Writing an Article vs. Writing a Blog Post: What’s the Difference?

8 Differences between writing Blog Posts vs. Articles. Makealivingwriting.comThere’s a lot of confusion out there in the freelance-writing world today about blog posts and articles. Also, about what each of those types of writing should pay.

Recently, I got a lot of response to my call for freelance writers to stop writing blog posts. Many writers were confused about just what the difference is.

So let’s discuss. Because things are changing. And understanding the differences between these two writing forms will help you earn more.

For years, blog posts and nonfiction articles were distinctly different:

Differences between Blog Posts and Articles
Blog Post Article
Mostly your own opinion Your opinion not allowed
No interviews or research Has interviews and research from credible experts and research firms
Short Longer than 300 words
Built around SEO keywords Keywords not important
Good spelling and grammar optional Spelling and grammar are impeccable
Casual writing style More sophisticated writing style
No editor involved; self-published An editor cleans it up for you; published by a print magazine
Freelance pay rates usually very low; much work in the $5-$20 per piece range Pay rates from $.10-$1 a word and up

Then something happened, and over the past couple of years, the lines started blurring.

Blog-article convergence

Blog posts started to get more and more like articles. As a bazillion blogs crowded the Internet, the bar began to raise.

Blog posts began to have more interviews. They presented interesting data. Posts got longer as bloggers sought to stand out and deliver more value, until 1,000 words has become fairly standard, and 2,000-word posts are not uncommon. SEO keywords’ value lessened as Google cracked down on keyword-stuffed content. Also, as blogs got more professional, many hired editors.

On the article-writing side, there was also movement. Many print magazines began posting copies of their articles online. Suddenly, magazine headlines needed to drive traffic, just like blog-post headlines, and headline styles evolved. They published more opinion-driven pieces from thought leaders. Some also put up blogs where they let writers hit the ‘publish’ button on their own.

Wordcounts shortened for print, as ad revenue migrated online. Some magazines went online-only. Their style got breezier and more casual.

To sum up, the two types of writing began to merge into one. Definitions got squishy, and now there’s a lot of confusion.

Except about one thing: Blog posts tend to pay crap, and articles tend to pay better.

Client confusion

Uneducated clients who don’t really know these two forms have been busy muddying up the conversation about them for years. That’s made it hard for writers to define writing projects and bid them appropriately.

There are plenty of clients out there who call the 300-word quickie posts they want ‘articles,’ but still want to pay $5 for them.

There are also many clients who’d like you to write 1,000-word blog posts with two interviews and a research stat, but they’d like to pay $20 because “it’s a blog post.”

Your job as a freelance writer is to cut through the bull and get to what the assignment really is — then, talk about what that gig should really pay.

How writers can earn more

The fact is, clients are always going to try to get things cheap. It’s up to writers to educate clients about what they’re asking for, and what’s fair pay for what they want you to write.

The good news is, the convergence of blog posts and articles should offer writers better pay opportunities. Blog posts are growing up — they’re increasingly not the ugly stepsister of articles. So they ought to pay more like the articles they often are.

But it’s up to the writer to take the steps to capitalize on this change in the marketplace.

Some suggested steps:

  1. Define it. When a client tells you they want articles, or they want blog posts, ask them to define what they mean. Are there interviews involved? How many? What’s the piece length?
  2. Sway them. Sell them on the idea that what they want is considered an article by pro writers. It’ll instantly boost your rates. Make your case for why it’s an article gig.
  3.  Sell articles. When you’re talking to clients who don’t quite know what they want, sell them on the idea that you should be writing an article for them, rather than a blog post, if they want their content marketing to be successful. Share the news of how Google is frowning on short keyword-driven posts.
  4. Sell blog upgrades. If they want posts for an existing blog, sell them on the value of taking their blog to the next level, to more of a reported-story, magazine-type feel, and what that could do for their reputation and visibility.

