Articles vs. Blog Posts: What’s it Going to Be?

I read a very interesting AlertBox article by Jakob Nielsen the other day entitled “Write Articles, Not Blog Postings.” While I tend to think that there is a gray area between what’s an article and what’s a blog post, Nielsen presents a valid point: there’s a limit to the value you can provide if the blog post is “just another comment” on someone else’s work (gee that sounds like this post).

Even someone who demonstrates leadership within their specialized niche is bound to produce some crappy or at least quasi-crappy blog posts, claims Nielsen. “Blogs are also fine for websites that sell cheap products,” he adds.

So here’s my plan: to produce quality and value 100% of the time no matter what. Blog posts or articles — whatever Nielsen wants to call it. That means excellent and original content, assertively edited and entertaining every single time. Sure I’ll comment on the work of others but only if it supports my own case.

How realistic is this? It doesn’t matter how realistic it is because that’s what is going to make you competitive and ultimately successful.

John Chow writes a lot of stuff on his blog — a lot of it musing, trite banter — but even that sometimes carries value. For example in his email yesterday he was soliciting donations for a Canadian church to provide Thanksgiving dinners for the needy. He agreed to match the donations up to $1,000 per person. He said, “I am where I am today because I know that in order to receive any blessings in life, you must first give.”

That really touched me and gave me some insight into John’s character beyond his constant shameless self-promotion. A small but significant gesture that was in a blog post, not an article. See what I mean?

Conclusion: if you are editorially aware and in command of these nuances, I believe you can succeed on many different fronts with a blog.