I have always viewed blogging as all together different than writing an article. Blogging is a conversation where by listening to relevant discussion you engage those in the conversation.

Social media consultant, Jayne Navvare (@jaynenavvare), made the point as well as anyone in her post today.

If you want to post “articles” to the web using a blog platform, fine, but do not confuse that with blogging. Articles are static. Blogging is dynamic. Bloggers do more than just write posts. They socialize.

Articles are one way. I write it. I distribute it. You read it. Think magazines, newspapers, and newsletters. Circulation and eyeballs are measures of success.

Blogs engage. Blogs mix it up with readers and other bloggers. Relationships and word of mouth reputation are measures of success.

Those of you blogging long enough will remember the ‘permalink’ and the ‘trackback.’ Both were created to enable bloggers to engage.

A permalink was a permanent link for reach blog post. This way bloggers could link to a post in order to engage another blogger.

Trackbacks signaled to the blogger and readers of the blog that another blogger had engaged the blog post and blogger. Trackbacks were displayed at the bottom of a blog post in the form of titles of the posts linking to the subject blog post.

We also monitored the url for our blog, the title of our blog, and our name in a RSS reader. That way we could see how others were engaging us and respond to them via our blog or in a comment at their blog post.

Think writing (articles) versus engagement (blogging).  As author and senior researcher at Harvard’s BerkmanCenter, David Weinberger (@dweinberger), explained last week, referencing the origins of blogging.

Some bloggers posted without engaging, but the prototypical blogger treated a post as one statement in a continuing conversation. That often made the tone more conversational and lowered the demand that one present the final word on some topic.

To dismiss the difference between writing an article and blogging is fatal for lawyers. Lawyers get their best work through relationships and word of mouth. Both come via networking.

Your blog, when used for engagement, gives you a presence on the net. A presence which enables you to nurture relationships and build a reputation. An article, like a website, does not give a presence. You don’t network with an article.

Going forward, lawyers and law firms looking for true success will come to understand that blogging is not writing articles, but networking and engagement through conversation.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Squire Morley.

  • Steven j. Kaplan, Esq.

    That was really helpful, Kevin. Thank you.

    • Good to hear. Look at your blog, Steve, as enabling you to have a real presence in your neck of the woods in Jersey to network with influencers and referral sources.

  • If you want to post “articles” to the web using a blog platform, you’re blogging. You don’t have to engage with anyone.

    • Disagree Steve. Why wasn’t putting articles on the net in 1995 blogging? Blogging brings different outcomes than putting articles on the web. Blogging provides one a presence that allows them to network through the net. Posting articles does not provide such a presence.

      Nothing wrong with posting articles to a blog platform. I don’t begrudge anyone for making use of blog software, it’s great and easy to use. It’s just not blogging.

      • I don’t know that there’s such a bright line distinction between ‘articles’ and blogging. Why can’t a blog post be both? Why can’t an article also invite and nurture engagement? Probably best for a blog to have a mix of different types of posts — some look more like original articles, others more comments on news or other articles, legal updates, etc. I just don’t think it’s so easy to categorize a blog as strictly one or the other. People can engage with, comment on and share ‘articles’ too, especially articles on recent developments. To me, that’s still ‘blogging’.

  • James Paulson

    Engage your potential clients, bring value to their interactions with your blog, and be speak as you would to them in-person!

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  • CaliFarms Watsonville, CA

    Well said Kevin! I always reference this post to anyone questioning a blogger’s legitimacy! I LOVE IT!!

  • Thank you so much for this wonderful well-explained post.. I have a website for both article and blogs.. I hope it will work for me.

  • Martin B

    Thank you for this post,Kevin.Nice thoghts about difference between blogs and articles.Sometimes is hard to say what is what :)

  • Zengo Selmanoski

    Great post, you are correct. I would add the following: Articles are and should be very formal in writing style (no personal opinion) with facts, where the (specific) reader absorbs the information. A blog is less formal and designed to engage wider audience, could be based on a single fact and an opinion by the writer that might end with: Share your thoughts or Do you agree?

    An article would be when the author writes a piece as an example title “The failure of the N.Y. Bar Association to attract young lawyers …” this will not be a blog because it will require extensive research and an actual proof. The writer can not say “my cousin Joe is over 65 and he said that in his firm all lawyers are over the age of 55” and use it as a statistic or an actual proof. However in a blog the above can be used to spark a conversation (mostly negative) but it will do the job of engaging the audience.
    My appologies for repeating examples.