In this day and age, everyone you know wants to create an online presence. Whether it’s your best friend building her social media platform as an internet crafting sensation or the neighbor that you always see taking outfit photos, you doubtlessly know quite a few people who claim to be influencers or bloggers. The terms are often used interchangeably, but, despite common misconception, they’re not the same thing.
So what is the difference between an influencer and a blogger, anyway? What category do you actually fall into? And can you be both? You’ve got a million questions, but don’t worry – I’ve got you covered. Keep reading to discover just where you land.
Influencer? Blogger? Which Are You?
What is an Influencer?
Sprout Social defines an influencer as “someone in your niche or industry with sway over your target audience.”
They go on to say that influencers have “specialized knowledge, authority, or insight into a specific subject.” Influencers maintain a presence in a niche of their specialty, which makes them “a useful launching pad for brands in search of credibility.”
In other words, influencers are experts in their field who want to guide their audience by sharing their expertise. Whether that’s a style influencer giving tips on the best sandals for summer or a travel influencer pointing out the best tropical destinations, influencers are the leading voice in their space.
What is a Blogger?
The definition of a blogger is pretty straightforward. Merriam-Webster defines a blogger as “a person who writes for and maintains a blog.”
Make sense? Yeah, I thought so. Moving on!
So…What’s the Difference?
The main difference between a blogger and an influencer is pretty simple: a blogger has a blog, and an influencer doesn’t.
Really? That’s it?
I’d argue that there’s more to it than that. But at its core, that’s the main difference between the two.
The term “blogger” gets thrown around often and attached to anyone with an online presence. A quick scan through the users you follow on Instagram will show you for yourself – you probably follow people claiming to be travel bloggers or fashion bloggers who are operating solely from an Instagram account – no blog attached.
These users are content creators, even influencers. But without a blog, they’re not bloggers. You can be an influencer and a blogger (like me!), or you can be solely an influencer or solely a blogger. But without a blog, you cannot be a blogger.
Stick with me, though. There are more differences between a blogger and an influencer than just the platform they hold.
Types of Content
Influencers and bloggers are two different roles, and as such, they produce different kinds of content. Different audiences look for different content, right?
Generally speaking, bloggers specialize in long-form content while influencer specialize in short-form content. What’s the difference? I’m glad you asked.
Long-form content is – well, it’s in the name. It’s longer, and it takes longer to consume. A blog post isn’t something that you read in twenty seconds. It’s something that you sit down with and take the time to read. A standard blog post is anywhere from 300-3,000+ words, and is generally accompanied with images or links. A longer video or vlog would also fall in the category of long-form content.
Short-form content, on the other hand, is created to be consumed quickly and easily. Things like social media posts, tweets, Reels and TikToks would all fall in the category of short-form content. Quick, easily digestible content that a user can consume as they go about their day. This doesn’t necessarily mean that creating short-form content is easier – the content creator still has to do everything from write copy to stage and take photos, edit photos, sort through video footage, etc. There also is specific strategy involved in making sure that the intended message gets across in such a small amount of time.
Both forms of content require a specific level of skill and time, but they’re different processes.
Not only do influencers and bloggers create different types of content, they also have different outlooks on it. When promoting something, such as a piece of clothing, a book, or a type of subscription box, influencers generally try to integrate the item as seamlessly into their life as possible. They show themselves using their new water bottle on the go, or post a quick photo about how much they love the new restaurant in the city during their girls’ weekend. There’s a reason influencer marketing has blown up in recent years – when done right, it’s natural and effortless.
Bloggers, on the other hand, are often more direct. They know that their audience is coming in looking for a specific focus in their content, and they’re ready to deliver with reviews, recommendations, and tips. Long-form work requires more honed-in details, and bloggers are often more straightforward as a result.
What They’re Known For
Bloggers are known for – once again – their blogs. Audience members are familiar with their posts and their writing style, and oftentimes the blogger’s personality and life comes second to the content and information that they’re sharing with their readers. When you think of a blogger, the first thing that you think of probably isn’t the blogger themself but their blog or website. You might associate them with their site name instead of their own.
Influencers, however, build their entire platform around their own personality. Their followers are invested in who they are as a person, and oftentimes when they share their top recommendations or suggestions, followers are willing to try for themselves because they trust the influencer – they feel like old friends.
Basis for Success
One of the key differences between social media influencers and bloggers is that they want different things. Their success is measured differently because their work is inherently different.
Influencers are trying to gain the highest amount of followers possible. The more followers they have, the more feeds they’re making their way into and the more people they reach. Influencers also get more and more opportunities as their follower base grows, so the incentive for them to work for as many followers as possible is high.
Bloggers, on the other hand, want eyes on their words – they want views and page visits. Most bloggers also have email lists and newsletters promoting their work, giving an inside glance at their lives, and sharing the latest pieces on the blog, and so they prioritize email marketing and email subscribers.
So, What’s Better? Should I Be an Influencer or a Blogger?
It’s clear that influencers and bloggers are two different things. But which is better? If you’re looking to begin working as a content creator, should you become a blogger? Or an influencer?
I’d argue that the best move is to do both – after all, who says a girl can’t have it all?
As both a blogger and an influencer, you have the best of both worlds. You have the opportunity to have a space on the web that’s all your own, where you can host long-form content and build resources on the things that matter to you. AND, you can have an influence on social media platforms that gives you the opportunity to build a more close-knit relationship with your audience. You can connect with followers in a more natural way, and give people a glance into the you behind the screen.
At the end of the day, though, it’s up to you. I love being both a blogger and a social media influencer. It allows my creativity to thrive, and I love connecting with others about the things I’m passionate about. But maybe you don’t want both – and that’s okay! If writing is more your thing and the visual nature of influencing scares you, become a blogger. If you don’t feel that you have a way with words but love taking photos of beautiful things and cultivating an aesthetically pleasing life, jump into the influencing world with both feet!
Whatever you decide, do what makes you feel alive. Find what you love and chase it! It’s going to be the best journey.