Million Dollar Idea: Awards + Readers = Revenue!

Every publisher wants to connect with their readers in a meaningful, impactful way. Tom Bengtson shares how his publication is doing just that AND making more revenue to boot.

Find out how a simple awards program became a game changer for BankBeat!

  • Publisher: Tom Bengtson
  • Magazine: BankBeat and
  • Big Idea: Honors Awards Program

BankBeat is a national publication – both print and online – for community banks. While they create great content, the publisher wanted to figure out a creative way to connect with their readers on a different level and drive additional revenue. They came up with the idea of an annual awards program honoring community bankers.

The Formula

The magazine hosts four different awards ballots throughout the year: Banker of the Year, Rising Stars in Banking, Outstanding Women in Banking, and Amazing Outside Directors. Each ballot is geared towards targeting specific readers and potential readers of the magazine. Exclusive title sponsorships and additional category sponsorships are sold for each of the four ballots. The sponsors receive discounted pricing on additional advertising.

Why It Works

Readers love the opportunity to nominate their colleagues and peers for an award. Not only do the winners themselves take pride in their recognition, but their employers announce and celebrate the win as well. The awards program gives BankBeat the chance to connect on a different level with their readers and provide recognition where it’s due.

The Results

The ad revenue from these four awards programs equals about 10% of BankBeat’s total annual display advertising revenue. On top of that, the honor of these awards programs has really impacted their readers in a meaningful way and given BankBeat additional credibility and branding within the financial community.


P.S. Don’t miss out on the next Million Dollar Mania at the Niche Consumer CEO Summit, November 12-13 in Charleston at the Wild Dunes Resort. Share your best “million dollar” idea and get at least 25 awesome revenue ideas in return!



More about Megan: Megan Black is the Content Maven for Niche Media. She also directs the content efforts of the Second Street Lab. When she’s not passionately defending the Oxford comma, Megan passes the time with the latest Netflix marathon.



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