There are two reasons why every content marketer needs to have SourceBottle on their bookmark bar: firstly, if you are writing a story and you need some fresh “talent” to interview, this is a great place to source it. An expert, an anecdote, an academic perhaps, a company that specialises in something you need to know about – as a blogger, you can sign up for free and issue a “shout-out” for whatever you need and chances are you’ll find it. There are just fewer than 21,000 subscribers to the site, so your chances are good.

The other reason to reach for the SourceBottle is that you can register yourself as an expert, also for free, and if you are into content marketing, this is gold. Perhaps you will be the answer to a journalist’s shout out, and get priceless media exposure for nothing along with the chance to dazzle readers with your expertise, and the third party endorsement that is so central to establishing yourself as a leader in your field.

Rebecca Derrington is the mind behind this successful site. Momentarily a lawyer before realising her mistake, Derrington went back to school to train in public relations and marketing, and married to two as media officer for the Queensland law society.

With the birth of her first son in 2005, she started PR consulting. As she battled through the PR’s matrix – getting her clients in front of a journo at the very moment they are writing a relevant story – Derrington wondered if there was a better way “I found the traditional PR approach flawed,” Derrington says. “It was like going into a restaurant and having the waiters put the entire menu in front of you. You’re vegetarian, but staring at a couple of juicy steaks. It was a ‘spray and pray’ approach.”

She began to wonder, why don’t we just ask journos and bloggers what they want?

She checked to see if someone had the same idea, and thought existing sites such as ProfNet too US centric, and pretty expensive. “I thought, this is something I could do … naively,” she says. “I didn’t realise the level of commitment required. It was with the birth of my second son, four years ago, I really started to make it happen.”

Derrington does not charge either side to use the matchmaking service – at ProfNet, the experts and PRs pay to subscribe and the journos post their requests free. “I understood at the early stages that until I had a critical mass of subscribers, I could charge for advertising. And I wanted to educate the market about the value. For the first year it was a labour of love.”

Slowly, the revenue is growing, both from ads, and from services around the main game. For example, experts can pay $7.95 monthly fee to have a more comprehensive profile and get automatic matches. Event managers who want gifts for showbags also pay to post their requests.

Subscribers receive two emails a day. “The tolerance for that level of email frequency is fairly so, but demand doesn’t seem to have abated. We get 100 new subscribers a week,” she says.

The business is self-funded, with technology costs chewing up most of any profits. “That is always the cost you underestimate.”

Media businesses are attracting private investors at the moment (see last week’s story on Newsmodo). Investment would “be lovely” Derrington says, but she isn’t actively looking.

The entire business is run by Derrington, a local virtual assistant and two virtual assistants overseas. She says: “That is all the help I have needed.”


Photo: Bec Derrington, founder SourceBottle