There has been a lot lately about social CEOs and I have recently posted about the topic. Last night, I just had a chance to review the annual University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research study about how the Fortune 500 is using this not so new but ubiquitous medium and blogging, in particular. As the authors say, and I agree, "studying their adoption and use of social media blogs offers important insights into the future of commerce." The key findings are that Fortune 500 blogs are alive and well and serving as a means to promote thought leadership:
- In 2014, 31% of the studied companies had corporate blogs, showing a slight decrease of 3% in use of this tool in the past year
- In the 2011 Fortune 500 study, it called attention to the decline of blogging with only 23% hosting a public-facing corporate blog. In 2012, there was a sizable increase to 28%. That surge surfaced again in 2013 showing 34% of these corporate behemoths creating and sharing content through blogs
- The top 200 of the Fortune 500 are out-blogging the bottom 200
- These Fortune 500 blogs are for the most part (78%) are interactive, up-to-date, taking comments, offering RSS feeds and subscriptions.
What is particularly interesting here is that corporate blogging is here to stay and has become a relevant means of content-sharing and thought leadership. It provides a smart delivery vehicle to talk about what a company stands for, what's on the minds of its customers, what its products and services can do and what's new and innovative in the field. And the authors agree that we might view this steadiness of corporate blogging as a signal to the marketplace that the time is ripe for thought leadership and in-depth content instead of short missives and pure promotional content that is less memorable. At Weber Shandwick, we see this in the high demand for Mediaco, a platform that helps companies publish and be their own media companies.
I see a surge in thought leadership being tied to the ongoing effectiveness of corporate blogging where ideas and insights can now be more easily shared with the general populace. And I believe that when companies blog on their websites or elsewhere, it leads to greater control over communications and their reputation. Companies can now join the conversation instead of just reacting to the conversation. Reputations have a better chance of stabilizing themselves when they have a hand in the dialogue. A good thing.