Unless you happen to live in Holmes, western Tuscarawas, southeast Wayne and northern Coshocton counties of Ohio or you’re an exceptionally well-read Amish person, odds are you’ve probably never heard of The Budget. Based in Sugarcreek, Ohio, it’s a paper that really gets its audience — big time.
The Budget isn’t fretting much over what to do about online content like other, bigger papers do. Why? Because they’ve simply decided to offer less.
Visit their website and you’ll see a pretty interesting collection of small-town local stories — how the Bulldogs nipped the Pirates on a go-ahead FG, a local church ministry that crafts prayer shawls, progress on the new roadside signs welcoming folks to Sugarcreek.
What you won’t see is national news. Why? Well, it’s certainly not because they don’t offer it. It’s because … well, let me let them explain it. This is from their website:
“Out of respect for our 116-year relationship with our Amish and Mennonite writers, readers and friends, the National Edition remains available only in its printed format.”
You see, The Budget has a 116-year relationship with a core audience that shuns technology, and they intend to remain important and loyal to that core audience.
The result? You can only get the national edition through the mail, like 20,000 folks or so do. And because the paper comes to that audience in the way they want it, The Budget — despite its dated and costly production process — remains profitable. In fact, according to this Associated Press story, they may even be adding editorial staff
Clearly, the factors surrounding The Budget’s decision are unique to them. But I’m convinced that there’s something here that we should all be mindful of. Maybe — just maybe — if we know our audiences well enough and do all we can to meet their expectations, we’ll find the courage to move in the direction we need to, whether that seems like the “right’ way or not.