In a digital world where content reigns over all, we all know that we need content, but we're not sure what type and why.
As a digital marketer, I get a lot of questions about what content really means and why it's necessary, but the most commonly asked question I've received over the last year is "what's the difference between an article and a blog?"
Believe it or not, there are a lot of differences between the two content types, with each serving different purposes but ultimately working to meet the same goal.
Check out the biggest differences between articles and blogs below.
Purpose of an Article
The overall purpose of an article is to provide in-depth insight on a particular topic or subject. It should take an educational and scholarly tone-usually written in second or third person-and be at least 1,000 words that provide a ton of detail and well-researched information. We typically see articles in mediums like medical journals and online databases, and they primarily feature data instead of imagery.
Think about the last time you read an article in a magazine-I'm going to guess it was long, insightful, and required you to read the entire piece to understand what its intention was.
That's the thing about articles. They're not easy to scan, and that's because it's not their intention. Authors of articles put a lot of work into their content, conducting loads of research and crafting their article to deliver in-depth information that's going to educate the reader as if they were sitting in a classroom.
From a digital standpoint, some people have started to refer to articles as long-form content. No matter what you call it, be prepared to spend a lot of time crafting it.
Example Title: "Research Shows That Websites with Blogs Increase On-Site Time by 50%"
Purpose of a Blog
The main purpose of a standard blog is to deliver high-level information without getting into too much detail. Blog posts are usually right around the 500 word mark and are usually written in first person, though it's not necessarily uncommon to see them in second and third as well.
You'll see blogs that contain data and statistics, but they usually don't go into detail about what that data means or why it's important-it's more used as means to justify the content around it.
As for the tone, blogs are meant to be helpful, educational, and intriguing, but they don't have the scholarly tone that you'd find in an article. Instead, the tone, in some cases, is even laid back and witty.
Because of the short length of the content, blogs can typically be scanned within a couple of minutes, and the reader should be able to understand the underlying meaning without reading every single word of the post. You'll also often see images accompany the blog post, which help to tell the story and add a visual piece to the post that helps to keep readers engaged.
Example Title: "How to Increase On-Site Time with Blog Content"
You Need Content
Image via Shutterstock
Regardless of which route you take, I can guarantee that you're going to end up at the same road, and that's that you need fresh content on your website.
If you're wondering why, then you're already behind. We've all heard the famous line that content is king, and while I'll admit that it's definitely overused, there's no denying that it's true.
These days, the search engines-aka Google-want to see that you're consistently adding new content to your website; this is what's going to help you rank high organically (SEO). Google's job is to provide quality results for its searchers, and if you're publishing fresh content and striving to be the educational hub for your vertical, Google is going to see that and is more likely to rank your website higher in their search results (See Google Panda and Panda 4.1).
It's important that you don't just throw up content on your site that doesn't bring value to your readership, though, because that's just a waste of time on your end and isn't going to help your readers or your SEO. It's all about quality, and that's why you should look to primarily utilize blog posts, and create articles where you feel its necessary.
Consider blogs a necessity and articles a luxury if you have the time and methods to conduct the necessary research. I'd recommend updating your website with fresh content-blogs or articles-at least twice per month, and more if you have the time.
Now, get out there and fill the world (and your website) with great content!