Today we further our discussion on the difference between blog posts and articles for both the web and print. In “Blog Posts vs. Articles: Length and Point of View,” I discussed how many of the tools, tips and tricks I publish here on Article Writing are applicable to both blog posts and articles. Successful application of interviewing tips, lede creation, etc., depends on knowing how to cater your writing skills to the piece. Defining the difference between blogs and articles means looking at not only the length and POV, we also need to understand audience expectation.
When writing an article, writers should always think about the audience for which they are writing. Knowing their habits and meeting their needs is important to having a successful article and a successful freelance writing career. They want the latest news and gossip without the drawn-out teasers and commercials of television. Your reader could be a busy professional looking for an expert, or at least a knowledgeable person’s advice on a product; or a hobbyist looking for instruction or ideas on a new project. Imagine a busy parent, who in between tending to their kids, balancing the family budget, driving to activities and wiping mystery goo off the floor, has stopped to browse the net to connect with other parents or research a concern.
Now ask yourself, what do these readers want? What are their needs?
When readers hop on the ‘net they are often looking for a quick read, fix or solution to whatever is going on in their lives. They have limited time and blog posts are there to fulfill that need, while adding personality, opinion and community.
Articles have personality to an extent, many have opinion, but blogs are where the people go to read and talk – hopefully. Blog posts inspire people to read, respond and follow a particular blog. They become invested in the community, interacting with the writers and other commenters.
Articles for both the web and print will inspire comments and letters to the editors, but the expectations are different. The don’t really expect a response from the writer or editor and are often tickled, or horrified, when someone does respond. They also expect a journalist’s approach to the subject matter – information given and shaped by sources and facts rather than the writer. When a person settles down with a magazine they are doing just that – settling in for a period of time to read and they expect in-depth coverage.
So in short (too late) blog posts – quick, informative and community building; articles – in-depth journalism.
Coming Up: Blog Posts vs. Articles: Format