Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
April 26, 2009 9:27 PM

Fortune 500 List Demonstrates The Power Of Blogging

While companies are even quicker to flip the switch and hop on to Twitter, more and more companies are still just beginning to publish public-facing Blogs (while some haven't even thought about it yet). The following research illustrates that Blogging in corporate America has come a long way (but still has a long ways to go). 

This past Wednesday, the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR) released a 13-page report titled, The Fortune 500 and Blogging - Slow and steady


and farther along than expected (PDF download), conducted by Nora Ganim Barnes, Ph.D. and Eric Mattson (CEO, Financial Insite). And here is the main finding:

Only 81 out of the Fortune 500 (16%) currently have a public-facing blog. In comparison, 39 percent of the Inc. 500, 41 percent of the higher education sector and 57 percent of the nation's Top 200 Charities have public-facing blogs.

"The report conclusively shows that while the Fortune 500 companies are adopting social media at a slower rate than other leading businesses, universities and charities, many more of them are blogging than has been previously reported," stated the press release, Fortune 500 Corporate Blog Adoption Slow and Steady According to Society for New Communications Research Chair Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes and Eric Mattson of Financial Insite.

Here are some additional stats:

  • 28 percent of the Fortune 500's blogs link to Twitter accounts (other Fortune 500 companies have Twitter accounts, but they are not linked to their blogs).
  • Five of the top ten companies have public blogs: Wal-Mart, Chevron, General Motors, Ford, and Bank of America.
  • 90 percent of the Fortune 500's blogs have the comments feature enabled.
  • The computer software/hardware technology industry has the most blogs, followed by the food and drug industry, financial services, Internet services, semi-conductors, retail and automotive respectively.
  • Ten percent of the Fortune 500's blogs link to podcasts; 21 percent incorporate video

It would be interesting to take this information and add on both internal and B2B Blogs (which may be included in the above report - I could not tell). One of the better ways to get a company to think about public facing Blogs is to leverage internal ones for information dissemination and collaboration. Once the executive suite starts to see the benefits in terms of ROI and productivity, it becomes much easier to open the channels of Blog communications up to the general public.

What do you think, is 16% a good number or should the Fortune 500 companies really be embracing Blogging more?

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • I think the stats speak for themselves. We have a long way to go.

    It does amaze me the low number for the blogs. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised!?

    Rosh

    Reply
  • Posted by Jay Zheng
    Mitch Joel

    I am not sure about this one Mitch. Most Fortune 500 companies are not used to the transparency of the Web. Even for those who do have a blog, I suspect that they are flat-out boring.

    They probably need to change their way of doing business online first, which is easier said than done, then think about having a blog.

    --Jay

    Reply
  • Posted by Daria
    Mitch Joel

    Corporate blogging takes a lot of effort. You can't just create a wordpress blog and start posting about your company. A blog needs a strategy and a talented author. Otherwise it can turn into a blurb stream that nobody would read. A company should find a person who will make the blog interesting for the general public; only then the marketing effort will be successful. Andrew Filev, CEO of Wrike, has a professional blog that is marketing free. You mind find interesting pieces on corporate blogging and Enterprise 2.0 use in his blog (the link is in my contact details)

    Reply
  • Posted by Bob Williams
    Mitch Joel

    I see this as a risk adverse strategy on the part of most fortune 500. Rather than being a market leader in this relatively new communication medium, they are waiting to learn from the mistakes of others.

    I see a mindset issue with traditional marketing taking place inside corporate walls. Traditional marketing is based on pushing content directly at consumers while blogging and other forms of social media are based on producing content and having consumers come to you if the content is valuable to them.

    Reply
  • Posted by Steve Martell
    Mitch Joel

    I think Bob and Daria are on the right track. There are still a lot of viable reasons for companies not to blog.

    Daria mentions the time/effort. We see many organizations jump to the social space for the wrong reasons - like money/savings - and they end up realizing that the time investment is far more significant and they fade away.

    Bob mentions adversity to risk- everyone waiting for someone else to jump in the pool and tell them how cold it is. I think this is tied really well with the fact that the majority of companies (as the study might elude to) just don't understand the social space enough to have it organically fit into their strategic plan.

    The biggest reasons that encompass all the comments above the Fortune 500's lack of understanding and fear. It never ceases to amaze me at how new the social space is to most people.

    I don't think the 16% is a good or a bad number - I would like to hope it could be higher, while at the same time pleased that companies are not just jumping on the bandwagon and are (hopefully) thinking their strategy through.

    Reply
  • Posted by Loraine Antrim
    Mitch Joel

    Corporate blogging, if done effectively, is part of a larger communications strategy based on collaboration. And not having that collaborative mindset might be at the heart of the low blogging rate for the Fortune 500s. So 16% does not seem out of line.

    Let's face it, corporate America has not been the poster-child for transparency, sharing and collaborative engagement. They see opening the corporate kimono as dangerous. And regular public comments, well, they basically pull the kimono off all together.

    Ditto to Steve, Bob and Daria's comments--fear and time/effort are all factors. But as soon as companies see a link between social media and profitability and customer satisfaction, they'll get collaborative real fast. Then watch that 16% jump to 96%!


    Reply
  • Posted by Bob Smith
    Bob Smith

    Of all of these corporate blogs -- how many of them have their content go through several layers of bureaucracy before seeing the light of day?

    Not to mention the legal team?

    Reply
  • Posted by ikm
    Mitch Joel

    that says a lot about the "personalities" of corporations. While the public is shaping a culture of honesty, truth and open communication... BIG BUSINESSES are so out of touch with the public that they can't communicate properly without being awkward and offensive.

    The internet is truely a tool for the people, by the people and the corporate world just can't hack it.

    Reply
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