What to charge

Where most writers are lucky to get $100 a post for blog posts — and I recommend you try to make that your floor for blog writing — article rates are usually much better. I’ve written many at $300-$500, and many more at $600-$2,000, depending on length and complexity.

Many smaller daily papers pay in the $75-$100 range for short articles, but have the advantage of giving you more impressive clips for your portfolio. You also get the bonus of learning to report a story, which lays the groundwork for getting better-paying articles in future, from businesses or magazines.

Getting the win

The fact is, articles and article-style blog posts convey more authority. They impress more of your client’s customers. The projects will be more successful, and those clients will be more likely to hire you back to write more. It’s a classic win-win — you can charge more at the start, and will likely end up getting more work from the client, too, because they’ll be happier with the results they get.

This all sets you up to go after better-paying magazine markets, too, if you have that goal in your 2015 to-do list.

If you’re daunted by the idea of writing article-style blog posts or full-blown articles, learn more about writing articles.

The idea of finding experts, doing interviews, or vetting research freaks out some writers, I know. But trust me, you can learn this stuff. I learned it all on the job, by trial and error.

How to be a Well-Paid Freelance Blogger

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39 comments on “Writing an Article vs. Writing a Blog Post: What’s the Difference?
  1. Amel says:

    One difference between a blog post and a magazine article is that blog posts often contain links to other posts on a company’s site, which is a means of keeping the reader on the site for as long as possible. Also, blog posts are often written with the intention of convincing readers that they need a particular service offered by the company. Although these may be articles, they are written in a way that shows readers (directly or indirectly) how they can benefit from these services. Articles for corporate blogs, for example, often discuss some problem in the industry and then illustrate how the company is working to solve it. The word “blog” sounds hipper, but I agree that posts are essentially articles and should be compensated as such, especially when you must have deep knowledge of a company or industry to write the material. Also, these posts have great value to companies as they may result in thousands of dollars of business each time a new client is acquired and a sale is made.

    As for magazines that also have “blogs” on their websites, I have observed that blog posts often contain supplementary material that cannot fit in the print edition. Posts may include videos or other material that teases people into wanting to read the magazine. Blog posts are also good for timely news items that would be old by the time they made it into print. Another benefit to blogs is that they allow readers to interact with the author. More interaction and discussion means more interest in the magazine and more publicity as far as tweets, Facebook likes, etc.

    Keeping all of these things in mind can help writers pitch successful blog posts. At the end of the day, though, blog posts remain articles and still require hard work and planning to put together – and one should not be duped into thinking that blog posts necessarily deserve to be compensated less than a so-called traditional article. Anything with “two interviews and a research stat” is certainly a full-blown article and should be paid professional rates regardless of what it is called.
    Amel recently posted…Job Opp: Small Business Writers and Bloggers (pays $100 per post)My Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      It’s true, you’ve added one important point to the article vs blog post comparison — blog posts are linky. And traditionally, of course, print articles didn’t have links.

      Also a good observation that magazine blogs are often a good place to place news that can’t wait 6 months to see print — when I blogged for Entrepreneur we did a lot of $600 ‘online exclusive’ articles that were fully reported, but could get out there fast. More evidence of how these forms are crossing over — fully reported articles posted on a blog, but paid and reported like features.

  2. angela says:

    So would you not suggest writing an autobiography on a blog? I am working on my autobiography and someone suggested that I do a blog instead but I wonder if that is the writer forum for my story plus how do I protect the rights to my story?

    • Carol Tice says:

      Autiobiography is a bit out of my wheelhouse, Angela, as my focus is on paying nonfiction freelance work, rather than writing your life story.

      But in general, copyright attaches at the time of publication on your blog, and you can prove when you wrote it because of how blogs date things…and who is going to steal your life story? Probably not a huge concern. But I think most people who’re blogging a book don’t put it *all* on their blog — they put parts of it, and other parts are exclusive to the final book.

  3. Deena says:

    Thanks for the much needed clarification!

