Ever wonder why some websites have both a news section and a blog section? Aren’t they the same thing? No, they are definitely two different animals, though the lines between them have blurred over the years and many people, including marketers, are understandably confused.
What is News?
Inbound marketing certified professional Michael Reynolds says it well: “Think of your news section as an area for press releases.” You wouldn’t think of a press release as a blog, right? Of course you wouldn’t. You know that a press release is primarily about news relating to your company. You’ve opened a new facility, released a new product or service, hired a new executive, received an award, have an upcoming event, and so on.
The news section of your site is also where any published articles relating to your company should appear, linking to the article on the publishing site (an online newspaper or magazine, for example). This boosts credibility and increases SEO. Despite perceptions of homogeneity between news and blogs, news is still defined as being more official – even scholarly – in tone and written from a third-person perspective.
Furthermore, “real news”—it’s hard to resist the temptation to distinguish it from the “fake news” we hear so much about these days!—should be objective and not an endorsement of any particular angle or brand. At the same time, news on your company’s site should always support your brand and be presented objectively with a discerning eye for accuracy, honesty and transparency. The principles of ethical public relations must always be upheld, regardless of your end goals of healthy ROI.
What are Blogs?
It used to be that blogs were short, breezy, casual, light on research, tone and even grammatical precision. But now that marketers have embraced the fact that “content is king,” the Internet is teeming with blogs, and the bar has raised. Blogs are now lengthier, buttressed by more research (including interviews), and no longer do they escape the sharp eye of an editor.
But there are still significant differences between blogs and news. Blogs are for discussing topics relevant to your prospective market(s) and location, not necessarily your company. They are also more conversational in tone and often employ the second person (“you”), creating a sense of connection and personal relationship to readers.
Blogs can even be written in the first person, though that perspective can cast an “opinion” light on your piece, which is not ideal for marketing purposes. You still want to maintain an “expert” position, though you can certainly use more familiar language. Humor, pop culture, and a spot of personality can also be infused, wherever appropriate.
More than news, blogs epitomize the essence of successful content marketing, which is to engage, not “sell,” your audiences. Blogs should inform, answer questions, solve problems, entertain, delight, intrigue, compel, motivate, inspire, be different…whatever the benefit, they should be personally meaningful to your audiences in ways that have nothing to do with making a purchase. Adding questions at the end to encourage engagement and conversation also enhances your blog’s effectiveness and virality.
Most importantly, blogs are incomparably effective in gaining the trust of your audiences and return visits for more information, and nothing is more valuable than that.
Which to Use?
Ideally, both, though Michael Reynolds describes blogs as a necessity and news as a luxury. By that distinction, blogs should take priority over news. Yet, as we said, having both is ideal. Blogs earn trust and return visits better than news, and news demonstrates credibility and that reputable sources see value in your company better than blogs.
Despite the fuzzy distinction between news and blogs, there are still significant differences between the two, and knowing what those distinctions are goes a long way toward a more clearly defined strategy for both content marketers and the clients they serve.
Let our marketing and PR experts help you meaningfully engage your audiences by leveraging both news and blogs to the best of their distinct and individual abilities.
Does your website have a blog section but not a news section? A news section but not a blog section? Both? Neither? Please let us know in the area below and tell us how you made your news/blog decisions.
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