I received an email today notifying me of a posting on an SBM Forum. This platform has been quiet over the summer so it was the first one for a while but it prompted me to ask myself; How does the new AskAnnaSBM project sit alongside this? What is going to be different about the format? Is there room in the ‘market’ for an (albeit light-hearted) SBM advice blog? What is the USP? What is the likelihood of SBM engagement (in the form of actually being sent some questions for Anna to answer)?
Just to confirm from the start, I have already decided that I’m going to give it more time to find some feet and see if there is a growth trend on the idea. But the business leader in me likes to apply some consideration to new ideas, perhaps do a bit of directional thinking and ask for some advice rather than just fire posts out there willy nilly.
This project, although still very new, doesn’t feel the same as when I started my own blog in January. My own voice can be pretty much what I want it to be and I can write total rubbish (and, no doubt, do). However, even I now think of Anna in the third person. Is she going to become a sort of SBM ‘everyman’, a generic SBM that represents the role? Suddenly, I feel a responsibility to get it right, not to say anything stupid, not to step on anyone else’s (far superior) blog direction and try to maintain a regular and consistent service.
This idea isn’t like my own blog’s ‘while I’m enjoying it’ approach. My blog is about me. The ‘Anna’ blog is about the reader and, consequently, presents a completely different dynamic. I’m suddenly feeling daunted and a little overwhelmed myself.
Additionally, the established anonymous angle of my own blog causes difficulties. I’ve left myself in a position where face to face collaboration and advice seeking is not an option. I can’t just ask the SBM next door what they think of the idea or a post. Unexpectedly, the anonymity has actually become a weakness.
So, what are the solutions? To start with, I think Anna needs to set some parameters. She is never going to be any use in the ‘specific question – instant answer’ forum that already serves SBMs so well. She has always got to be entertaining or informative, motivating, positive and enthusiastic. Her USP has got to be that of responding with positivity and wellbeing solutions, providing a support avenue for what can be an intense and sometimes emotionally overwhelming role.
Anna is never going to have all the answers but her blog should be fun, it should offer support to other SBMs and my aim has got to be to steer her along this direction and work to maintain the integrity of the blog.
Of course, unless she receives some questions, the blog is going to be relatively short lived and I shall not have to worry about the bossy-boots-know-all that I have, quite by chance, created.
But if she does get questions, support and readership growth into the autumn term, I want to be clear about the direction in which we are headed. So I would be very pleased to receive advice or thoughts on this via the comments box below, Anna’s email, or on your forum of choice.
Let’s see how it goes. As Anna would say…You’ve got this.