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What is Best of KC?

Best of KC is Kansas City magazine’s annual poll to recognize the best KC has to offer in 264 categories, from Best Barbecue Sandwich to Best Nail Salon. The contest launches with the opening of nominations on Monday, April 4. It’s our way of celebrating the things that make Kansas City great and recognizing exceptional local small businesses. Readers vote to determine the winner. Advertisers cannot purchase this recognition—they have to earn it. You can see the full list of categories here.

How do I get my name on the ballot?

Best of KC opens with a write-in nomination round. You, your friends, customers and supporters go to the online ballot and enter your name for the appropriate categories—Best French Fries and/or Best Tuxedo Shop. We make it easy to share a direct link to the appropriate category via email, text or social media. After nominations close, we take several weeks to count the number of nominations for each entrant. Five finalists advance to the final round.

How do the finals work?

Readers vote between finalists in each category. You may vote up to one time per day in each category—the contest software removes additional votes. When the finals close on June 10, we start counting the winners, which are announced on August 1.

How many people are involved?

Last year’s Best of KC portal had 1,735,402 impressions on the final ballot and 348,965 in the nomination round—more than 2 million impressions total. There were 573,165 votes cast.

How do I win?

The best way to win is to campaign. Patrick Mahomes will probably win Best Athlete without asking anyone to vote, but most winners muster their loyal customers plus friends, family and customers to show their support.

We have Best of KC campaign assets ready for you to add to your own images and use on social media

How does advertising work?

The software we use to power this contest is not inexpensive, and our staff pours hundreds of hours into this project. We do Best of KC as a way to celebrate local small businesses—and we are also a local small business. To offset the cost of this project, we accept advertising on both the nomination ballot and the final ballot. We also offer sponsorships for each group of categories and one presenting sponsorship. For more information contact Kathy Boos, You can also order and upload your ad right here.

But advertisers always win, right?

No, they don’t! The value of advertising is not in winning, but in targeted engagement with local people who are passionate about what you do. Advertising on the ballot tends to help keep a company’s name at the top of mind, but that doesn’t always end in a win. It does, however, mean that the people who care most about that category see your name and associate you with the best in the business. (If the owner of Bundy’s Shoes buys a ballot ad but loses to Foot Locker, but everyone who votes for Foot Locker sees the Bundy’s Shoes ad resulting in ten new loyal customers for Bundy’s, was the ad worth it?)

When does this happen?

Nomination round: Best of KC launches with nominations opening Monday, April 4. Nominations are open through April 22.

Finals: Voting among the five finalists in each category opens on Monday, May 16. Final ballot closes on Friday, June 10.

Winners: Winners will be announced online and in print on Monday, August 1!