  4. Erika says:

    Thanks for this, Carol — it’s something I needed but didn’t realize.

    I’ve been writing a lot of “thought leadership” articles recently and they’re almost identical to the blog posts I’ve been ghostwriting except that they’re longer and don’t have links. Your post today is going to help me price blog posts stuff better in the future.
    Erika recently posted…Free cheat sheet for conducting a case study interviewMy Profile

  5. Lem Enrile says:

    Hello. I thought that there are no usual rates in freelancing…as you have told me before (in this article: http://www.makealivingwriting.com/4-steps-landed-5-article-writer-900-dollars/) But in this article, you have included the usual pay rates between a blog post and an article. I’m currently learning more about freelance writing, and I find your blog very helpful. I’m only confused. Thank you very much.

    “Freelance pay rates usually very low; much work in the $5-$0 per piece range” — $5-$0? You mean $10? $20? Thanks again.
    Lem Enrile recently posted…List of Recommended Horror AnimeMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Whoops! I think something happened when we built the chart there — I’ve corrected it now — should have said $20. While there are no ‘going rates’ or standard rates, there are common or typical rates that you see a lot, and unfortunately, blog posts still command very low rates from many, many markets.

  6. Lori Alcala says:


    This is a super helpful post. I’ve been battling with clarifying the difference, as I have clients who still refer to articles with interviews and research as blog posts!

    I have one client with whom I always use the word “article” when talking about these pieces, and another with whom I use the word “blog” (because of my own ignorance when starting out with them). Not surprisingly, rates for my “article” client are quite a bit higher than my “blog” client for the same work. Time to raise my rates for the “blog” client and remember to keep using the word “article” when appropriate!

    Also, a question about the rates you mention: “I’ve written many at $300-$500, and many more at $600-$2,000, depending on length and complexity.”

    Would you mind clarifying word count and complexity with these price ranges? Thank you!

    • Carol Tice says:

      Hi Lori —

      It’s less about length and complexity, I’d say, and more about better-paying markets. I’d say the 1,200-word, $2000 articles I write for Forbes are less complex than $750 features I wrote at 1800 words for Seattle Magazine, for instance. I wrote $2000 online features for one Fortune 500 at one point, and have done many $600, 800-word features that needed 3 sources.

  7. Monu Kumar says:

    Respected Carol Tice,
    I am was not aware from this comparison. Really this is very useful and informative article for me. Define it, sway them, sell articles and sell blog upgrades all are the awesome steps.
    Now I will surly work on these tips. Mind blowing comparison between writing an article and writing blog post.
    All the best
    Have a Nice Day
    Monu Kumar

  8. Daryl George says:

    Isn’t a blog post simply content put onto a “weblog” which is now known as simply a blog?

    Excuse my rather simplistic understanding but it always seemed quite obvious that the format of a “blog post” was entirely up to the person publishing it – whether a long or short post, case study, etc, simply that the content was put onto a blog.
    Daryl George recently posted…No Gigs, No Problem – How to Make Money From Your Freelance Blog Without Freelance Writing ClientsMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Well, that is another way to define it — if it’s published in a blog format, it’s a blog. But I think the quality of content can be vastly different. And good blogs increasingly resemble magazines.

  9. Shivani says:

    Hi Carol,

    This is a really helpful post. However, I disagree with you on one point: good spelling and grammar are not (or at least they should not be) optional even on blog posts! We should always encourage people to write with correct spelling and grammar because that helps the case for clear writing. It doesn’t have to be complex. Even simple sentences can be well-written.

    Shivani recently posted…Can Learning a New Language Teach You About Writing?My Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Some of us are sticklers for grammar and some not, Shivani…I know top bloggers who have a typo in every article, and are earning huge sums. Their audience doesn’t care. I’ve even seen ebooks that are riddled with grammar and spelling errors that do well. It depends on the audience.

