by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
As a mentor of my writing peers, I am often asked to discern the difference between a blog post and an article. When submitting work to clients and content sites, how do you know if your writeup should have gone to your blog instead? Blogs can certainly be professional and articles can definitely be conversational. However, even though you can publish an article on your blog, it's not very wise to submit something that should have been a blog as an article. In some cases, it may even hurt your career. So what's the difference?
What is a blog post?
A blog post is written text on any subject or event and can be fact or fiction. Poetry can even be used as blog posts. There is generally no word count limit for a blog posts, unless specified by the blog owner. Some people use blogs to tell others about daily events in their own lives or in certain industries, sports, or causes. Others may use blogs as a form of self-expression. For instance, someone going through an illness may update the blog on their progress or their feelings throughout their journey. Another person might blog about their children or their favorite sports team. Personal blogs are often (but not always) based more on opinions then they are on facts. Business or professional blogs may read more like articles.
What is an article?
An article is a text writeup that is generally non-fiction. Although some styles can be fiction, such as a satire piece. Usually if an article is meant to be satire, it will be specified. People generally read articles as a trusted source of information. They also expect to find enough details to answer what the title implies. News stories are one form of article. How-to guides are another. In both cases, the information should be clear, to the point, and appropriately detailed. Articles are generally longer than blog posts, but not always. An article should be an appropriate length to get the point across without too much or too little information.
Can an article be a blog post and vice versa?
Some professional blogs read more like news articles. This is fine and even respected. However, blog posts should not be substituted for articles in most cases. For instance, your blog post about your terrible breakfast does not belong on an informational site. However, if you would like to give your blog a more professional feel, by all means, post articles instead of treating it like a personal journal.
What about personal experience articles?
Personal experience can bring a unique angle to an article - provided that's what the client wants. However, personal experience does not mean you have to dish on the latest family drama to get the point across. If you must do that, at least leave it to your blog. In an article, it's only necessary to share enough of the experience to get the point across. Share what adds to the informational aspect of the article. But don't share as much as you might tell your best friend.
Discerning whether to use your writeup as an article or blog post.
When making the decision whether to post your writing to your blog or to sell or publish it as an article, there are several things to consider. Does the article provide the reader with useful and unique information? Would you want to read it as a solution to an issue or a source of information? Is it factual without unnecessary rambling? While your blog readers may want to hear every minute detail, the average web reader would rather skip to the point. If people want a blog post, they visit a blog. But if they want facts, instructions, or info, they look for an article.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network.
by Richard Rowell, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
There’s nothing worse than starting a blog, promoting it, and then as soon as you don’t see immediate results to abandon it. That is something that happens all too often with blogs. But you simply can’t give up.
It can take months for search engines to take your site seriously when it comes to rankings. In order to get highly ranked in search engines, you need to be able to blog consistently and effectively. So, how do you write a successful blog post on a consistent basis without sacrificing quality?
Quality Blog Posts vs. the Quantity of Blog Posts
Many content marketing experts suggest that you blog at least three times per week. However, the old rule of quality versus quantity most certainly applies, especially in blogging. You may get incredibly passionate bloggers to work for your site, or you’re a passionate blogger yourself already. However, consider if you are watering down the effectiveness of your blog by diluting quality in trying to get as much quantity as people tell you that you need.
One great way to overcome these quality issues is to find topics that you can split into two or three separate posts. Many great blogs tend to write posts on similar, but related topics. Of course, be sure that you’re not repeating yourself, although some strategic repetition is fine. Some content possibilities include having Top 10 lists and various topical series.
You can also ask experts in your field (or a related field) for an interview. You'd be surprised who might just interview you! You can also request expert guest posts - although this strategy doesn't work quite as well as it used to, but you may get lucky!
Let’s look at all three of these possibilities.
POSSIBILITY #1: Product-Oriented Content That Isn’t Too "Sales-y"
Say you have a blog that compares top-selling brands of appliances. You don’t want to sound too sales-oriented. Even if you have lucrative affiliate programs, most affiliate programs don’t really want you to sound sales-y.
Let’s say you have Brand A, Brand B, and Brand C that you find to be the most popular. You could have a Top 5 series with these brands and two other competing brands. In this case, you’d write about Brand C first and what makes it stand out from the competition. What would make people want to choose that particular brand and how does it stack up to other popular brands?
Then, perhaps a few days later, write about Brand B and compare it directly to Brand C and other popular brands. Then you’d finish off the series with Brand A, and compare all three of your top brands. You want to position yourself as an expert appliance reviewer. You’re looking to help with visitors' buying decisions, not to try and make them for them.
