There seems to be a lot of noise about the “death of the company blog.” In a world with so many shiny balls to chase like Snapchat and Instagram, are blogs still vibrant? Important?

A few years ago, I did a comprehensive study of the best company blogs in America and I thought it was time to re-consider this channel. What is the state of the art in company blogging? What are the best company blogs today?

So I did a study of Fortune 500 blogging efforts and made notes on these categories:

Quality of content (is it interesting, creative, well-written, human?)
Consistency of publishing
Engagement with audience
Social sharing activity
Alignment with corporate objectives
Here are the best blogs at the Fortune 500 companies with an important note: The blogs at high-tech companies like IBM, Google, Dell, Intel, Cisco and Microsoft are so good, they are in a category by themselves. If I did a true “top 10” list, they would be all tech blogs! It’s really unfair to rate these blogs with the rest of the pack. So this is a list of the best NON-TECH INDUSTRY blogs from the Fortune 500 (in no particular order):

Coca-Cola Unbottled

Coca-Cola has several content sites but “Unbottled” is what company blogging is all about. Rich content. Stories aligned with corporate objectives. Responsive engagement. A diversity of views from customers, employees and partners. Great emotion and human connection. A study in how to do it right. In fact … It’s the Real Thing!

Coke is one of my favorite companies because when it comes to marketing communications, you can count on them doing it right. A case study I use frequently in my classes and workshops.

Walmart is number one on the Fortune 500 list and it has a great blog to go with that title. The site features a breathtaking variety of content featuring products, shopping tips, company history, seasonal features, and news but the human interest stories — that is where they really shine. One of Wal-Mart’s goals is to be seen not only as a low-cost leader but as a company that sincerely cares about people and its communities and this blog is an effective extension of that message.

The posts seem to be written by real employees, even down to the floor level associates of their stores, which I think is wonderful. The blog shows the authentic heart of the company.

This blog almost hits on all cylinders … but not quite. It is a site filled with useful, relevant content to help safeguard families, homes, and businesses. The site is good-looking, well-organized and blog posts seem to get an enormous amount of social shares.

However, this blog looks like it is created and maintained by an ad agency. It lacks real people and real stories which is one of the reasons it gets so little active engagement. We are told the first name of the post author but nothing about them. Overall a great site but a little too clinical. My advice to them would be to bring out some real people and add a little soul to the site.

This is clearly one of the best blogs on the social media landscape and a reflection of a company culture that is open, responsive, and tuned to their customers.

The content is sparkling with helpfulness and the company even writes posts in response to customer questions. It is well-organized and the variety of the content is fueled by a large number diverse writers.

This is one of my favorite company blogs — it has rock-solid and relevant content written by real people. It’s well-organized and very helpful. It gets a respectable number of comments and social shares.

But it is making two big mistakes. First, the blog is disconnected from its main website. Why, why, why would you create all this great content to direct people AWAY from your website? You don’t.

Second problem: They don’t consistently respond to comments. If you have customers (or potential customers) taking time to connect with you, what message does it send when you don’t connect back? Blogging is a great way to build loyal connections through your human content. Don’t leave customers hanging. Keep working guys. You’re almost there.

The first thing you need to know is that Celanese is a chemical company, representing an industry not normally at the forefront of social media. So props to Celanese right away for being bold with their blog.

This blog has a nice balance of content but what I loved most is that it had real heart. This is clearly not checking a box or out-sourcing the work to ad agency content-bots. The company is opening their kimono and showing off its employees.

It is getting a fair amount of engagement but like ADP, it has the serious flaw of being disconnected from the main website. I want to click somewhere to engage with the company.