When I speak at a blogging conference, an entrepreneur event, at a WordCamp, or even at my own mompreneur workshops, I often get asked: Is there a difference between a blog post and an article?
The short answer is YES! But first, let me get something off my chest. If you are interested in becoming a reputable blogger, you must know that blog and blog post are not the same thing.
A blog is a web-site where blog posts are published. The word blog is a contraction of the term Weblog. A post is an individual entry that is published on a blog site, so you don’t write blogs, you write posts on your blog. Got it? Good! I’ve been blogging since 2004 and teaching people how to blog most of that time, so maybe that’s why this error makes me cringe.
Articles and blog posts do have some similarities:
Both articles and blog posts can be published online.
Both articles and blog posts can have comment sections, although bloggers enjoy greater engagement on their content.
Both articles and blog posts can use SEO techniques when the articles are published digitally.
Some may think it’s fine to use “blog post” and “article” interchangeably, because the line between the two terms is increasingly becoming blurry, but a blog post and an article are definitely not the same type of content… A blog post is not a type of article and an article is not a type of blog post, either.
Every piece of your content marketing strategy will vary from the other in voice, style, and structure, so let’s take a quick look at the differences between articles and blog posts!
Fundamental differences between blogging and article writing
Blogging is a new style of writing compared to article writing. Articles have been around for hundreds of years, before the advent of the Internet, and after blog posts became so popular, print publications and specialized websites started to publish their articles online, as well.
A blog post is housed on a blog, a site where entries are posted in reverse chronological order.
An article can be featured in any traditional channel (print media like journals, magazines, and newspapers) or digital publication.
Blog posts are usually written in the first person and are personal in nature. Blog posts are conversational, friendly, casual, and informal. Blog posts are mostly based on the blogger’s opinion, personality, or personal experience and perspective, and written in their “voice” to connect with the reader.
Articles convey information, explanation, news, statistics, researched accurate facts, and are written in a straightforward, formal, and objective tone.
Most blog posts are self-published and self-edited, and language rules are more flexible. The use of slang, fragment sentences, and short paragraphs is widely accepted on blog posts, which makes them simpler and easier to understand.
Non-fiction articles written for a publication go through thorough and intense rounds of editing to ensure immaculate grammar and impeccable sentence structure.
Successful bloggers can be both conversational and professional, and know how to craft truthful, helpful content that delivers great value to their readers. When writing a sponsored post, a blogger may also need to submit a post for editing to make sure the story meets the brand’s expectations.
When a nonfiction article writer does not own the publication where the article will be featured, it is very likely that the article will exclude the writer’s opinion.
Bloggers address readers as “you” and invite them to comment, participate, get involved, or take an immediate action. Blog posts allow and inspire readers to easily share the content, make comments, and subscribe.
Article writers usually use third person, and even if there is a comment box available, they rarely use a call-to-action or encourage conversation.
SIDEBAR: If you have comments turned off on your blog, you’re really not taking advantage of its amazing possibilities to engage with your audience – in fact, you do not really have a blog unless you interact with your reader.
Blog posts can be brief and precise. The minimum post length should be about 300 words, and averages 300-600 words. You can find “wordless” blog posts or “vlogs” (video posts) on the blogosphere, where few or no words are shared, although savvy, serious bloggers share longer, more detailed posts that include facts and research, which creates more credibility and is more effective for Search Engine Optimization.
Articles tend to be more extensive and longer, because they explore a topic in greater depth.
Blog posts can focus on unfinished stories, and ideas that are still evolving.
Articles are usually based on verifiable facts, statistics, and research.
You can use personal photos, GIFS, and videos on your blog posts.
Articles avoid excessive multi-media, unless it consists of graphs, charts, and highly relevant and meticulously credited images.
Bloggers have the freedom to update, republish, repurpose a blog post as much as desired, long after hitting publish.
Updating is harder for published articles, even those published digitally. The publisher may require writing a new piece for clarification.
Freelance writers used to be compensated more for articles than for opinion-based blog posts, especially because the word count was so much lower. However, when writing a blog post, my advice is to charge according to the actual blog post length, the topic complexity, and the value provided.
Bloggers are able to publish as often as possible, and are compensated through different streams of income that include ads, affiliate relationships, and sponsored posts, regardless of the word count. I have been making a full-time income with my blog for many years, so you can too!
Is it better to blog or to write articles?
Both articles and blog posts are helpful pieces for engaging your audience and for SEO, because quality content is what readers, brands, and search engines are looking for.
I particularly write long posts and, depending on the topic or the category, they may be formatted more like articles. Including both types of content on your website allows you to target a wider range of readers.
In addition to blogging on your WordPress website, you can also write and submit articles to other websites or designate a resource page offering articles, to satisfy some of your visitors’ needs for more detailed information.
Knowing the fundamental differences between a blog post and an article is a great step to do it right, or to hire the right person for the task, which will impact your content marketing strategy.
While the style is different, the message needs to remain consistent so that your branding efforts are not sabotaged.
Remember that your content marketing strategy and overall marketing goals will help you determine whether you will write articles or blog posts or the frequency of publication. Your main focus must always be serving your core audience and meeting (or exceeding) their expectations.
Blogging is more effective when it comes to getting visibility, credibility, connection, and conversion because it allows for more storytelling.
If you need help developing your editorial calendar, posting schedules, and blogging strategy to maximize exposure, effectiveness, and monetization, let’s arrange a time to talk about these sanity-saving services!
What do you think the main difference between a blog post and an article is? Do you prefer writing articles or blog posts? Why? Let’s discuss it in the comments below – I want to hear from you!