This question came up at an event I was at this past weekend. Especially the related questions:
Is there even a difference?
Does it matter?
While there are some experts who claim that anything posted on a blog is by nature, a blog post, I can agree that content of any length, posted to a blog can be considered a “blog post” but that’s just splitting hairs! The difference is in the way the two are used.
- Short! Typically under 500 words.
- Casual. You’re not trying to explain everything in a blog post.
- Frequent. Because there’s less content, they can (should?) be posted more often.
- Tightly written. One topic, one opinion.
- Longer. Over 500 words and up to several pages in length.
- Professional. The goal is to inform and are can be more formal in style and tone.
- Detailed. Not always fact-based (can be opinion) but they have all the details outlined.
Of course, this is an oversimplification of the differences but it’s a good starting point! Another way of thinking about it is that a blog post is like a magazine’s sidebar (good content, short, to the point) and an article is the main story.
Which style is right for you?
I think you should use both! Sometimes, it’s nice to post short snippets of information that didn’t take as long to write (or research) and post. But your readers are coming to you because you’re an expert in your field, they genuinely want to know your opinion, and they are looking for good information.
By varying the length and type of posts on your blog, you are engaging your readers. Most people don’t want a steady diet of long, takes time to read it, highly detailed articles. But, by the same token, I’ve seen to many topics only covered in a blog post when the subject matter really needed an article!
Even with our short attention spans and super-busy days, the right topic, written with all the word needed, will be read and consumed. Personally, it makes me crazy when I go to a blog, expected an well written, thought-out article about a topic and I get a blog post: little more than a summary or bullet points that sends me rushing back to Google to do more research. This also means I just left the blog — and the blog’s owner lost me as a converted subscriber, reader, and follower.
PS: This is a blog post! Tipping the scales at only 420 words.