Unlike some publishing companies that need to fight for their place within the neighbourhood, Het Belang van Limburg is in a unique position that clearly defines what our role is within our area, which includes about 840,000 people.

In our region, there is what is known as “the Limburg feeling,” a sense of community within the area that means we’re already a part of the local fabric. We don’t have to make overt efforts to build rapport with our readers. It is already established.

As such, Mediahuis (our publishing company) doesn’t just exist on the periphery of society. We are engaged with our readers beyond words on a page or articles read on a computer screen.

We see it as our role to do things for and with the people who live here. Therefore, we often get involved with initiatives that are seemingly unrelated to the publishing side of things in order to build loyalty in readership that views Mediahuis and Het Belang van Limburg in a more intimate, tangible way.

We have done such with two recent initiatives:

• The Limburg Post: A pilot from Het Belang van Limburg’s region wanted to organise a flight to Washington, D.C. with a “Limburg only” crew on board. And, of course. we wanted to fill the plane with passengers from Limburg. 

Wanting to get in on this community event, we placed an article about it in our newspaper. Within a few minutes, all the tickets were sold out. 

The day the flight left, we published the newspaper under the title of “The Limburg Post” instead of Het Belang van Limburg. On board, the captain spoke in the dialect of our region, and at the airport in Washington, D.C., they were greeted by people from Limburg who were living there. 

Every day during the trip, we made sure our newspaper was present where our readers were visiting in Washington, D.C., and that they had access to our newspaper every morning. By participating in this initiative, we created 150 new ambassadors for life.

• “100 Most Powerful People of Limburg”: We started with a long list of 400 people (including politicians, athletes, and business leaders) compiled by journalists and a few select community members. Our readers could vote on who they would put in the top 100.

We knew this would be the talk of the town, and we were right! Everyone wanted to know if they would be included in the list and what ranking they would receive.

It was never our intention to repeat this initiative, but it was so popular that people are already talking about who will be on the list for this year. We’ll definitely be launching this list again in 2014!