Fewer than 5 percent of large and midsize companies around the world currently have a corporate blog, according to a new survey by international technology public relations firm Lewis PR. The findings, announced at the EuroBlog 2007 conference in Ghent, Belgium, were based on a survey of 300 companies from 10 different countries.

While corporate blogging is becoming more common in the United States, the overwhelming majority of businesses around the world has no company-branded blogs. Of the European companies included in the survey, only 2.5 percent had one or more corporate blogs. Companies in the Asia-Pacific region scored slightly higher with 5.5percent, with U.S. companies leading at 14 percent.

According to Lewis: “Interestingly enough, with the exception of the USA every country seems to think it’s lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to corporate blogging,” says Ilona Hitel, vice president of global sales and marketing at Lewis. “Their reasons vary strongly: Southern European countries such as Italy and Spain think it’s because they’re traditionally slower with IT-related innovation, while other countries like Germany and the Netherlands blame it on a lack of understanding of the financial benefits of having a corporate blog.

“Key barriers in the Asia-Pacific region include a tradition of doing business face-to-face and a high level of media regulation. However, the reality is that nobody is lagging: corporate blogging simply hasn’t arrived yet.”

“Companies around the world remain hesitant to start blogging because the benefits, costs and implications are not clear to them”, says Mark van der Wolf, head of creative at Lewis Benelux and lead author of a white paper based on the survey. “Their caution is justified, because as the paper shows, a corporate blog is definitely not for everyone. Still, under the right circumstances and with the right approach, it can contribute greatly to achieving a multitude of business objectives.”