This is the trick with what is called “inbound” marketing. You want to people to buy products through your site, obviously. But in blogging and other forms of inbound marketing, such as social media and search engine marketing, you need to position yourself as an expert.
You need to figure out how best to utilize your expertise or the knowledge of other non-competing members of your particular field to keep your products in mind without directly pitching them to consumers. It’s the old “top of mind” strategy, and it works well, but you have to be very careful to be an expert and not appear to just be a spokesperson for Brand A, B, or C. That’s fine for a sales floor or cold call, not your blog, Facebook fan page, or Twitter feed.
POSSIBILITY #2: Cornering Your Niche
Say you’re trying to get into a particular niche in your industry. Many great blogs target specific niches that have low competition, even for very popular topics. So, how do you write great blog posts that can corner a particular niche that you serve?
Let’s pretend you’re writing for a kitchen and bath design firm. In your blogging research, you’ve found that galley kitchen designs are very popular in your area. You can write a series of five or six posts that cover different aspects of galley kitchen design. It’s actually a fairly popular search term that’s been trending steadily in traffic over the past several years.
If you decide to go that route, you could cover a variety of topics concerning galley kitchens. You may discuss the space restraints in a galley style kitchen and how to best overcome them. You may discuss what sort of appliances work best in a galley kitchen. There are considerations for cabinetry styles and counter tops which best fit into those types of kitchens. You could also focus on a slightly different keyword phrase as well, such as “galley kitchen ideas.”
There are quite a few things that you could cover to develop expertise around the niche of galley kitchen design. Keep in mind that you could sustain this series for a month or two if you post one Galley Kitchen Design article weekly. You want to build some authority around this topic, if it’s something you believe your potential customers may be interested in.
Then again, you may not want to focus simply on niches, either. This brings us to possibility number #3.
POSSIBILITY NUMBER #3: The Weekly “Expert” Blog or Interview
It was once a very popular blogging strategy is bring in experts every week to cover one specific topic on your blog. Sometimes, this could be a writer who focuses on the hot topic of the week in your blog’s given field. Other times, it could be a writer that specializes in very specific things. The trick is to complement this sort of content into the broader spectrum of all that you do with your site.
However, in more recent times, guest posts are increasingly hard to get unless your blog is already a big hit. The better way to get experts onto your blog is to conduct interviews. They can often be done by email. It's almost free content for you, a free link for your interviewee, and exposure for both of you.
Here’s a specific example. Say you’ve been blogging for a sports marketing agency that helps sports teams produce merchandising opportunities. But your regular content just isn’t bringing people to the site as you may have hoped. This is where you can bring in an expert in sports marketing or a related field to help out your cause.
You may want to interview your guest to discuss something broad such as the top uniforms in the league. You may also decide to ask about something more industry-specific such as how the best players in the league have their salaries decided. The former clearly has a far greater reach than the latter. You want to fall somewhere in between there. In an interview, you can ask both. But,if you really want to focus on a topic, that's fine, too.
Also, having a very niche topic once in a while is fine, too. For example, you may want to cover how the local team signed a sports star to a major contract and break down how it came together. Current and relevant content that's fresh and interesting to your blog’s intended audience is important to have.
If you manage to get an expert to actually write for you, consider yourself lucky. Just don’t rely on some great expert content to post every week. But if you can create a reservoir of expert interviews (or even posts), this can go a long way to keeping strong content in the pipeline.
Which is the Best Blogging Strategy?
Combine some of each of these possibilities and work them into your overall blogging strategy. You want to be general to catch as broad of an appeal as possible. Still, you also want to be topical and current for the sake of being diversified.
There is nothing as crucial to successful business as diversification. It’s as true as ever for blogging as it is for any other aspect of business. By having a wide array of content at your disposal you can be sure that you have plenty of quantity to keep the search engines happy. Then, you also make sure that your audience becomes accustomed to plenty of quality content.
Photo credit: Morguefile.com
Lyn Lomasi & Richard Rowell are life & business partners. Owners of Brand Shamans & the Write W.A.V.E. Media network, we are your brand healing, soul healing, & content superheroes to the rescue!
Running our network of websites, tackling deadlines single-handedly, and coaching fellow writers, brands, & entrepreneurs to be thought leaders is our top priority.
While rescuing civilians from boring content and brands, we conquer the world, living the RV life and managing our Intent-sive Nature with our awesomely crazy family while recounting The Nova Skye Story, along with Kymani’s Travels.
We also strive to one day cuddle with lions and giraffes. Until then, we’ll settle for furry rescue kitties and doggies.
We support many causes via our business ventures, such as homelessness, support for trans youth, equality, helping starving artists, and more! A portion of all proceeds from Intent-sive Nature goes toward helping homeless pets in local shelters.
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