A new survey says (according to a Yahoo! press release) that corporate blogging does in fact live up to “all the hype.” Specifically, a thoughtful and authentic corporate blog can 1) establish a company as a, well, thought leader and 2) improve search engine rankings. You can  download the 68-page PDF from this page (scroll down and look for the download banner on the right-hand side). The survey includes case studies of blogs run by IBM, Microsoft, Maytag and Macromedia. It was conducted by a Boston marketing agency, Backbone Media.

As with any “blogging survey,” take the results with a grain of salt. For you stats hounds, it was based on a 32-question survey taken online by 97 people, 65 of whom identified themselves as corporate bloggers.  The Backbone authors note: “Anecdotally, we were surprised to discover that there are not as many corporate blogs on the Internet as the volume of current media interest might indicate.”

Some nifty charts illustrate the answers to each question. Of particular interest:

  • 53% of those responding said that a contact from a journalist resulted in a published article. (My note:  yeah, journalists are starved for sources when it comes to corporate blogging.)
  • The biggest concern about starting a blog was how much time it will take. The second biggest roadblock was concern about legal liability. (This echoes audience questions we got at the IABC’s blogging panel this week as well as results of an informal WordBiz survey on blogging that I did in October 2004.)
  • Re size of companies blogging: 73% of respondents were from companies with 1 – 100 employees; 19% had over 500 employees; and 8% had 101 – 500.

If you’re following the corporate blogging phenomenon, this report is definitely worth downloading. It’s reassuring
to know that my anecdotal hunches are on the mark: a small number of Fortune 500 companies are
blogging, that number appears to be growing, we need more examples. (Got any? Submit them on my book blog!)

Bottom line: does corporate blogging live up to all the hype? I’m afraid it’s too soon to tell even though it makes a great headline for a press release… Only 4% of major corporations are blogging, according to Pete
Blackshaw (I think) of Intelliseek.
P.S. I just ran across another agency report on corporate blogging: Developing Effective Communication Strategies for the BlogosphereDownload it here (7-page PDF). It’s published by Euro RSCG Magnet.  Useful is the note that you can interact with blogs and bloggers three ways: 1) responding to blogs (having your say after the fact); 2) blog outreach (finding blogs relevant to your company or industry); and 3) becoming a blogger and getting in on the action.