      I never approached my blog posts as something that could be half-baked and full of errors, and I think that’s served me well.

  10. Steve Maurer says:

    Thanks again for another great article. Would it be a good idea to start merging the concept on our writers’ websites?

    Perhaps we could start by referring to blog posts as online content marketing articles in our services descriptions. That way, we would start moving away from the stigma of a blog post being a “cheap fix.”

    Any suggestions or recommendations? I already use “Articles” in the menu for my blog.


  11. Gina Horkey says:

    Great article! I love learning about the history of blogging and writing for the web. I like how just a few minor tweaks can give a pitch an edge. Thanks!
    Gina Horkey recently posted…An Unexpected Perk of Putting My Best Foot ForwardMy Profile

  12. I could see this follow-up coming as soon as I started reading the comments thread for “don’t write blog posts.” Way to go, Carol!
    Katherine Swarts recently posted…17 Bible Promises for the New YearMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Glad you liked — I worried I was being too repetitive, but the ‘hot’ reaction to that previous post made me feel we needed to back up and talk about what the differences are.

  13. Stacey says:

    I’ve seen this a lot, and find it really annoying.

    “We want 1200 blog posts that are heavily researched for $4 a post”

    … Ah, what!?

    I’m glad you posted this. It’s nice to see someone else out there feeling the same way.
    Stacey recently posted…Put your loved ones at ease about your travel plansMy Profile

  14. Hi Carol! I like your definition of the difference between these two forms of writing. I come from a journalism background, and I think of articles as more heavily researched and often involving interview sources – for which I would charge a lot more. Whereas if I’m just writing a short opinion piece, I would expect to charge and make a lot less. The more freelance writers know the difference, and not only charge accordingly, but also educate clients, the easier it will be to get paid what we’re worth.

  15. For example: how would you classify the work described in the ad below–and its actual payment value? (It was originally posted on Craigslist–a potential red flag in itself, I know–and was forwarded to another online writers’ board which shall remain nameless here.) Bracketed sections are my own thoughts.

    We are continuing to grow editorial at a leading small business blog and are looking for contributors who can regularly provide high-quality, timely, and well-written stories about small business.

    [I personally have a rule against applying to any job, whether posted by Craigslist or a major employment agency, that keeps the client’s actual name a secret.]

    Specifically, we are looking for the following:

    > Regular stories with small business tips; operational advice on marketing, management, and finance; interviews with small business leaders; and case studies about small businesses in a variety of industries who can share their success stories and the lessons learned from them with our audience. Note that all stories, regardless of topic, require a financial/money element. We primarily rely on writers’ pitches for these. This comprises the vast majority of our coverage.
    > Regular blog-style coverage of small business current events and news: Legal decisions, government rulings, regulatory news, tax updates, and other errata of interest to the small business owner. We want to demystify this news and make it easy, digestible, and accessible to the busy small business operator.
    > Hands-on product reviews of small business technology — a piece of hardware, software, mobile application, etc. — that’s applicable to the small business world. Listicles of top mobile apps are especially desired.

    [Obvious implication: whoever takes this job can expect to work hard and should have expert skills in writing, research, and interviewing.]

    Work is ongoing and regular — up to several posts per week. Please do not apply unless you can commit to submitting at least one story per week — though we can publish up to five per writer.

    [Potential red flag here: five items a week is a lot by most professional writers’ standards.]

    Familiarity with online content management systems is a huge plus. Stories typically run about 500-600 words, but we have the flexibility to publish longer stories as the topic demands.

    [Article-length by the “longer than 300 words” standards–and that “familiarity with online content management” is another “PROFESSIONAL writers preferred” implication.]

    This is a high-visibility opportunity and we are looking for the very best writing talent, which is why we pay a premium over other blogs. We want posts to be fun and easy to read, not stuffy and dry. You must have a good ear for language, but you should also be cognizant of online publishing realities and be able to use key search engine keywords in your posts and headlines without sounding robotic. Accuracy and strong attention to detail are an absolute must; we expect factual and well-sourced posts, not rambling rehashes of other people’s work or wild conjecture. If you think you are a good fit, we want to hear from you!

