Leading up to the April 22-23 Local Media Association Digital Revenue Summit in Chicago where winners from the Local Media Digital Innovation Awards will be presented, we’ll be showcasing some of the winners and the great work that will be on display.

Today, we’re featuring Black Press Media, which won for Best Contest and/or Promotion.

The judges said this about their entry:

Black Press’ amateur photographer contest capitalized on the public’s innate desire to create and contribute, earning them new audience in the process. The results were quantitatively impressive, and qualitatively stunning!

We caught up with Andrew Franklin, Vice President Digital Operations, Black Press Media, to learn more about what they are doing:

First, can you tell us a little about your news organization?

Black Press Media is home to some of the oldest, most established newspapers in British Columbia, Yukon and Alberta. From rural voices in Chilliwack and Quesnel, to urban voices in Greater Vancouver, Victoria and Red Deer, market by market these are the leading newspapers in their respective communities. Our audience continues to grow very quickly across print and online reach. The digital audience is growing at 35-40 percent per year. With 185 journalists in Canada, Black Press Media has the largest media team of any other organization in Western Canada.

In the United States, Black Press operates Sound Publishing with 49 titles in Washington’s Puget Sound region, in Hawaii with Oahu Publications, and in Alaska. In print and online, our urban, suburban and rural newspapers provide clients a superior blend of localized news coverage and unmatched integrated marketing solutions. Founded in 1975, Black Press now publishes more than 170 titles in British Columbia, Alberta, and Washington state, as well as the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the Juneau Empire and San Francisco Examiner daily newspapers. Majority ownership by David H. Black of Victoria, B.C.

It looks like you had a lot of success with your photo contest. Share the details, please.

Yes, we had great success with the Amateur Photography Contest, with 25,000 entries submitted over the course of six months. This was the largest recorded UGC in our history. We are now able to repurpose these entries across our network including Instagram and Facebook. The sponsor, London Drugs, had more than 1,000 people opt-in to receive their newsletters and in addition, 94 percent of people entering the contest also completed the lead gen questions. The client was extremely happy and has recently signed again for this year. This contest was part of a very large multimedia buy with the sponsor.

Why do you think that contest was so popular with readers and how are you thinking about building on it?

I believe the success was down to a number of things:
1. People love photos
2. Easy to submit entries
3. Great prizes – $6K in photography gift certificates
4. Regular promotion on social media
5. Diverse categories for people to choose from

Are there other contests that do well with your audience?

Yes, we do well with contests, however, nothing compares to this one. Houseboat vacations, getaways, and sports tickets also do very well.

Register today for the Digital Revenue Summit where we will be recognizing the best digital innovation in the industry.