Small firms build reputation through blogging

The Wall Street Journal walks through several case studies of small businesses which are using blogs to build their reputation and to reach out to customers. Examples here include a DVD-rental company, a wine-industry PR firm, a dating service and a muscle-car restorer.

But before all PR-types start reaching for their Typepad subscriptions, it’s important that the tone is personal, avoiding marketing lingo:

To build an audience, blogs
don’t have to be edgy, provocative or funny, says blog coach Griff
Wigley, of Wigley and Associates, Northfield, Minn., who has helped
several dozen small companies start online journals. But they do have
to be authentic and provide useful information. The personal touch
helps build relationships with customers, something particularly
important to small companies catering to local communities.

The personal style blogs require may seem less believable, however, if it’s seen coming from a large corporation.

"If you slip into PR lingo, Mr. Wigley says, "you will lose your visitors. They will know it’s not really you."