What does it matter—blog article vs. blog post? Same difference, right?
Maybe you don't even know the difference. A blog's a blog's a blog, isn't it?
In today's complex world of personal blogs, travel blogs, business blogs, microblogs, mommy blogs, and many more—few are sure of what it actually means to blog. Is blogging a way of writing? Is it a genre? A style? Is it a kind of social media?
Full Disclaimer: You'll have to read the entire article to get to my point about "blog article vs. blog post," but let me assure you, the discussion on the way there will be well worth your time.
Nobody's Answering the Underlying Questions about Blogging
Today, many seasoned professionals continue to ask important questions about blogging, and they're not getting adequate answers. While the blog has become an incredibly important tactic for SEO, social media marketing, and earned media over the last fifteen years, the confusion on what it means to blog has only increased. Common questions include:
- If blogging is a marketing tactic, then why do fashionistas blog without selling anything?
- What's the purpose of blog communities like Blogger or Tumblr? Should my blog be on one of those platforms?
- If I publish a blog, doesn't that put me in the same realm as the Drudge Report and Talking Points Memo? They aren't businesses; why would I do that?
- Aren't blogs just a bunch of opinions published online? How does that create value for my company?
In marketing, insiders seem to hold a consensus that these questions were answered long ago and that today, "their blogging" means something different than other people who talk about "blogging" (journalists, mommies, travelers, etc.).
In reality, few people really understand the differences between different kinds of blogs. Marketers' distinctions are often elusive and unclear, and even descriptors like "business blogs," "marketing blogs," and "blogs meants for lead generation" seem inadequate, because...
- ...Isn't Techcrunch a business blog?
- ...What about the Wall Street Journal's MoneyBeat? If I build a business blog, will I be competing with that?
- ...A blog meant for lead generation? What do you mean?
Let's Really Define Blogging
A few months ago I wrote this definition of a blog:
"A blog is a format for publishing content that lets non-technical people post a series of writing easily, quickly, and repeatably."
While it's still a pretty good definition, at a basic level, people have trouble distinguishing between formats and genres.
Consider the trouble you might have defining a "magazine." Generally, magazines are defined as a physical pamphlet with normal pagination, but not as thick as book. You could also argue a magazine is genre, characterized by feature-length articles that tend to be editorial in nature. One is a format; the other is a genre—but they are both legitimiately definitions of a magazine.
Of course, if you look at specific magazines, like blogs, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Over time, writers and editors have stretched the definition and scope of what a magazine can mean, and thus, it's easy to get confused.
A similar process has happened with the blog, in its much shorter lifetime. While personal blogs were the first phenomenon to occur (in the early 2000s), now there are blogs for every topic, written by one writer or many, and published in a variety of styles and voices.
So, Why "Blog Articles" vs. "Blog Posts?"
Because blogs are still a very new genre/format, it's important for marketers to help audiences distinguish between different kinds of blogs. For example, Huffington Post, one of the most successful blogs of all times, doesn't promote their articles as "blog articles," they're just "articles." Similarly, LifeHacker doesn't call of its helpful content "blog posts;" they're just "hacks."
In the B2B marketing world, calling your articles "blog posts," is diminuitive and it generally makes content sound less informative, helpful, and thought-through.
Here on the Whole Brain Marketing Blog, we call the things we write "blog articles" because we know they're well researched, fully articulated, and edited to be as helpful as possible. We don't want our readers to forward an article to their boss, saying it's a pretty little "blog post." No. It's an article, just as the Harvard Business Review publishes articles.
So, consider what you call your blog, and what you call each article published there. Do your marketing efforts constitute a publication? Or is this your little side writing effort? The way you position the seriousness of your content, helps to determine how people read it and what they do with it.