This post was originally published June 21, 2016.
It’s 2020, and we take the word “blog” for granted. Everyone has a blog, or so it seems.
But what constitutes a blog? Do people on Tumblr who collect and repost photos from their favorite television series count? How about your neighbor around the corner who posts on Instagram about her homemade cat food? Or does it refer to what you, a B2B content creator, do for a living?
The question is rhetorical. The word blog applies to all those areas and many countless others. It is such a broad term that it must get confusing to the general public. After all, there is a significant difference between a blog devoted to pictures of the cast from Harry Potter and an article about common content marketing mistakes.
It is all content, but how do you differentiate a blog from a blog?
After all, when I think of a blog, I think of the HIPBlog, and others like it. But others in your audience may not have the same perspective. I started exploring synonyms for the word blog, just to see what the general public would find at the very beginning of learning about blogging.
Honestly, after seeing these results, I could see why some have attempted to steer clear of the word blog. When I surveyed the top 10 results on Google for the two queries “synonyms for blog” and “other words for blog,” the top two alternatives were “diary” and “journal.”
It sounds rather elementary, or should I say elementary school. Good luck telling your boss you need a bigger budget for your journal. We don’t use diary or journal.
Both terms are better suited to an angsty teenager than a working professional with a sound content marketing strategy.
The rest of the language that was used as synonyms to the word blog aren’t much better. Here is a chart containing the number of times (out of the 20 results from the two search queries) that each term was used as a synonym for the blog(as of 2016). For this chart, I excluded the 35 terms that only came up once.
You’re working on professionally created content.
These synonyms might encompass some parts of what a blog is, but none of them hit the nail on the head.
The word blog has morphed extensively from its original name, “web log,” or “weblog.” These terms were coined in 1997 before being shortened to “blog” soon after in 1999.
The term “web log” is outdated. I’ve never read it in any context independently, only as a synonym for the word blog. A Google search for “web log” turns up 5.8 billion results. But a search for “blog” turns up 9.4 billion results because of its more popular, modern usage.
In essence, all the language offered as a definition or synonym for the word blog is dated. When we think of a blog, we think of professional or at least semi-professional content creation. You don’t think of this charming definition from Urban Dictionary (the rest are equally as brutal).
Even as I looked at the handful of articles and a forum that were contained within the 20 search results I studied, I couldn’t help but notice how old they were. The articles were updated in 2006 or 2007. That means that they are more than ten years old and are still on the front page of Google. Considering the leaps that blogs have made in that time, doesn’t it seem like the conversation should be more up to date?
There is a veritable buffet of amazing blogs out there with such valuable content, and they are buried under outdated nonsense. It seems to me that marketers have a couple of options.
Rename Your Blog
Some demographics will not respond well to the word blog, either being too young, too old, or too jaded for the term. When I was researching alternatives, I found some less common, more suitable terms for a set of posts collected on a webpage for the means of effective content marketing.
- Insider News
- News Bulletin
- Industry Updates
- Customer Corner
- Resource Hub
I even saw one company direct you to their blog with the word ‘”Learn.” What a brilliant way to introduce insightful educational content.
Rewrite the Definitions
The thing about the internet is that it is fluid and that with enough people changing the definition, we could claim the term blog back.
The words above represent the general ideas behind the word blog, and they are not accurate to the most common usage of the word today.
But with enough discussion, the tide could be shifted to represent the primary use of blogs these days. The Google results will shift if enough people write about it. When this post was initially written, the word blog was stuck in the early 2000s. But with the shift in Google algorithms, we are starting to see more recent posts on the topic.
If you call what you write a blog, you should care about how the original word is portrayed on the internet as it affects the success of your work. It the public doesn’t recognize the blog as a legitimate publication, just a journal or something equally as trivial; it will undermine all the hard work that you do.
We lack a word that describes what we do, as it is presently all just blogging. There is no way to differentiate the professional from the hobbyist. I think it might be time to change that.
What do you think? Should there be a different word for professional content and non-professional content? Does one already exist? Let us know in the comments section.