    [And another emphasis on “do a job worthy of a professional.”]

    Pay is a flat $100 per post.

    [I call this an “uh-oh”; granted that it looks pretty good compared to content-mill wages and even the average one-time guest post, I would think that any writer capable of proper interviews, technical content management, and “accuracy and attention to detail” in “factual and well-sourced post” would value her work at more than 20 cents maximum per word. And I don’t trust clients who imply upfront “no room for negotiation.”]

    Please send your resume, a letter of interest, and clips to published samples of work (working URLs to live posts only) that is of relevance to the small business space. When responding, your email subject line must read “gooseberry application” followed by your full name or it will be deleted. Please also include three brief story ideas that meet the criteria outlined above so we can get a sense of your understanding of the audience and the above story guidelines. (If we like your application, we’ll probably greenlight your pitches.) Your resume should be the only attachment to your email. Do not send story clips as an attachment. Applications that do not meet all of the above requirements will not be considered at all.

    [Does seem to back up the claim that they won’t take just anybody.]

    Open to individual U.S. citizens with U.S. mailing addresses only. Please, no businesses/agencies/marketing firms/content mills/etc.

    [At least they know the term “content mills”–though I’ve never heard of a market that felt the need to specify “individual people only.”]
    Katherine Swarts recently posted…17 Bible Promises for the New YearMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      At $100, I call it blog posts. A quick review of something, respinning online news, writing off your knowledge, hopefully in an hour. Which means you’re getting $100 an hour. Nothing wrong with it. But I’m not seeing “including two interviews in each post of 1,000 words” or something, which would more make me feel they’re trying to get an article at blog rates.

      This sounds similar to the gig I had at Entrepreneur’s blog for a while, which I earned a nice hourly wage on. They want experienced reporters who can write fast and know the space super-well already.

      My question to you is — why are you looking at boards like these instead of doing your own marketing?

      • Well, I only look at specialized boards (including the Den jobs section), and I spend less than an hour on them for every three hours spent on marketing and networking. As I said, this particular ad came via another professional-writers’ online discussion forum, and I didn’t plan on answering it myself (at least not without knowing the name of the hiring company); I was just interested in exchanging a few “where to draw the line” thoughts.
        Katherine Swarts recently posted…17 Bible Promises for the New YearMy Profile

        • Carol Tice says:

          There can be legit reasons for not revealing the company, but I agree most of these are scams. I responded to one ad once, for instance, and it turned out to be a website owned by CBS. I think they thought they’d get a ton of unqualified people if they knew who the employer was.

          • Good point; a well-known name draws “big break hunters” like rotting meat draws flies. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard one or another major publisher complain about wannabe writers who have no respect for the official guidelines–many of whom also have no scruples about stating outright that THEIR work is worth making an exception for.
            Katherine Swarts recently posted…17 Bible Promises for the New YearMy Profile

    • Amel says:

      Dear Katherine,

      I shared a link to this ad on my blog for freelance writers earlier this week, so I hope you don’t mind if I share some of my thoughts on it as well.

      1. I agree with Carol that many of the ads posted on Craigslist are scams. Many others, however, are legitimate opportunities from legitimate companies. Personally, I found one of my best-ever clients through a Craigslist ad and made more than $40,000 with this client over the course of a year. This job led to bigger and better things and gave me tons of experience that I used to gain new clients in the same field.

      2. The biggest concern in the posted ad is that we don’t know who the company is. As Carol said, though, a company may prefer not to state this information in the ad so that they do not become inundated with spam and junk-applications from unqualified writers. The client I mentioned above was a prominent entity, and I can’t remember, but I am pretty sure their ad did not contain their name.

