieves 90% Customer Satisfaction with Rant & Rave

See how Tai Calon improved customer satisfaction by addressing financial pressures, resource constraints, and rising expectations through strategic insights and prompt actions.

Read more

Success Story
Football Ballot Scores Big for Small Market Newspaper Group

See how My Horry News scored major revenue and community engagement with their creative football fans’ choice ballot.

Read more