The Demise of Corporate Blogging

Companies should stop clowning around and start blogging.

No one talks much about corporate blogging anymore.  Blogging is the overlooked social media channel – at least among corporations.

Only 79 companies in the Fortune 500 regularly blog as of December, 2009, according to Fortune 500 Business Blogging Wiki.  That’s less than 16 percent of the world’s largest companies.  Compare that to Twitter.  According to a recent report from the Society of New Media Research, 35 percent of the Fortune 500 have active Twitter accounts.

Twitter is being used by companies twice as much as blogging.  Two to one!

Research from eMarketer also indicates the lack of blogging by private enterprise.  Marketers ranked corporate blogging low among their interactive marketing priorities, according to eMarketer’s March 2010 survey of 500 B2B and B2C chief marketers.  The CMOs ranked blogging 7th out of 10 interactive activities they employed the most (at a lowly 31 percent).  Blogging ranked below paid search and online display ads.

Compare that to Twitter at 39 percent and social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn) at 58 percent.

Clearly, companies have diverted their attention away from blogging.  And this is a big mistake in their online and social media strategies.

Consider this.  Blogs rank second only behind internet search as the preferred medium to look for information about buying products, according to a survey from April 2010 by BlogHer and iVillage.  Blogs beat out social networks, message forums, magazines, TV, and newspapers.

And here’s the caveat – blogging strengthens search engine optimization. So in effect blogs are part of a sound internet search strategy.

Blogging is also the medium of the future.  The same survey by BlogHer and iVillage found that 40 percent of people between the ages of 18-25 write a blog and 30 percent regularly read blogs.  The numbers are also high for Generation X – those between the ages of 26 and 42 – with 28 percent writing a blog and 29 percent regularly reading them.

So what is going on?  Why are corporations shunning blogging?

Here are three theories:

1. Blogging is resource and time extensive

Unlike Twitter and even Facebook, blogging takes a lot of time.  It’s hard work to maintain a blog.  The economic downturn has severely limited corporate budgets and reduced head counts.  Right now marketing and corporate communications departments simply don’t have the manpower and budgets to sustain blogging programs.

2. Shiny, New Penny Syndrome

Facebook and other social networks are getting all the ink.  Blogging seems so 2004.

3. Fear of Publishing

Having a strong opinion is dangerous – and risky.  Corporations are environments that foster compromise.  Companies want to make customers, partners, employees and shareholders feel happy and confident.  Publishing – as any newspaper or magazine knows – can get you in trouble with your constituents. Opinions vary and when you blog – people will disagree with you.

But corporations should rethink their blogging strategy.  The younger generation wants to get their information from and interact with companies on blogs.  They view blogs as news resources and corporations are losing an opportunity to seize thought leadership and influence buying decisions by not investing in blogging.

What do you think?  Why aren’t more companies blogging?


Fortune 500 Business Blogging Wiki


Society for New Communications Research report on Twitter

BlogHer & iVillage survey

Photo from Edward Dullard on Flickr

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