      3. If applying to this ad, it would certainly be important to me to know the name of the company. I would then spend some time checking out their reputation. If the company did not have an on-line presence, or if I felt that there were too many red flags during our communications, I would either not proceed, or I would proceed with extreme caution, perhaps only doing one assignment to see how it went. These are precautions that writers should take in other situations as well. Even if a potential direct client contacts you through your website, you have to vet the person and make sure that this is someone you feel comfortable working with. Trust your instincts.

      4. I work in the translation industry, and it is common for translation ads to specify that they do not wish to work with agencies. To me, this is generally a positive sign as it indicates a desire to communicate directly with the person doing the work without having to go through a third party.

      I certainly can’t vouch for the ad that’s under discussion. Assuming they are honest, however, five posts a week @$100 per post is $2,000 per month, which may be a good deal for people who are able to do that type of writing quickly and efficiently. It would be great to hear back from people who actually answer the ad. As Carol often points out, one of the problems with ads of this type is that there is usually a lot of competition from other writers. Still, there are gems to be founds amongst the dreck on Craigslist, and I hope this ad proves to be a gem for at least a few writers who may benefit from this type of work.
      Amel recently posted…Job Opp: Small Business Writers and Bloggers (pays $100 per post)My Profile

      • Carol Tice says:

        I know plenty of writers for whom $2K a month for writing one post a day would be heaven, Amel! And yes, occasionally a real company wanders on there and posts, not knowing that Craigslist has such a poor reputation with freelancers for offering up mostly junk.

  16. Thanks for the clarification, it’s really useful to be aware of this developing trend. I come from a journalism background so I’m comfortable with the more traditional article approach. I’ve tried doing some seo content writing and found it really difficult and not very enjoyable.

  17. Danielle says:


    I have recently started my own blog. In order for me to get it up and running I have been doing some research. My question for you is what is the best thing to blog about? Is it best to keep it to the theme of the blog or write about what interests you? I like the fact that you distinguished between an article and a blog. As far as the articles, should that also correlate to your blog? I also write poetry. So how would I market that to my readers?


    • Carol Tice says:

      Danielle, there is no one best thing to blog about — if there were, every single blog would be about it, right? It’s going to depend on your experience and interests, and your research into whether a particular niche is easily monetized or not.

      It should definitely stick to a niche, though — all successful blogs do. I have a couple resources to recommend on blogging — I learned to build my blog from A-List Blogging’s Kickstart Your Blog course, and my How to Be a Well-Paid Freelance Blogger e-book is packed with tips on how to leverage your own blog to get paying gigs from clients.

  18. Your blog post has come out at the right time. I wish to say that most of the time, those hire writers are not clear about exactly what they want. I am sure they need to be educated about the difference between blog post and article.

    I beg to differ with you on one point. Articles do come up on search results only if they carry relevant keywords and their synonyms.

  19. Russell Coleman says:

    A very much interesting and enlightening comparison which most people often miss. Sometimes these (Article and Blog posts) get mixed up by many who may consider it to be essentially the same. This excellent write up will also help those interested in either one to know what is expected of them as they take a venture. Thanks and I will be sharing.

  20. shampa sadhya says:

    A long write-up that does not contain any interview and is written about the achievements of some great personalities then in that case, will this work be called an article or blog? I know blog is a first person write-up but the write-up I am talking about is in third person but is simply based upon biography so, how should I term it? Is interview necessary for an article?

    • Carol Tice says:

      Shampa, there are certainly articles that lack interviews, and blog posts that have them (see today’s post here on the blog, which has 5 interviews!). So that’s not the dividing line. I mean technically, an article is in a magazine, and a blog post is on a blog…but the point of my article is that if you want to be paid more for blogging, you have to do work more on the order of what you’d do for a typical article — namely, interviews and more in-depth research.

      Simply recycling previously written biographies is more of a blog post, because you’re not adding any value. I wouldn’t expect to be well paid for this type of work. It’s more ‘blog post’ type writing than article writing.

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