Our Top 10 Most-Asked Chronogrammies Questions

For someone who isn’t a fan of America’s favorite pastime, I think about the phrase “inside baseball” a lot. I mostly chalk this up to the fact that I like idioms and I’ve spent most of my career learning all of the esoteric phrases used in publishing—an industry that has more jargon (“gutter,” “folio,” and “proof,” to name a few) than it knows what to do with. 

Try as we might at Chronogram Media it’s easy to slip into shared lingo, and one thing that never fails to prompt questions is our beloved Chronogrammies Readers’ Choice Awards, now in its fifth year. With the nominations round just gearing up, our marketing manager and in-house Chronogrammies expert Margot Isaacs and I thought it was high time to create an official Chronogrammies FAQ. 

Here, you’ll find our top 10 Chronogrammies questions, with answers direct from Margot. From how to get on the ballot to who chooses the winners, here are the most-asked questions that we’ve received from readers and business owners over the last five years.

Q: I keep hearing about the Chronogrammies, but I’ve never tried to get nominated. Are the Chronogrammies something that people pay attention to?

Margot: It’s pretty shocking how much the Chronogrammies has grown year over year. The awards first kicked off in 2020 with just under 155,000 total votes and nominations. In 2023 that number grew to over 341,000. From small-town shops to superstar advocacy organizations to stellar sunset views, last year’s awards celebrated over 800 of our region’s favorites and engaged over 25,000 voters.

The investment and engagement from our community of readers and business owners has been overwhelming. I always love seeing folks using our specially designed winners’ badges on billboards around various Hudson Valley towns, and on their print advertisements, websites, and social media accounts.

Q: How do nominees get on the ballot? Do Chronogram editors choose nominees?

Margot: All nominees have to be added to the ballot manually. That means that everyone who is on the ballot either added themselves as a nominee in their category or was nominated by someone else. The Chronogram staff is not involved in choosing nominees, so don’t feel left out if you don’t see your business on the ballot! To add a new nominee to any category, just click on the button to submit a new nominee.

Q: Who chooses the winners of the Chronogrammies? Chronogram editors?

Margot: Chronogrammies is first and foremost a Readers’ Choice awards. The winners are entirely chosen by the readers of Chronogram, no editors’ picks involved. In 2023 over 25,000 people participated, and those are the folks who chose our winners. 

Q: Do I have to pay to be nominated for a Chronogrammie?

Margot: Nope! It’s completely free to get nominated for a Chronogrammie! You can even nominate yourself for one (if you fit the category, of course). Just go to Chronogrammies.com and follow the instructions to nominate. 

Q: Can I be nominated for more than one Chronogrammie?

Margot: Of course! As long as the business makes sense in the category it’s been entered in, yours can be nominated for (and win!) multiple categories.

Q: I have a new category idea! Can it be added to the ballot?

Margot: Send me your ideas at [email protected]! This year, we’ve already received a suggestion for a new category celebrating the region’s best bread, which has now been added (thanks Village Grocery!). 

The main qualification for a new category is that there have to be enough businesses to support it. I can’t add a “Mexican-Japanese-Indian Fusion” restaurant category because there aren’t enough of those in the area to support a whole category and robust nominations and voting.

Q: How do you make sure that people aren’t submitting fake businesses or places that aren’t in our area?

Margot: Our moderation process is fairly extensive. In 2023 we had over 9,000 businesses nominated and our team vets every single one of them. 

If you’re ever wondering why your nomination is not up immediately, it’s because it’s running through our moderation process. We want to check that the business is 1.) Real. 2.) In the region (no New York City businesses!). and 3.) Makes sense in the specific category. 

I can’t tell you the number of times we see a business being nominated in categories they don’t fit into, like an Italian restaurant being nominated for Mexican food, or a restaurant nominated for best buffet when they have no buffet. The list goes on. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we moderate every one of these businesses!

Q: How many rounds of voting are there?

Margot: There are two rounds where readers submit their votes. 

First, there’s a nomination round that runs from January 1 through February 15. During this time businesses are first nominated for their categories, and other voters can add their nominations to existing nominees or add completely new nominees to the list. There can sometimes be upwards of 80 nominees in competitive categories by the time the first round ends!

Then, the top five businesses in each category with the most nominations move to the second and last round of voting. 

The final voting round runs from April 1 through May 15. At this point, voters are only voting for the top five nominees in each category (sometimes six if there was a tie in the nominations round). Then we tally all the votes and reveal the winners on July 1!

Q: I’m not great at social media. How can I get more visibility for my nomination?

Margot: We actually provide a completely free social media kit to help you get the word out! Every year, we put together snazzy new banners, badges, gifs, and language that anyone is welcome to use to promote themselves. We update the social media kit for every round of Chronogrammies. It can be found here!

You can also use these graphics and language to create announcements for your website, emails, and even print out fliers to hang in your place of business!

Here’s a pro tip for you: Take the work out of scrolling through the entire ballot to find your nomination. Simply click on the name of your business once it’s been added to the ballot and you will be taken to your own personal nomination page! Copy the URL and use it anytime you post a link to encourage your customers to nominate you on social media, or use it to create a QR code to put in your store windows that quickly takes people directly to your nomination page. 

Q: What do I get if I win a Chronogrammie?

Margot: You get to say that you’re our readers’ choice, of course! With over 25,000 people participating in the 2023 awards, you can confidently say that the people all over the Hudson Valley, Catskills, and Berkshires love you and your business and think you’re the best. 

More than that, you can shout out your win in your marketing efforts all year, and let people know that they should come check you out! 

Your business will also be compiled in our official winners list in the July commemorative print issue of Chronogram. There is also the potential for a write-up about your business in issue. 

If all that weren’t enough, we celebrate your win in style at a rocking Chronogrammies party in August. The public is always invited to the party, but our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners receive discounted tickets, and receive special recognition at the event.

Are you ready for all the fun we have in store for Chronogrammies 2024? Start off the new year right! Add your nominations at Chronogrammies.com, download our free social media kit for tips on getting your audience engaged, and connect with one of our media specialists for a boost from Chronogram Media.

Want more marketing tips geared toward small businesses in the Hudson Valley, Catskills, and Berkshires? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter, The Art of Business!

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