While we are all familiar with the articles that have filled the pages of journals, newspapers and magazines for centuries past, blog posts have become increasingly popular with the emergence of the internet and digital content.
But while they are both valuable forms of written communication that people wrongly see as interchangeable, they are very different in tone, style and structure. The current challenge is knowing what medium of writing your business needs and why.
Journalism articles are ideal for raising your profile as a company or personal brand and establishing your business as an expert source of reliable and valuable information. Yet blog posts are incredible marketing tools, helping boost your online profile and drive traffic to your website. Therefore, while journalism articles and blogs each serve essential purposes, the two mediums play different roles and require distinct writing styles, tones, and structures.
As blogging is the newer medium, many businesses are unsure how to integrate it into their marketing strategy. Companies may share blog posts occasionally but struggle to take full advantage of the page and establish a solid content direction. Adding to the confusion, every website features a blog for search engine optimisation (SEO) purposes. But how exactly does that work, and how does it differ from a traditional article?
Contese Agency's useful guide helps you understand the difference between blog and article content and teach you how to use both to grow your brand effectively.
So, what are blog posts?
From personal diary-style entries by tech students in the 1990s, this exciting form of digital content has taken on many forms and developed diversely since its humble beginning.
Experts agree that the first 'weblog' was created by undergraduate Justin Hall in 1994 with the term 'blog', originating from 'weblog', literally meaning 'logging the web.' Since then, numerous blogging platforms have appeared on the online stratosphere – from microblogging on Twitter to video blogging (or vlogging) on YouTube.
Nowadays, written blog posts act as invaluable marketing tools for businesses. A significant blog and article difference is that blogs are published on websites only, while journalistic articles are also consumed as print media. Blogs can also vary in style, tone, and structure, ranging from informal, personal writing to specific, professional content.
What does that make articles then?
Articles have been around since the dawn of the press, steeped in years of journalistic tradition, with the primary intention of helping readers stay informed. While the digital age has changed how we consume articles, they are still commonly associated with newspapers, journals, and other print publications.
What is the purpose of each?
The primary purpose of a blog post is to boost the website profile and status. Blogs can play many roles for a business: improving their domain authority, lead generation, link building, and overall SEO ranking through keywords. The medium has shifted from an online diary to a marketing tool, encouraging the reader to click through to other pages and take a specified action.
A secondary intention behind any blog post should be to entertain and offer value. An SEO blog post is your chance to reach more readers with helpful information, so you need to keep them reading with excellently written content. The longer a reader spends reading a post, the greater the opportunity to improve brand perception and develop meaningful relationships with current and prospective customers.
By providing readers with valuable and trusted information, you are gradually building their trust, meaning catching them early in their buyer journey, so they are more likely to purchase your product or service when they need it.
Unlike a blog's role as a digital marketing tool, an article's primary objective is to inform. Articles provide trustworthy, detailed information on a topic without influencing a reader's actions and readers enjoy learning and becoming more informed on specific topics. When a brand offers this opportunity, readers learn to trust and rely on the information they provide, meaning they are more inclined to become long-term loyal customers.
Differences in voice and tone between blogs and articles
Blog posts are usually written from a personal perspective, combining the author or brand's experience. As a result, blogs are less likely to convey thoroughly researched facts, focusing instead on opinion and the business's value. This means blog posts offer an excellent opportunity to reflect a brand's personality and preferences and increase the potential of forming intimate bonds with their target audience.
Blog content is usually persuasive or sales-led, as the intention is to share its business's value and encourage readers to purchase its products or services. Due to their often casual nature, these posts can include lists, bullet points, slang, and more informal use of punctuation and language. Writers can focus less on traditional writing styles and more on creating a unique, authentic voice for their brand.
Articles, on the other hand, are written to share news, facts, and information. They are research-rich and usually maintain a neutral or impartial tone (unless it’s an opinion article) rather than being designed to sell a product or service. Journalistic articles are structured to flow from an editorial perspective, helping the reader move through an in-depth topic or story with ease.
As articles are more formal and less personal than blog posts, they tend to be less dramatic. The primary goal is to offer knowledge, helping readers become empowered, informed citizens through the power of the written word.
Depth of research
Both blog posts and articles respect their sources. Well-written articles always make sure to name-check valuable sources of information, and compelling blog posts provide links to reputable external websites and resources.
Blog posts typically include links for SEO purposes to drive traffic to other pages within the website or encourage clicks through to external websites with high domain authority. Meanwhile, journalists will often interview field experts to include quotes or refer to information and statistics from reputable sources to back up their stories and opinions.
The links provided in the content are closely related to the depths of research required for each type of article. For example, blog posts, which are often opinion-based, have more free rein to make claims without necessarily needing to back them up.
In contrast, articles need to provide strong evidence to support any assertions made through the journalist's research or interviews with credible experts to be considered reliable. Therefore, when writing articles, writers must research more extensively and find quality sources that will support the angle and add value and credibility to the piece.
Length and structure
SEO blog posts can range from 300 words to 5,000 words, with long-form content increasingly becoming more sought after. However, posts of 1,000-2,000 words are the most common as they are optimal for SEO purposes and reader engagement. This provides the perfect balance of bringing more people to a post, encouraging readers to stick around, and increasing the chance that they will heed the call to action.
Since articles take a more in-depth approach, they are usually longer than blog posts. They average around 2,500 words, depending on usage and readership. However, this number can vary widely. With attention spans growing shorter, many publications are opting for shorter articles between 300-500 words to deliver points with precision and simplicity.
Which do you need?
Both articles and blogs are valuable forms of communication but your needs and goals will determine which one works best for you.
In general, articles are more thoroughly researched and crafted to present an in-depth argument or topic with the tone of a broadsheet newspaper. This level of linguistic sophistication and factual research is ideal if you are looking to position yourself as an expert in a print publication or well-known newspaper or magazine. Articles also work as opinion pieces, which can be submitted to well-known journals or periodicals.
A blog post is another powerful tool for increasing brand visibility but often forms part of a greater SEO-led strategy. A standalone blog post won't necessarily boost your profile hugely, but a concerted blogging campaign presenting your brand's insights, ideas, and information will help build your presence online. For optimum engagement, it is recommended that you post multiple blogs a month to build up momentum, boost your SEO and create more opportunities to connect with your target audience. This consistency helps present you as an authority in your field.
At Contese Agency, we are experts in writing both editorial articles and blog posts. With a background in broadsheet journalism and a dedication to SEO content writing, our team can offer you a package that suits your unique set of needs and goals. We can help you leverage the power of words to unlock your potential and establish the brand loyalty that your business deserves. Contact us to learn more.