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November 1st: Torsten Jacobi, CEO of Creative Weblogging, joins host Anita Campbell. Sponsored by Six Disciplines. Show details.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
PowerBlog Review: Kiger's Notebook
Read all the PowerBlog ReviewsEditor's note: We are pleased to bring you the seventy-fourth in our regular weekly series of PowerBlog Reviews of business weblogs. This week's review is being guest-blogged by Lynne Meyer. Lynne Meyer, APR, is president of A Way with Words.

By Lynne Meyer

With the avalanche of technology and growing acceptance of the Internet, newspapers launched web sites to keep up. Blogs are now one the newest web-based communications formats, and some savvy newspapers are embracing this new concept.

One such newspaper is the Post-Bulletin of Rochester, Minnesota. Using a blog -- Kiger's Notebook -- Business Editor/Assistant City Editor Jeff Kiger expands his connection with readers of his weekly print column.

Jeff is conscientious and prolific about his blog -- often making three to five posts a day, Monday through Friday. When asked to describe the purpose of the blog, he says:
"I provide breaking business news and include a variety of news items such as store openings and closings, business expansions, major hirings and layoffs, and stock news that can help readers in their business decisions, marketing plans and sales calls."
Yes, it's a lot of effort, but the blog has paid off already. It has generated lots of ideas for Jeff's column, as well as new sources:
"Since I launched the blog earlier this year, it has easily generated at least six items that can be used for my weekly print column. The
blog has connected me with more sources and deepened my link with my existing sources."
Businesses are always looking for new customers, and if you have a new product or service to publicize, you're competing with lots of other businesses for column inches in any newspaper. As a newspaper business columnist with an active blog, Jeff is in a unique position to help business owners on both fronts. Not only is he covering the business news, but the information and insights he provides have helped local businesses land new customers. For instance, Jeff included this happy reader's email in one of his postings:
"Both Terri and I enjoy your blog. She finds it helpful for keeping in touch with new businesses coming along. Your announcement of Coldwater Creek led her to contact them and get their lodging and meeting business."
Kiger's Notebook has great focus. As befits a local newspaper, the blog content is entirely about business issues affecting the great Rockester Minnesota area.

One of the most interesting aspects to this blog is the deliberate way Jeff uses it as a two-way communication vehicle. He reaches out to those in the local community for leads and interview sources. If you search under his category entitled "Tips for Getting in the Paper," you will see the way he requests reader help on stories he is putting together, as well as his open invitation to sit down for coffee with any reader.

The blog's tone is conversational, yet professional. Because it is conversational, Jeff can report on events as they unfold, even when he does not have all the facts and isn't sure it is a "story" quite yet. That is hard to pull off in a print newspaper. But in a blog it seems to fit somehow.

Businesses in Rochester, Minnesota, are fortunate to have Kiger's Notebook. As blogs and Web versions of print newspapers evolve closer and closer together, my bet is that many other savvy business newspaper reporters will launch their own blogs as "companions" to their regular columns or stories, and will use them as two-way communication vehicles.
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