Writing an Article vs. Writing a Blog Post: What’s the Difference?

Carol Tice

Note: Ever wonder what the difference is between writing an article and writing a blog post? It’s a topic that comes up a lot when people ask how to become a freelance writer. Besides style and research, you might be surprised by one of the key differences between blogs and articles. And it’s why I decided to share this post again.
Enjoy! —Carol.

There’s a lot of confusion out there in the freelance-writing world today about blog posts and articles. Also, about what each of those types of writing should pay.

Recently, I got a lot of response to my call for freelance writers to stop writing blog posts. Many writers were confused about just what the difference is.

So let’s discuss. Because things are changing. And understanding the differences between these two writing forms will help you earn more.

For years, blog posts and nonfiction articles were distinctly different:

Differences between Blog Posts and Articles
Blog Post Article
Mostly your own opinion Your opinion not allowed
No interviews or research Has interviews and research from credible experts and research firms
Short Longer than 300 words
Built around SEO keywords Keywords not important
Good spelling and grammar optional Spelling and grammar are impeccable
Casual writing style More sophisticated writing style
No editor involved; self-published An editor cleans it up for you; published by a print magazine
Freelance pay rates usually very low; much work in the $5-$20 per piece range Pay rates from $.10-$1 a word and up

Then something happened, and over the past couple of years, the lines started blurring.

Blog-article convergence

Blog posts started to get more and more like articles. As a bazillion blogs crowded the Internet, the bar began to raise.

Blog posts began to have more interviews. They presented interesting data. Posts got longer as bloggers sought to stand out and deliver more value, until 1,000 words has become fairly standard, and 2,000-word posts are not uncommon. SEO keywords’ value lessened as Google cracked down on keyword-stuffed content. Also, as blogs got more professional, many hired editors.

On the article-writing side, there was also movement. Many print magazines began posting copies of their articles online. Suddenly, magazine headlines needed to drive traffic, just like blog-post headlines, and headline styles evolved. They published more opinion-driven pieces from thought leaders. Some also put up blogs where they let writers hit the ‘publish’ button on their own.

Wordcounts shortened for print, as ad revenue migrated online. Some magazines went online-only. Their style got breezier and more casual.

To sum up, the two types of writing began to merge into one. Definitions got squishy, and now there’s a lot of confusion.

Except about one thing: Blog posts tend to pay crap, and articles tend to pay better.

Client confusion

Uneducated clients who don’t really know these two forms have been busy muddying up the conversation about them for years. That’s made it hard for writers to define writing projects and bid them appropriately.

There are plenty of clients out there who call the 300-word quickie posts they want ‘articles,’ but still want to pay $5 for them.

There are also many clients who’d like you to write 1,000-word blog posts with two interviews and a research stat, but they’d like to pay $20 because “it’s a blog post.”

Your job as a freelance writer is to cut through the bull and get to what the assignment really is — then, talk about what that gig should really pay.

How writers can earn more

The fact is, clients are always going to try to get things cheap. It’s up to writers to educate clients about what they’re asking for, and what’s fair pay for what they want you to write.

The good news is, the convergence of blog posts and articles should offer writers better pay opportunities. Blog posts are growing up — they’re increasingly not the ugly stepsister of articles. So they ought to pay more like the articles they often are.

But it’s up to the writer to take the steps to capitalize on this change in the marketplace.

Some suggested steps:

  1. Define it. When a client tells you they want articles, or they want blog posts, ask them to define what they mean. Are there interviews involved? How many? What’s the piece length?
  2. Sway them. Sell them on the idea that what they want is considered an article by pro writers. It’ll instantly boost your rates. Make your case for why it’s an article gig.
  3.  Sell articles. When you’re talking to clients who don’t quite know what they want, sell them on the idea that you should be writing an article for them, rather than a blog post, if they want their content marketing to be successful. Share the news of how Google is frowning on short keyword-driven posts.
  4. Sell blog upgrades. If they want posts for an existing blog, sell them on the value of taking their blog to the next level, to more of a reported-story, magazine-type feel, and what that could do for their reputation and visibility.

Writing an article vs. blog: What to charge

Where most writers are lucky to get $100 a post for blog posts — and I recommend you try to make that your floor for blog writing — article rates are usually much better. I’ve written many at $300-$500, and many more at $600-$2,000, depending on length and complexity.

