Thought leadership plays a critical role in content marketing, and blogs and articles are two great ways to serve it up. But what are the differences between these two formats? And when should you choose one over the other?
Blogs vs Articles: What’s the Difference?
Though blog posts and articles are sometimes used interchangeably, they have distinct differences in style, purpose, and point of view. That being said, the lines between the two are increasingly blurred. Savvy writers are borrowing best practices from both mediums to help their content stand out. Blogs are becoming more research- and fact-based, and articles are adapting from their print-only origins to accommodate web user reading patterns.
Here’s a quick look at blogs vs articles and how they differ. But keep in mind that these are general differences, not absolutes, and there is much overlap.
Comparing B2B Blog Posts and Articles
|Length||Short-form: 300–800+ words||Long-form: 500–1,000+ words|
|Tone||Casual, conversational||Formal, authoritative|
|Writing approach||Research-based as well as opinion-based and personal||Journalistic, research-based with facts, statistics, and quotes|
|Author||Company staff or executive, industry expert||Journalist, staff writer, or company guest contributor|
|Content||How-tos, FAQs, company announcements, industry trends, executive thought leadership, case studies||News, industry trends and research, interviews, how-tos, in-depth feature stories|
|Point of view||Generally first-person; company-centric POV||Third-person; unbiased, independent POV|
|Medium||Digital, company website||Print and digital, media outlet|
|Copy format||Shorter, scannable paragraphs and sentences||Longer, denser paragraphs; mix of short and long sentences|
|SEO optimization||Necessary||Necessary for digital, not for print|
|Frequency of publication||More often (lower level of effort)||Less often (higher level of effort)|
Blogs vs Articles: When Should You Choose One or the Other?
Blog posts and articles are each valuable in a B2B setting. With a longer buying cycle than business-to-consumer (B2C) buyers, B2B buyers take their time researching brands and evaluating their options. They’ll need to trust your brand before making a purchase decision. Blog posts and articles can help you build and nurture that trust.
Blog posts are arguably easier to write than articles, for the following reasons:
- Perspective and tone. Blog posts are often more casual in tone and provide an up-close lens of someone else’s perspective. First-person point-of-view writing may come easier to some authors.
- Research and effort. Articles strive to provide an unbiased overview of a topic, with detailed supporting information. To achieve this, article writers research their topic and interview experts to substantiate their claims, following journalistic best practices. Blog posts may not require as much substantiation.
- Process and time. Blog posts are written by company in-house staff, who control their own editorial calendar and approval processes. Article ideas first need to be pitched to a media outlet’s editors; articles can either be written by the media outlet’s staff, or by a guest contributor from your company. Either way, the process can take more time.
But again, when evaluating blogs vs articles, remember that one format isn’t necessarily better than another. Both are staples of an owned, earned, and paid media approach, with blog posts included in the “owned” strategy and articles supporting the “earned” strategy.
For a healthy content mix, you’ll find both articles and blog posts to be valuable.
Choose the blog format when you want to prioritize these objectives:
- SEO. Blogs can boost your company’s search engine rankings and drive traffic to your website.
- Leads. Well-executed blogs generate brand awareness, leads, and conversions. Businesses with blogs receive 67% more leads than those without.
- Expertise. Blog posts can help to establish your industry expertise and thought leadership in a given area.
- Brand voice. Blog posts provide a vehicle for your company’s unique perspective, allowing you to control the narrative.
- Empathy. Blog posts written by executives can share personality and color, allowing readers to make an authentic connection and develop trust.
Choose an article as your content format when you want to prioritize these objectives:
- Reach. Publishing or pitching articles on third-party media outlets may provide a wider reach than company-hosted blogs, increasing your brand awareness.
- Credibility. Having a media outlet write about your company or allowing you to contribute a guest article reflects positively on your brand and increases trust.
- Expertise. Getting quoted in a third-party article can establish you as an authority and thought leader in your field.
Takeaways for Your Content Approach
These days, the lines are blurred: Bloggers are borrowing from article best practices and vice versa. So, you’ll find more heavily researched blog posts, and more readable, SEO-optimized articles.
While it’s okay to borrow from both, don’t lose sight of your readers’ expectations for blogs vs articles—tone, length, purpose, style—and make sure to deliver on them.
Talk to Tendo
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