Marketers say engagement is key

eMarketer estimates that, even with the hype around newer social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, nearly two in five US companies will maintain a public-facing blog this year for marketing purposes. This usage is on the rise as firms will increasingly realize the value of the blogosphere to further a variety of corporate functions, such as communications, lead generation, customer service and brand marketing.

Among Fortune 1,000 companies surveyed by blog printing firm Blog2Print, nearly a quarter had a corporate blog. The marketing department was most often responsible for writing it, followed closely by a social media or blog specialist, and the tone of blog was normally set by the company’s CEO. Asked what made a blog great, respondents cited an engaged community nearly twice as often as any other attribute.

Attributes that Make a Great Corporate Blog According to CMOs at US Fortune 1,000 Companies, Dec 2010 (% of respondents)

The survey represented engagement in terms of blog posts that receive comments, so the CMOs polled consider blogs more effective when they produce a lively discussion rather than just pushing content out into the world. The next-most-important characteristic was daily posting; about a quarter of respondents thought it was critical to keep the blog constantly fresh.

CMOs specifically cited Netflix and JetBlue Airways as the companies with the best corporate blogs.

Reasons that Their Companies Launched a Corporate Blog According to CMOs at US Fortune 1,000 Companies, Dec 2010 (% of respondents)

Netflix’s blog gets hundreds of comments on each post, demonstrating how engaged readers are. JetBlue receives considerably fewer comments but posts at least once a day, compared to a looser publishing schedule for Netflix. And the airline still demonstrates user engagement when posts are directly relevant to readers, such as a series done in late December about digging out from the snowstorm that hit the East Coast.

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