Engineering Copywriter Blog

Content marketing tips and insights to help grow your engineering audience

February 21, 2021

What are the Key Differences Between a Blog and an Article?

Content writers are often tasked to create blog posts and articles. While seasoned writers may know the difference between the two, it can confuse both new writers and website owners alike. The differences don’t matter to everyone, but it can be crucial knowledge for a good writer. After all, to create quality content, we need to comprehend the purpose behind each piece we create, and distinguishing a blog from an article can help in that regard. If this is something you find yourself wondering about, here are some key differences between the two types of content to guide you.

Writing style

One of the obvious differences between a blog and an article is the writing style. While articles generally have a more formal writing technique, blogs are not necessarily beholden to any particular style: it depends entirely on the writer or the owner of the website.

Articles focus more on facts and analyzes of particular subjects and don’t shy away from longer sentences that introduce, elaborate, and conclude. Articles are more objective and should limit language and punctuation that emphasize emotions (things like exclamation points and ellipses). Similarly, writers need to use full words and abbreviations must be spelled out in full when they first appear.

Blogs, on the other hand, are more casual and can use more creative expressions. They can create a relaxed atmosphere that more closely mimics a conversation with the reader. Writers can include slang, figures of speech, and broken syntax if they feel such will help them connect with their audience. Blogs also often focus on simpler and shorter sentences and can include simplified words and abbreviations.

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Content length

The length of the average blog post or article has changed over time. While most identify blogs as having shorter word counts than articles, bloggers who focus on their search engine optimization (SEO) know that longer blog posts with high-quality content work best on various search engines, especially with Google. Blog posts of over 1,000 words are quite common. Generally speaking though, blogs don’t have a specified word limit and most weigh in around the 500-word mark and above.

In contrast, articles in certain industries have more specific word count requirements because of their purpose. An article is meant to provide in-depth insight into a particular topic or subject, so short content often isn’t sufficient. Word count for this type of content usually ranges from 1,500 to 3,000, depending on the subject.

Depth of research

Another notable difference between the two types of content is the depth of research required for each. An article writer must provide detailed information supported by references and citations. Its main purpose is to act as an informative piece of content that educates readers. Hence, the writer must conduct thorough research on each topic and subtopic and justify their conclusions with data.

A blog can also provide high-level information such as data and statistics but it does not always include an explanation of what the data means or why it is important. The content of a blog can be helpful and educational but it does not have the same scholarly tone as an article. It can also be easily scanned, allowing readers to understand the underlying ideas behind the post without reading every single word.

Writer’s perspective

An article will ideally be written in the third person, using such pronouns as ‘it,’ ‘he,’ ‘she,’ ‘they,’ and ‘them’ because of its formal nature. The third-person perspective gives the content a more objective (rather than personal) tone of voice. Articles are typically seen in medical journals and online databases, so using the third-person perspective makes the content sound more credible and less biased.

A blog, on the other hand, can be written from a first- or second-person perspective because of its casual tone. Most blogs are created in a way that speaks to their readers, so the use of ‘I,’ ‘me,’ ‘you,’ or ‘we’ is common. This type of content is mostly based on opinion and will in some cases carry a laid-back and witty tone.

Post schedule

Running a website means keeping a regular posting schedule to maintain visibility among your readers. This is particularly important for marketing agencies and/or companies that promote products and are working on establishing good customer relationships.

Publication of articles usually follows a monthly content calendar in which each post is carefully scheduled depending on the company’s preferences. Because of the length and content requirements of each post, an article can be published once a week or more if the organization can maintain quality standards at that rate. If not, a slower rate of release is considered more acceptable for articles as compared to blog posts.

A personal or self-publishing blog can also have a content calendar, but it is more discretionary. Some bloggers post every day, while others prefer to post once a week. For those who are working on their Google rankings, however, posting consistently helps increase traffic and lead generation.

Writer’s opinion

As we have mentioned before, an article deals with facts and data, making it an objective form of content. A writer’s opinion on the subject matter is not encouraged as it will add subjectivity to the post. This is particularly true for those who are writing about a specific service or product like in the engineering world. As a writer, you will need to educate your readers about the facts, so giving your opinion can hamper your credibility.

For blogs, however, self-opinions are generally accepted and welcomed. They’re mostly seen as personal journals, and most of your readers may expect some opinionated posts. Writing a blog gives you, as the writer, the freedom to express your thoughts on multiple topics and you need not be restricted by any service level agreement (SLA) and deliverables.

It’s worth noting that with so much content out there today, some blogs blur the lines, so they can become rather “article-ish” if the author so desires, but the reverse is less accepted. If you set out to write an article, it’s best not to try working in your opinions.

Regardless of what type of content you create for your website or your clients, there is one thing you should always bear in mind: content is king. You must create high-quality content that provides valuable information to your readers. It is up to you, however, to decide on which content is the perfect fit for your website and your readers. If you need help in creating an article or a blog post, drop us a line and we will be more than happy to help you out!

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