Informational Blogging and Academic Writing – What’s the Diff?

academic writing vs. blog posts
Informational blogging and academic writing – is there a difference? It depends, observes blogger Yvonne McQuarrrie in Quora. “Blogs have a specific circle of readers, ‘your fellows’, ”McQuarrie says. “You can communicate with them like friends.”  An academic paper, on the other hand, she adds, will be read by someone in the context of an educational institution. A second contributor to Quora, Raina Du Trieux, emphasizes audience as well: “Formal writing is used in academic and scientific settings whenever you want to convey your ideas to a wide audience with many possible backgrounds and assumptions.”
Requirements differ from one discipline to the next, says Michel Clasquin-Johnson, weighing in on Quora as well, “but some tell you never to use the word ‘I’”. “In academic writing, there is the requirement of backing up claims and arguments with noted and verifiable evidence,” adds Virginia Badeuax.

 “Essays are for a specific audience (your professors) to show what you’ve learned. They expect an in-depth analysis of the assigned books and perhaps from secondary sources as well. Blog posts are for a more general public to entertain them or educate them in a brief and engaging, is careerpathwriting’s take.

Career Path Writing Solutions goes on to offer a number of guidelines for blog content writers:

  • Short paragraphs are encouraged.
  • Be intelligent without being technical.
  • Explain concepts briefly, touching on important details only.
  • Personal touches are allowed and encouraged.

While every one of these Quora and Career Path Writing Solutions observations are very much in keeping with the way we train blog content writers at Say It For You, two of the points Carol Tice lists in comparing blog posts and articles are definitely not. In blog posts, Tice says:

  • Good spelling and grammar optional.
  • Posts are mostly your own opinion – no interviews or research.
  • Posts are built around SEO keywords.

Beg to differ, Tice. Good spelling and grammar are hardly optional. As a corporate blogging trainer, my favorite recommendation to both business owners and the freelance blog content writers they hire to bring their message to customers is this: Prevent blog content writing “wardrobe malfunctions”, including grammar errors, run-on sentences, and spelling errors. Blogs are, in fact, more personal and more informal than academic pieces, but they shouldn’t be sloppy.

What’s more, I believe, interviews are one very effective format for blog posts. In a face-to-face (or Skype) interview with a business owner or executive (or professional practitioner), I am able to capture their ideas and some of their words, then add “framing” with my own questions and introductions, to create a blog post more compelling and “real” than the typical narrative text.

Are there differences between informational blogging and academic writing? To be sure. But the two will always have a common goal – engaging and informing readers.
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