Do you write articles, blog posts, or both?
Many writers and their clients don’t know how to answer this question. That’s because the line between an article and a blog post has become blurry over the past decade.
Some online publications started as blogs and some publish blog posts and articles side by side. No wonder there’s such confusion.
If writers and publishers don’t fully understand the difference between the two, imagine the confusion in the mind of the average consumer.
As writers, we need to understand which type of piece we are being asked to write.
I first explored the difference between articles and blog posts four years ago. Since I first wrote about the topic, the line between the two types of writing has become even more blurry.
In this post, I’ll take another look at the differences between an article and a blog post. I’ll also share my opinion on what that difference means for writers and what writers should do about it.
What Writers Are Saying Now
Are articles and blog posts different? Are those differences important? If so, how do they impact writers?
I wanted to find out the answers to those questions, so I took a look at some recent posts on the topic:
- On Social Media Today, from Betsy Kent, The Difference Between Articles and Blogs. This post lists some of the differences between a post and an article. It also discusses when to use each type of content.
- On Make A Living Writing, from Carol Tice, Writing an Article vs. Writing a Blog Post: What’s the Difference? Carol discusses how blogs and articles have started to become similar. She also believes that article writers receive better pay.
- On HubSpot Blogs, from Emmy Snider, Confessions of a Former Journalist: What I Learned From Becoming a Corporate Blogger. This post looks at the topic from a different angle. It chronicles the experiences of a journalist turned corporate blogger.
- On Huffington Post, from Mark Chesnut, How to Deal with Travel Writers, Part 1: Bloggers vs. Journalists. This interesting piece, written from a client’s perspective, compares travel bloggers to travel journalists. Even if travel isn’t your niche, this is worth a read.
While I’m not sure I agree 100% with every point made in the pieces above, if you’re a writer it’s important to be familiar with what others think about the differences between blog posts and articles. Those thoughts may be echoed by your clients.
My Opinion Now
So, what does a freelance writer need to know? Here’s a list of some important points to remember:
- Many types of writing are needed. The web is all about finding and sharing good information to those who need it. Articles and content are just two types of the many kinds of content out there. Blog posts and articles inform readers and provide necessary balance.
- Blog posts sometimes require research. A common misperception is that an article requires research while a blog post can be written quickly from the blogger’s own knowledge. While this is sometimes true, most often good blog posts need to be researched. The more technical the topic, the more research will be required.
- Length makes no difference. Another misperception is that blog posts are always short, while articles are always long. Again, length is not what determines whether a piece is a blog post or an article. I’ve seen some very long blog posts and some very short articles and vice versa.
- Should you correct a client’s misperception? If your client uses the wrong term, should you correct them? This is a tricky one. I’d say if they use the wrong term, ask for clarification until you are sure you know what they want. I wouldn’t make a big deal out of the terminology, since even writers get this wrong.
My take on the topic is still that the main difference between an article and a blog post is whether the writer is objective or includes their opinion in the piece.
What You Should Always Do
Regardless of what type of writing you do, some common principles apply:
- Write for the target audience. Whether you write blog posts or articles, find out who you reader is and address your writing to them. If you get this wrong, most of the rest doesn’t matter.
- Get a clear, complete scope of work. Do this not only so you can meet the client’s expectation in a timely fashion, but also so that you can charge a fair fee for your work.
- Aim for a high quality piece. Poor research and bad writing helps no one. It doesn’t help your client and it doesn’t help your portfolio. Put your best effort into everything you write.
- Charge based on the scope of work, not the type of piece. This is important. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s “just” a blog post, or it’s “just” a short article. Quote a price based on the time you expect to spend.
- Don’t undercharge. This is a huge problem among writers. It’s so easy to underestimate the amount of effort a writing project takes or give in to a prospect who demands a lower prices. Don’t do it.
- Beware writing anything for free. Will getting published on a single high profile site help you succeed? Most likely it won’t. Getting many different pieces published on a huge number of high profile sites will probably make a difference. But what will you live on while you create all these free articles and posts?
I know I’ve touched on a lot of different topics. That’s because I believe there are a lot of misunderstandings about blog posts and articles. This can cause problems for writers and their clients.
Do you have an opinion on the difference between articles and blog posts? What misperceptions have you faced?
Share your thoughts in the comments.
P.S. In case you’re wondering, this piece was a blog post and not an article. 🙂