Creative Circle creates election tool for local media web sites

App generates content and revenue plus it handles election night results


At last – an effective way to gather and present information about local elections. And it’s brought to you by Creative Circle Media Solutions, one of the leading software providers in the newspaper industry. This is an app that every media web site needs.

“Local newspapers aren’t making enough money from local (or national) elections, which is nuts because newspapers readers VOTE. We have to do a better job of making sure candidates understand that and get more election revenue flowing to newspapers,” said Bill Ostendorf, Creative Circle's founder and president. “We’re hoping this app helps do just that.”

Originally released for the November, 2020, election, the app is now available year-round for locan and national elections.

Prior to the election, a self-service module allows local candidates to post a brief bio, photo and basic information as a public service. For a fee, candidates can then post an upgraded listing with five position statements, a brochure, multiple photos, a video, social links and more.

"Publishers can supplement what they get in postings from candidates to create a complete online database of everyone running for local offices," said Ostendorf. Candidate profiles can be displayed on web sites through a variety of attractive widgets and a list view searchable by candidate name, party and local races.

“This will help papers become the go-to source of election-related information,” said Ostendorf. “And the paid, self-service upgrade is a new way to make money.”

The app also has a sponsorship option and opens the door to other advertising opportunities.

Papers that want to create an election tab in advance of the election can reverse publish the candidate photos and profiles into print.

Then, on election night, publishers can add local election results through a special interface in the app’s CMS and create great-looking charts and displays to show who won each local race.

"Elections are a big problem for publishers because most CMS platforms really have no answer for displaying election results in a professional, user-friendly way," said Ostendorf, who has worked as a consultant for hundreds of media companies across three continents and has led the redesign of more than 700 print publications and 300 media web sites. “Our results templates will look great and get information to readers quickly.”

The app is available for a flat annual fee and is renewable every year so publishers can use it for local elections year-round.

Creative Circle's growing lineup of specialized apps all work with any web site and are easy to deploy. "All our software is designed to be easy to learn and use and we try to keep everything completely non-technical, but we offer plenty of technical support if publishers need help deploying our apps on your web site," said Ostendorf.

"We'll be releasing more of these apps in the months ahead as they've proven to be wildly popular," said Ostendorf. "What's Open," the first app released in the spring of 2020 to help publishers showcase the businesses open during the pandemic, was deployed on more than 200 media sites. "Honor My Grad," designed to help parents make a fuss over their 2020 graduates, was deployed on more than 100 media sites. The graduation app, which works the same way as the election app, is also available for an annual fee.

"We're building these apps to help publishers now, but all of them will have a long-term shelf life," says Ostendorf. "What's Open can be used any time a community suffers through a mass fire, hurricane or even a big snow storm while Honor My Grad can be used every year to honor local graduates."

One future app will involve a pet contest, since people are spending more time with their pets than ever. Others will generate traffic and revenue around apps focusing on how families are coping with working from home and teaching their kids during remote learning. "The goal with each app is to generate quality content that drives traffic while monetizing that content at a time when publishers are struggling with traditional advertising," said Ostendorf. "All are self-service, too, which is critical at a time when resources are stretched to the limit."

Creative Circle also offers a full service web CMS that is the most dynamic and flexible platform in the industry along with the newspaper industry’s first pay wall, a web-centric classified platform, paid content tools, online directories and a print production platform to streamline and automate print and print-to-web workflows. Creative Circle also provides high-end design and production outsourcing services. 

"Premium Pages," is a series of 24 web features pages on topice readers are interested in -- from pets and health to home improvement and money matters. These pages get new content daily and new layouts several times a month to keep them fresh. Local publishers can add local sponsors, run-of-site ads, national programmatic ads, targeted local ads or local branded content to monetize the pages.

Creative Circle also provides advanced advertising services, including deploying and managing national programmatic ads on any web site and selling targeted email blasts, regional programmatic ads and SEO services to local advertisers. They also can come into local markets for a digital sales blitz to generate significant web advertising.

To schedule a demo of "My Election Candidates" or any of Creative Circle’s range of software, outsourcing, consulting or design services, contact Bill at, 401-455-1555, or Sean Finch, VP/sales, at, 309-269-7834.