Timing IS everything.

14Dec09

Sometimes the timing of a project affects what you do more than you’ll realize. I’ve learned that lesson recently with one of my social media projects at work.

My timing was by no means perfect.

Last year at conference we launched The PAnel. It’s a blog that is almost completely written by Physician Assistants (I post if needed & in the off-season). We saw success last year with about 1200 people visiting the blog over the course of conference. For a conference of only 7,000 attendees that 1,200 number was very pleasant to read.

November was our Call for Bloggers for the 2010 PAnel & I honestly expected to get a bigger response than I received…

It’s a little disappointing, though I am really excited about the caliber of bloggers we have (3 returning, 6 new and all fabulous!). Everyone wants their projects to go well and when they don’t have the exact results you expect, it’s time to take a look at what you’ve done.

I think my biggest fault is the timing, honestly. Conference is a little less than 6 months away and a lot can happen in 6 months. November is also when we launch our pre-registration brochure, it’s when we start ramping up for conference. My original thought was that would be a perfect time for the blog to start up again with PA writers. We started covering the 2010 Conference back in September (posts written by me) and I thought that it would be best to have PAs take over, because the blog really belongs to them.

This wasn’t the best choice though. About a week before the deadline I realized something kind of important that I should have thought of ahead of time… most people don’t know whether or not they are going to conference yet. Duh!

So for me, I learned a valuable little lesson this time around. It’s not about my timing, it’s about the timing of the people I’m trying to engage. I guess I got a little wrapped up in my deadlines and trying to get the balling rolling, but it’s a lot easier to roll downhill than to roll uphill. I know I should have thought of this before and I kind of kick myself about it. The only consolation is that I have some really awesome bloggers lined up this year, feel free to meet them.

Next year, I’m going to be smarter about it though. I will take a look at our registration numbers, figure out when individuals are making the decision to register (though next year is in Vegas, so it may be a bit easier sell) and base the deadlines on that, not what is more convenient for the organization.

Question to my readers – Have you ever had a project where you expected a greater response and then realized your timing was off? How did you fix the problem moving forward? What did you learn from it?

Image courtesy of Flickr user Tonivc

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