Blogs vs Articles – What’s the Difference?

Writing Articles vs. BlogsBy Carol Tice

As the blog emerged over the past decade, an entirely new format for communicating took shape. At this point I find the line between a blog and an article often blurs — you see long blogs with many interviews, and short articles with many bloggy links.

What exactly is the difference between an article and a blog? As the two styles converge, it’s an interesting question. For instance, I write online articles for Entrepreneur magazine. How are they not blogs?

Here’s my take on what makes a blog a blog, as compared with an article:
Blogs:
  • Are short. I usually aim for 400-500 words at most, and on BNET we aim for 300 words.
  • Have links. They’re usually focused on building traffic, so they should link to related information elsewhere.
  • Are informal. The writing style in blogs is usually pretty casual. The need to follow Associated Press Style rules goes out the window, you can LOL or say frak or write incomplete sentences or whatever you please.
  • Usually publish online and not in print publications. I’m sure somewhere there’s a publication running a page of blog entries in its magazine, but the vast majority of blogs are designed to be viewed on a computer.
Articles:
  • Can be longer. Many online articles I write are 800 words, and publications I’ve done 3,000-word pieces. That just doesn’t work for a blog entry.
  • Are better researched. I usually spend a great deal more time preparing an article.
  • May contain multiple interviews. I do blogs with interviews in them too, but it’s rare to see a blog entry that covers a trend and has multiple experts quoted with their points of view.
  • Use a more formal writing style. This is a generalization, but more article clients seem to want assurance that you are familiar with AP or Chicago Style and can write to it. Articles in general tend to follow old-school journalism conventions to a greater extent than does your average blog.
  • Articles appear in print or online. And often, a print article will also be reprinted online by the publication. But you rarely see a blog for a company or publication turning up in a print magazine they do.

What do you think the difference between a blog and an article is? Leave a comment and let’s discuss.

This post originally appeared on the WM Freelance Writer’s Connection.

Photo via Flickr user creepetz