This week we start the first in a regular series for Article Writers Australia; a wide-ranging collection of interviews with Australian business owners with an innovative touch who have made their mark in their field. This week we are delighted to talk with SourceBottle‘s Rebecca Derrington, who gives us the rundown on her business connecting media and professionals. She also offers marketing advice for startups, including some interesting tips on how best to utilise social media.
Can you explain the goals and concept behind SourceBottle and describe how it works?
I always say my goal is for journalists and bloggers using SourceBottle to be inundated with quality sources; and for every SourceBottle subscriber to get publicity or famous, whichever comes first. SourceBottle is a very simple concept. The service gives journalists and bloggers a free platform to reach out to a large network to source experts and case studies for stories. And it’s very efficient. Conversely, it also offers up free media and publicity opportunities to PRs and businesses.
It works like this: A journalist or blogger posts a ‘call out’ for a source via the site. The service then emails the call out to subscribers. If a subscriber can answer the call out, they do so via the site and may get interviewed for the story (and the free publicity that comes along with that).
What made you think of the great name?
I’d like to take credit for the name, but it was my husband’s idea. But I’ll take credit for recognising how good it was. 🙂
What would you say to a person in the news industry of the benefits of a source information centre such as SourceBottle? Same for a business person looking for publicity?
For a journalist or blogger, the service is available to source experts and case studies from a large pool of talent. And it’s a free and easy tool to use. It’s particularly useful for urgent call outs for sources as it’s very efficient. Another key benefit of the service is that you know that anyone who responds to you via the service is happy to be quoted in the media. (I’ve been told this can be an issue when looking for sources for a story.)
For a business person, SourceBottle is a free publicity tool to help get you recognised as an expert in the media. To get the same recognition using advertising can cost thousands of dollars.
Do you see SourceBottle as a form of connection between new and old media?
No, not really. I just see it as a tool for any and all media and am thrilled that both old and new media appear to be finding it useful.
How important to the functioning of SourceBottle is the uptake in the use of smart phones by the news industry and PR professionals?
It definitely helps make the service more accessible, so from that perspective it’s very important.
Do you find social media a useful tool for connecting with clients?
Very much so. It’s been instrumental in developing a following for SourceBottle, particularly Twitter. While the core service is communicated via email, many of the call outs are also shared via Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to help source experts and case studies.
Finally, what are your three top marketing tips for startups?
1. Be bold with your ideas and recognise there will be a LOT of late nights.
2. Embrace social media and its potential, but don’t treat it like a business tool. (What?) Treat it as a tool to connect with others with shared interests. If you do that well, it will automatically become a very effective business tool.
3. Develop a PR strategy incorporating both reactive media opportunities (like responding to a call out on SourceBottle) and proactive techniques (like issuing press releases and publishing them online where possible).