Study: Fortune 500 Blog Stats-missing 84%?

It’s almost unbelievable – only 81 out of the Fortune 500 companies have public-facing corporate blogs.

Is it me or does 16% sound impossibly low?

This stat is a key finding of a new research study, “The Fortune 500 and Blogging: Slow and Steady" conducted by Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes, Ph.D., Senior Fellow and Research Chair of the Society for New Communications Research and Chancellor Professor of Marketing at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Eric Mattson, CEO of Financial Insite Inc., a Seattle-based research firm.

Other Key Findings in the Fortune 500 Blogging: Slow and Steady Study include:

  • 81 of the Fortune 500 or 16% currently have public-facing blogs.
  • This compares with 39 percent of the Inc. 500; 41 percent of the higher education sector and 57 percent of the nation’s Top 200 Charities.
  • 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

Source: Society for New Communications Research press release

Study Screen Shots: Number of Company Blogs By Industry, Comparison by Sectors

Two graphics in the study jumped out at me: the number of companies by industry and the comparisons by sector. Only four insurance companies blog? It would be interesting to take the study a step further and break out the number of companies by industry and then match them up. If there are eight insurance companies in the Fortune 500, then is 50% a good participation rate? That’s a subjective conclusion, and it is really meaningful? Still, if you’re a consumer or an investor who’s shopping and you compare companies – would the ones with active community relationship centers aka blogs win out?

It would be interesting to break out the Inc. 500 company blogs in the same way and then compare them with the Fortune 500. One last measurement: financial performance. While publishing a company blog does not guarantee an exact return on investment, a well-produced communication vehicle on a blog-based publishing platform that allows commentary opens up new channels for innovation, customer service and research. As a corporate communications consultant who’s contributed to a variety of internal and external publications, including managing the launch of the intranet at Sears in 1998, I get excited about what happens when communications connects companies closer to their customer communities. Perhaps other Fortune 500 companies are more interactive in other forms of social media.

corporate blogs by industry

Click on the images to view full-size.

2009-blogging-sectors

2008 Fortune 500 Companies with Blogs (n=81)
(As of March, 2009)

Rank Name of Company
Source: Fortune 500 Blogging: Slow and Steady Study

Typically, we don’t post long lists here. I’m making an exception this time to ask you to comment on what you think about Fortune 500 company blogs. Do you read them? Which ones do you like? Why? What would you change?

1 Wal-Mart Stores
3 Chevron
4 General Motors
7 Ford Motor
9 Bank of America Corp.
12 J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
14 Hewlett-Packard
15 International Business Machines
17 Verizon Communications
23 Procter & Gamble
27 Boeing
34 Dell
35 Johnson & Johnson
41 Wells Fargo
44 Microsoft
46 United Parcel Service
49 Time Warner
55 Safeway
58 Sprint Nextel
60 Intel
65 Motorola
66 Best Buy
67 Walt Disney
68 FedEx
71 Cisco Systems
72 Johnson Controls
75 American Express
80 Alcoa
82 New York Life Insurance
83 Coca-Cola
88 Tyson Foods
106 McDonald's
111 Emerson Electric
113 Wyeth
115 Electronic Data Systems
119 Goodyear Tire & Rubber
120 Manpower
129 Delta Air Lines
137 Oracle
144 Xerox
150 Google
153 Nike
163 Avnet
170 Computer Sciences
171 Amazon.com
175 Progressive
181 CBS
184 Sun Microsystems
185 Texas Instruments
189 Toys 'R' Us
197 Marriott International
201 EMC
214 General Mills
217 Medtronic
238 Eastman Kodak
240 DISH Network
242 Principal Financial
267 Southwest Airlines
299 Nordstrom
300 Alltel
305 Monsanto
313 Virgin Media
321 KeyCorp
326 eBay
346 PPL
348 GameStop
353 Yahoo
362 McGraw-Hill
369 Whole Foods Market
378 Newell Rubbermaid
396 Starwood Hotels & Resorts
398 Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
399 Pitney Bowes
406 Advanced Micro Devices
427 Micron Technology
431 Owens Corning
442 Foot Locker
443 Agilent Technologies
454 DaVita
461 Symantec
474 Clorox

What surprised you about these findings?

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