Our client Paul Geelen summed up the difference blogging had made to his business very simply. He told me that when new clients come to meet him for the first time they are treat him like they already know and trust him.

People have called Paul from the other side of the world to become his customers all on the strength of his business blog.

This morning I came across further evidence of the incredible impact blogging is having on changing the rules of commerce. Today’s edition of The Australian has an article by Tony Allen-Mills that was originally published in The Sunday Times.

Mills talks about how the critics attacked the musical The Adams Family when it first came out. They were scathing. Not so long ago this would have killed the show stone dead. Instead it went on to earn 4.3 million pounds in the first five weeks and generate 9.7 million pounds in advance sales.

Mills observes that the power of the newspaper critic is in serious decline because bloggers now have the power to communicate their own messages. As well as blogs individuals can now publish their own opinion through social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

It seems that people would much rather trust the opinion of friends and family than a stranger who writes for the paper.

I think this means two things for us as small business operators. Know that your blog can attract new customers and build trust. Know also that customer recommendations through social media can be even more powerful than an article in the newspaper.

For those of us with small marketing budgets this is great news.