Blogs are fast becoming a channel for corporations to communicate with an audience, either internally or externally. “Blogging in the Enterprise,” a study conducted by GuideWireGroup for iUpload, says as many as 89 percent of companies currently blog or plan to start in the near future.
Over half the respondents have launched one or more blogs within the last year, and 10 percent have blogged for over three years. The study finds a higher adoption rate among smaller companies. Fifty-eight percent of corporate blogs represent companies with less than 100 employees, while companies with over 1,000 employees take up 16 percent of the blogosphere’s corporate segment. The same trend rings true from a revenue standpoint; companies with under $100 million in revenues account for 45 percent of corporate blogs.
Small businesses and corporations are embracing blogs both as internal and external lines of communication. Of the 55 percent of corporations that have adopted blogs, 91.4 percent use the channel for internal employee communications, and 96.6 percent for external dialog.
Several factors account for the benefits of an internal blog. Sixty-three percent of respondents say knowledge sharing is a key advantage. Internal communications is cited by 44 percent. Thirty percent utilize blogs for project management. Twenty-three percent use blogs to share personal knowledge management, and another 23 percent for event logging. A further 20 percent say it’s an effective tool for team management.
External blogs put a face on corporate communications. Sixty-one percent use public blogs for PR and marketing, and another 61 percent for thought leadership. Over 30 percent of respondents say their CEO blogs, and 35 percent use blogs for regular customer and partner communications.
CEO blogs can work for different audiences, either within the company or for the public. “There are CEOs that want to be more transparent on the public Internet, and others who want to share information with their staff,” iUpload VP of strategy and CTO David Carter told ClickZ Stats. “The CEO of McDonalds is challenged every day to keep a channel of communications open and a blog is a great place to do that.”
Despite the drive to create and maintain corporate blogs, many barriers still exist. Technology is only a small hurdle. Forty-two percent of respondents cite maintaining enthusiasm for the blog project as a top barrier, 36 percent find encouraging adoption a hindrance. Thirty percent of respondents admit technological problems are a concern. Establishing an editorial policy is an issue for 14 percent of respondents, and dealing with inappropriate comments or content worries an equal share of respondents. Enlisting management support is a problem for 18 percent of those surveyed.
“One of the fears is that guidelines are a way to solve any potential blogging problems, the same guidelines should be in place as any company guideline,” said Carter. “Any code of conduct you have for communicating to the public should apply to blogging.”
Respondents in the survey represent a cross-section of industries including aerospace, banking, communications, consumer package goods, educations, energy, and insurance. Within these industries, 16 percent of respondents come from the advertising and marketing department, eight percent work in the computers and electronic manufacturing departments of their company, and another eight percent in professional services. The survey was completed by 140 respondents and was conducted in September of this year.