Sumit is an experienced content marketer and editor with hands-on expertise in writing articles, blogs, and social media posts.
One of the most common questions that content writers ask is, “What is the difference between an article and a blog?”
You may have already read several write-ups on this topic—and if you're still unclear about what makes them distinct, you might find looking at the differences between the two genres helpful. Here I share seven major differences between an article and a blog that I have learned through hands-on experience.
1. Formal vs. Casual
This is the first major difference. An article focuses and revolves around the subject through facts and analysis. The overall approach is formal—but not necessarily mundane. The objective of an article is to provide the concrete, specific information a reader is looking for.
Usually, articles are written for clients, and they carry a formal, fact-based narrative, conveying more authority; in writing articles for Business-to-Business (B2B) clients, for example, a formal tone, authority, and reliable facts are essential. Clients that look for such content will likely hire you even in the future if your articles meet their expectations.
Writing a blog, on the contrary, does not have such rules. You can write blogs in different creative ways to increase their effectiveness. Usually, the tone of blogs is more relaxed and casual—like you're having a conversation with the reader.
2. Reasonable Length vs. Any Length
I hardly remember seeing a 300-word article. However, plenty of blogs are scattered around the Internet that are not even 200 words long. The length correlates to usefulness, and it is tough to illustrate a topic in a 300-word article.
A "reasonable" length for an article can be anywhere between 500 and 1,500 words. It can be longer, depending on the subject. A blog, on the other hand, can be of any length. Unless it's about personal views, subject-oriented blogs are often much longer (up to 3,000 words) and feature easy-to-read, scannable content.
3. Detailed vs. Bird’s Eye View
The purpose of an article is to delve deeper into a subject through several focus areas, facts, and statistics.
A blog usually provides high-level information on a topic without having to go into details.
Moreover, a blog can revolve around the specific aspect of a bigger subject.
4. Third Person vs. First/Second Person
This is another key differentiator. The ideal way of writing an article is in the third person, such as “It,” “Its,” He, “His,” “She,” “Her,” “They,” and “Them.”
Writing in the third person is due to the formal nature (see No. 1 above) of the content. However, writing in the second person is possible, particularly common in technical or instructional articles.
You can easily write a blog in the first or second person, such as “I,” “Me,” “You,” or “We.” In fact, it is a preferred way of writing a blog to talk to the readers.
In this article, for example, I am writing in the first and second person when talking about my personal experience and addressing you. It would sound weird if I wrote this piece in the third person.
Here is another example:
5. Periodical vs. Discretionary Schedule
Articles usually are published following a calendar. Marketing agencies/companies create a monthly content calendar and then break it down according to weekly content requirements.
Remember that the content requirement of a marketing agency and a company is different. An agency usually works with several clients, and it needs to deliver content based on the service level agreement (SLA). If the SLA, for example, is 40 content pieces per month, an agency has to deliver them to get paid.
On the other hand, a company may have its own products or services that it needs to market through in-depth content. It may choose to publish one article every 2–3 days or once a week based on its schedule.
There can also be a calendar for blogs if you work for an agency. However, there is no fixed calendar for self-promoting companies and personal blogs, and it is rather discretionary. The frequency of publishing blogs is relatively higher. Many bloggers prefer to post every day, whereas some others prefer posting once a week.
6. Articles Are Not Self-Opinionated; Blogs Can Be
Personal opinions and perspectives hardly have any place in articles. Again, an article presents a subject with supporting facts in an unbiased way.
Particularly, if you write for an agency, your articles will be on specific products or services, and you need to put together a piece to educate the target audience. Therefore, practically there is no room for self-opinions.
Blogs, specifically self-published ones, contain personal opinions or perspectives.
You can share your experience or opinions in your blogs, and many readers may like it. It means you are not restricted by any SLA and subsequent deliverables.
7. Pro Editing vs. Self-Editing (Self-Published)
The editing of both an article and a blog depends on whether they are self-published or written on behalf of an agency. If you publish an article or blog for your website, you can do the editing yourself. If you publish them on behalf of a marketing agency or directly for a client, they may get them edited by a pro editor or a quality analyst (QA). In some cases, an editor may suggest some rework.
If you want to edit the piece yourself, you can take the help of Grammarly or the Hemingway app. Also, perform a thorough final review to avoid grammatical and typographical errors.
When writing an article, remember to add all the crucial information that readers will find useful. The same goes for blogs. Despite having a casual tone, especially in the self-published ones, these days, long-form blogs written for clients contain interesting data, images, and infographics. It means other than the approach, the line between articles and blogs has become blurry.
And whether you write an article or blog, avoid dragging the piece out for length by adding fluff or insignificant information/repeated sentences. Readers easily recognize fluff articles, and they will lose interest if they don’t get any useful information.
That’s all from my side. If you find this post even a tiny bit helpful, please give your feedback in the comment section below. I will be glad if you do. Mahalo!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Sumit Chakrabarti