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MANAGING EXPECTATIONS

Hello, and welcome to the second installment of Societal Betterment my personal interest blog for making the world a better place. I’m not sure if that tag line will stick but it sums up a lot of what I was getting at in the introduction to the first installment. Today I want to go a little more in depth with some of what this blog will actually be about, and how I plan to approach this blog. In many ways I am making decisions that go against mainstream marketing advice. Before doing this blog I spent some time looking into some points and tips for blogging. The do’s and do not do’s and there was much consensus, and a few points of disagreement. Some of the best advice was that when you are making the choices for your blog it has to be a good reflection of you. Many of the choices are personal, and there are areas where professional bloggers would say there is no right or wrong answer, just what works for you. I think there is a lot of truth in that.

There were also some areas where a higher level of consensus was reached, and much of this had to do with the do not do’s. The frequency with which a blogger should blog was up for much debate, daily, weekly monthly, but one thing that seemed to stick was the issue of consistency. Bloggers, and those teaching people to blog, all seemed to stress that to successfully blog a blogger needs to be producing content on a regular basis that is predictable. Almost as if there is a date on the calendar where you must submit your blog.


The last area of general consensus that grabbed my attention was that all bloggers seemed to agree that, like everything in life, blogging is an art that gets better with practice. No one does it right the first time. Bloggers will make mistakes, and get better over time. Therefore, bloggers in general seemed to encourage anyone interested to get out there and blog, even if you do make some mistakes along the way. So, with all that in mind I started this blog over a month ago now.


When bloggers were discussing mistakes in blogging, the metric of success for them was about followers. Losing followers was a sign that a blogger was doing things wrong. There was of course talk about attracting followers in the first place, but for the purpose of this article I want to focus on the former concern. The advice around consistency was highly related to this concept of losing followers. I understand that a lot, and I can relate. If a follower is used to a blog publication cycle, and is eagerly anticipating the next publication, then they will feel a sense of disappointment if the publication is not out on time. Much the same way I am disappointed when a show I was anticipating does not air at the expected time. When you are looking forward to something, you want it to be there on time. We make our plans around the expectations we have, and when those expectations are not fulfilled we are left feeling frustrated and upset. This could easily cause followers to leave for a number of reasons.


My research into blogging is also tied to my research into marketing in general. Anyone who has looked into marketing will have come across the axiom that people do business with people they “know, like, and trust.” Which is pretty obvious when you think about it, but I have seen at least three marketing specialists discuss this concept at length. I want to tie this concept of trust back to the issue of losing followers on a blog.

If a blog has consistently been published every Sunday for over a year, then that is what many followers will expect. Some may even have a Sunday routine that involves reading the latest entry. So, when it is not there the followers may feel betrayed. They lose the trust they had with the blogger. It may be a temporary thing, and the blogger might be able to win people back, but it becomes more difficult, especially if the blogger has more difficulties and starts publishing infrequently.


I think much of this has to do with managing expectations. The legal profession involves a lot of managing expectations. Clients form expectations, as everyone does, and managing those expectations is a major part of the practice. Clients need to have a clear understanding of everything. This is not always easy to do, but it has to be done.

All that being said I would like to address some concerns that potential followers to this blog might have here and now in the second entry, before we go any farther.


Blogging is secondary to my law practice. My primary responsibilities are to my clients. If I need to do extra work on urgent matters, I will always prioritize that over any publications I have pending.


I want this blog to be deep and meaningful and I want it to be about topics that I find interesting and worth writing about. I do not want to have to produce another article just because it’s that time of the month again. If I haven’t found anything that is perfectly suited for the blog I would rather take the time off.


This is another point I wanted to discuss today. The concept of downtime. Remember the last entry was titled “Take a Break” I think that it is important. Self care is also important, and over-emphasizing productivity at the cost of health is not good for anyone. I want followers who will enjoy reading what comes out, when it comes out, instead of followers that are committed to a timeline.


The last article was well researched with many hyperlinks. This entry has none, but I would encourage anyone wanting to spend more time online to google the term Niksen, for a good discussion of why sometimes nothing is better than something. The absence of a reference here is to further support that point, in a zen sort of way.


Also, the style and length of this article are quite different than the last entry. That is another point I would like to discuss. The consensus among bloggers was that consistency was important not only in timing, but also content. That is something else that I am consciounsly choosing to change. The content of each blog will be specific to the needs of the topic. I will not mold something into a form where it does not fit. I want followers who will go along with the journey, regardless of how we get there. This is a vehicle, but the road it travels on will change over time. Each entry will be unique, and that is part of what readers can expect.


I actually wanted my second post to be about the Young Adult Diversion Project – which is another term you can Google if You are interested, but the report hasn’t been published yet. So, there I am waiting on a publication, but patiently waiting. There are other topics, and I may well have another entry in April, but I make no promises beyond a commitment to making sure the content that is posted will be interesting. If I fail in that commitment then I would not blame followers for leaving. I wouldn’t want to follow something I wasn’t interested in either.


Now that the expectations have been addressed I do hope readers of this will be able to enjoy future publications. They may not adhere to a schedule, or a particular form, but they will hopefully make the world a better place.

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