Many smaller daily papers pay in the $75-$100 range for short articles, but have the advantage of giving you more impressive clips for your portfolio. You also get the bonus of learning to report a story, which lays the groundwork for getting better-paying articles in future, from businesses or magazines.

Getting the win

The fact is, articles and article-style blog posts convey more authority. They impress more of your client’s customers. The projects will be more successful, and those clients will be more likely to hire you back to write more. It’s a classic win-win — you can charge more at the start, and will likely end up getting more work from the client, too, because they’ll be happier with the results they get.

This all sets you up to go after better-paying magazine markets, too, if you have that goal in your 2021 to-do list.

If you’re daunted by the idea of writing article-style blog posts or full-blown articles, learn more about writing articles.

The idea of finding experts, doing interviews, or vetting research freaks out some writers, I know. But trust me, you can learn this stuff. I learned it all on the job, by trial and error.

Do you have advice on article writing vs. blog writing? Let’s discuss on Facebook.

96 Comments

  1. Tecla

    Dear Carol,

    As an aspiring (currently still amateur) writer, I’m confused on how to make money with writing blog posts/articles. I’m having a hard time imagining what kind of text could guve the revenue you outlined. Could you give some examples of that? No one in my close family nor my fruebds has done writing for a job so I feel that I’m in completely unchsrted waters.

    Thank you in advance.
    Best, Tecla

    P.S. English isn’t my first lamfuage so I apologize if there are any grammar or style mistakes in my text.

    Reply
    • Angie Mansfield

      Hi, Tecla –

      Your best bet here is to find blogs on company websites and see what kinds of things they write about. It’s also a good way to get a feel for their tone and style, which you’ll want to match if you write for them.

    • Tecla

      Dear Angie,

      Thank you!
      My apologies btw, I understood your name was Carol.

    • Angie Mansfield

      Well, Carol IS the founder of the blog – I’m part of her admin team. 😉

    • Tecla

      Oh, I see xD
      Thanks!

  2. Beth M.

    Thank you for bringing some clarity to the muddied waters of professional writing! Makes perfect sense. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Komal

    Hey Carol, great read. I think every blogger makes this mistake once in a while and confuse it for an article and vice versa. This is important information and not much talked about. Thank you for writing this and explaining it so well. I especially loved the table of differences. Cheers!

    Reply
  4. OBELEYE ARINYEDOKIARI

    Hi Carol. I just want to say a big thank you for your blogs and articles on writing. I have always loved to write and talk but ended up getting a medical degree. Recently (two weeks ago), I went into freelance writing. I quit my job a year and 7 months ago and I’ve been trying to build my company (Health Entertainment). Writing is a huge part of it because I have a TV show on my YouTube Channel, Health Entertainment with Dr. OBels which comes with series of research ,and writings and I also write my movie scripts myself. I am yet to earn significantly from the company and I thought to myself “Since I’ve been writing FREELY for my company and she can’t even pay me… lol, why not do it for others who can and then use that to build the company?” So, I took the bold step. I am thrilled by your blogs and it has significantly improved my thoughts and manner of writing (still writing for myself). I am yet to get a contract though but I am very positive that something will come up soon. You rock!

    Reply
    • Evan Jensen

      Obeleye, Carol has lots of great advice here, including how to pitch editor using a query letter and how to pitch businesses using a letter of introduction. You probably need to do more pitching to land paid assignments. Sounds like you have experience and creds that will help you get your foot in the door. These resources are a good place to start: https://makealivingwriting.com/how-to-become-a-freelance-writer/

    • Carol Tice

      It sounds like crossing your health knowledge with freelance writing could work well — best of luck with it! Also, the video scripting background is great – look for digital agencies that specialize in producing video for opportunities there.

    • Rita Dean

      Does a Blog have to have a YouTube channel? Is that the real definition of a Blog? What if your POV is widespread and you want to be in a statement mode which promote questions/replies in return? Hope this makes sense to you. I would like to start something similar to a Dear Abby but not exactly that mindset.
      Rita

  5. Norman Musiiwa

    The teachings are spot on information for me. They removed a lot of fears and doubts I had. Thank you very much. I think I can start today.

    Reply

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