Blog vs news? The 3-point checklist to help you choose

Website owner deciding whether to have a blog or an online news feedWhether you’re an experienced SEO copywriter or just starting out, unless you’ve been on some other planet for the last few years, there’s one thing you’re sure to know about search engine optimisation.

Yeah, you guessed it, it’s regular, fresh and unique content. And maintaining a blog or news section is just how you do it.

Now in an ideal world it would be great if you could have both of them on your website.

But if you could choose only one of the two, would you really know which one would be right for you?

So if you’re caught between two minds and not quite sure exactly what you want then this simple 3-point checklist will help you decide:

1. Do you want to promote your products and services?

A company news feed is, without doubt, a great way to spread the word about your products and services and build up awareness of your brand.

It really comes into its own on eCommerce websites, where you can use it to tell visitors about seasonal products, special offers and new arrivals to your range.

But you can also use it to announce news within your business, such as events, milestones and company achievements.

On top of that, it will also offer you greater scope for internal links to the core pages of your website – great for developing a strong connection to your proposition and also for your SEO.

Now with a blog, this is all perfectly possible too.

But …

Within a blog post, it’s just that little bit trickier to include direct references and links to your products and services.

People come to your blog for a different reason. And anything that looks too salesy could potentially damage the relationship with your readers and put them off for good.

So which should I use?

If you’re a large company with lots of interesting products, services and developments in your business and industry then it makes sense to go for a news feed first.

But if you’re in the business of selling content yourself, such as a writer, PR practitioner or social media consultant, then a blog will most likely be your better choice.

2. Do you want to build an online community?

Many blog posts get comments, whereas relatively few company news articles do.

Why is this so?

Well, as most people see them, corporate blogs are discussional in nature and tend to offer commentary and advice on industry trends and developments, self-improvement or professional experiences.

And so they naturally foster a community of like-minded people and at the same time position you, the author, as an online authority.

What’s more, news articles are inclined to be a bit stuffy and official, as they broadly represent the corporate side to your business and take on a much more journalistic writing style.

By contrast, blog writing lends itself to a more approachable and personal tone, which helps people to warm to your content and get more involved.

So which should I use?

Blogs will traditionally be your first choice for building an online community.

But that doesn’t mean to say you can’t engage your readers through your company news.

News writing doesn’t have to be plain and boring straight reporting. If you offer new insight, opinion and interesting angles on developments within your industry then readers will be more likely to contribute their own views and return to your site for more.

In other words, if your wider needs are more important then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t start with a company news section first.

3. Do you want followers fast or lasting results?

The world is changing all the time. There are masses of potential readers out there who are hungry for the latest news and events. And you could be just in the right position to fulfil their needs.

This makes news-based content ideal for getting new followers fast – especially so if you keep a close eye on what’s trending online and can get in there quick before everyone else.

However …

The problem with news content is that it also dates so incredibly quickly.

Once you’ve written your article, it’s pretty well past its shelf life within a matter of days.

By contrast, blog content can continue giving value for a long time after you first published it.

If your post offers practical and helpful reference material, such as a How to …, Guide to … or Checklist of …, then it will become evergreen content that will attract traffic and links as long as it continues to be relevant and useful.

And the added advantage of this type of content is that you can periodically update it, rework it and recycle it over and again.

So which should I use?

News content not only gets in visitors more quickly but is also, by and large, the easier to write.

Nevertheless, you do have to keep up to date with the latest stories and offer eye-catching, different and interesting news angles to make sure your articles stand out from the crowd.

On the other hand, if you’re a small business or one-man band and want longer lasting results and a niche for your content then blogging is definitely the best content strategy for you.

Do you have a company news feed, corporate blog or both? Tell us which ones you use on your website and why. Leave your comment below.

In our next post: Are you making this same silly copywriting mistake on your website?

Blogger ProfileAbout the Author

is a freelance SEO content writer and blogger based in Stafford in the UK. He is the owner of the Make every word work for you blog and website copywriting service Write Online.

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6 comments on “Blog vs news? The 3-point checklist to help you choose

    • Glad you found the blog post useful Esther.

      As it happens, checking out your blog was equally informative: I love the way you’ve used the WordPress sidebar – not just to put in your photo but also your bio.

    • Sharon, it should perhaps come as no surprise that a technical writer, such as yourself, would pick up on this.

      Yep, you want to make things as easy as possible for your reader by giving your content a clear structure – especially important for busy business owners who haven’t the time to mess about.

    • Jarvis

      I regularly contribute news-related content to a PR website. And it works really well.

      What we do is pick out headline stories where we can add a PR angle. You know, things like high-profile social media gaffes, product recalls and publicity coups.

      I’ve never really thought about how you could do similar things related to copywriting, so I’d be really interested in how you get on.

      I suppose a good place to start would be to rework and comment on high-profile business surveys, where you’d end up with headlines such as ‘Email marketing still the best ROI – say 90% of agencies’.

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