The Most Important Skill for Long-term Blogging Success

A successful blogger has many skills. Notice, though, that I used the word “successful”, and the title says “long-term blogging success.

I’m going to eliminate things like coding skills and graphics skills because they’re not necessary for your success. If you need them and you don’t have them you can hire someone who does.

And I’m going to eliminate things like writing skills and creativity because, while they’re helpful, the levels necessary for your success vary from audience to audience, and both can be trumped by your skill at engaging your audience.

So what does that leave? Conversation. The most important skill you can have for long-term blogging success is to be skilled at engaging in conversation. Easy, you say? Not so fast.

You have to know what your readers want to talk about

This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Some blogs have readers who want to hear all the latest news. Other blogs have readers who want more evergreen-type content, facts, ideas and general information. And this variance can occur in an individual niche.

For example, you may blog about Jack Russell terriers and your readers are interested in the latest training techniques for show dogs, while someone else who blogs about Jacks might have readers who are more interested in the care of feeding of these feisty little pups and how to integrate them into their family.

No matter what niche you’re blogging in your readers will probably be interested in just about every aspect, but you need to be able to show them why that information matters to them. If not, they might listen to you, but they’re not going to be interested enough to engage in a conversation about it – with you or anyone else.

You have to know how to nurture a conversation

Years ago, young men and women went to charm school and one of the things they learned was the art of conversation. They learned how to open up a conversation that would appeal to the person (or people) they were talking to and they learned how to keep that conversation going. An uncomfortable pause or a complete end to conversation was considered the sign of a poor host or hostess.

You’ve probably read quite a few blogs where the blogger never asks you for your opinion, never replies to your comments, and never really gives you any reason to join in the conversation. In fact, I’ve read a few where the blogger doesn’t even seen to pause for an online breath where you could, in your mind, jump into the conversation.

There are times when the blogger needs to assume the role of authority figure and control the entire conversation, but are you also including content that asks your reader questions, or gives them something to think about so they can have an internal conversation or, better yet, jump in with a comment, or talk to their Facebook friends?

Your readers need to feel welcome to join the conversation

I’ve seen lots of blogs where the comments are disabled and that’s absolutely fine. Disabled comments don’t discourage conversation, they merely prevent that conversation from occurring on the blog. But, whether your comments are open or not, do your readers feel like you’d welcome a chance to hear from them? Are you inviting them to send you an email? Are you talking to them when you see them on Facebook?

Monitoring comments also helps you readers feel welcome to join the conversation. If the comments after your posts are snarky or rude, some of your readers may feel too uncomfortable to join in the conversation. Let them know they’re welcome by providing a pleasant atmosphere for conversation – just like they taught in those charm schools.

Sté Kerwer
Article written by Sté Kerwer (1993 Posts)
Bonjour from a french guy. My name is Sté Kerwer and Dukeo is my blog. I do most of the heavy lifting in here but from time to time, you may see some guest posts. To receive updates from Dukeo, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.
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9 Comments (Add one)

  1. Reginald

    Hey Ste,

    I never felt bored reading your write up!

    Long term blogging is always possible if you know what your readers want. Totally agree with what you said on that.

    Most of the time, readers are visiting your site to find for solution and therefore, providing them a good and right solution is always the best way.

    Excellent write and thanks for sharing mate.

  2. Ryan Biddulph

    The thing is Ste if we write for ourselves we should be writing a diary. No need to blog. Other than that, bring your readers into the convo to drive up page views, boost your business numbers and become successful. Great point here.

  3. Rayne
    Rayne

    “Engagement” to an unknown reader is so completely different than face to face conversation. One has to keep telling oneself that there are real people on the other end who care for what is being said. I find that to be the greatest challenge.
    Great Read! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Vukasin
    Vukasin

    Very nice post. I think that nurturing a conversation with my readers will be toughest. I hope that I won’t have problems with this in the future. At least I know what my readers always want to hear.

  5. CarryMyStyle

    Great post. Thank you for some charming advice;) I am a blogger myself (just started. For now it is not possible to add comments at our blog, so I look very much forward to get in touch with our readers!

  6. Mary

    Something I learned about starting in person support groups is that you need a base of at least three or four people before you can attract a viable membership.I would think the same principle would apply to blog conversations as well. The question is how do you get the ball rolling in the first place? Of course part of it is to increase the people actually reading the blog but most people will not do much commenting unless there are others commenting as well. I have asked for input from readers and sometimes I get answers but many times I don’t. Can you give examples of what types of questions get the best results?

  7. Mary

    Oh by the way there seems to be a problem with your commenting system. Since it counts the characters down to zero then I assumed that there was a limited amount of characters that I could use. I have encountered that system on other sites so I thought this was the same. I spent a little time trying to edit my thoughts but when I submitted I got a message saying my posting was too short. Not only that but I lost my posting altogether. Fortunately I am in the habit of copying my comments so I pasted in back in and edited it to make it longer. At any rate your system is very confusing!

  8. Muhammad

    Conversation means effective communication that leads to higher conversion rate in internet marketing. Instead of making a huge crowd listen what you say it is better to make a few people act upon what you say is the core principle of successful conversation. I appreciate your way of thinking to engage your readers by holding such a wonderful conversation on long term blogging success

  9. Becky
    Becky

    Hi Ste Kerwer,

    Sure you have a point. Immediately a blogger discovers what his or her audiences want there are higher chance of connecting and winning them. What can kill this is the second point which you have put, it is about conversation. This is what kill many bloggers and it makes me wonder why is it that blog owners refuse to respond and continue engaging the audience? I like the post.

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When posting a comment, please use your personal name, not your business name. I find it a lot more interesting to talk with people instead of talking with brands.