Reliable sources are the foundation of any good story, whether it's being published in a newspaper, on a blog or as part of a book. Unfortunately, finding a story source can be difficult, or at least it used to be before the days of the internet and social media.
While journalists once had to physically go out and look for sources, or spend hours phoning around to find someone to give them some perspective on a story, these days with the internet and social media sites you can connect with potentially anyone in a very short space of time.
This has led to other problems. The sheer volume of potential sources out there can be overwhelming, making it difficult to isolate the quality sources from the timewasters.
SourceBottle was set up to solve this problem by connecting quality sources with journalists, bloggers and writers. As a journalist, a bit of time spent getting to grips with SourceBottle and writing call outs can save you hours of searching for quality sources.
For many writers, there is a lot of pressure to find someone very specific within a short timeframe and this is where SourceBottle really comes into its own.
SourceBottle is very easy to use and it's free to post a call out. All you need to do is click on 'Find a Source' and write your call out, nominate a deadline, select your topics and countries and let us know if you want to use social media to distribute your call out. Choose how you want to be contacted and then let the sources roll in.
As well as posting a call out, SourceBottle has a growing (rapidly) list of expert sources we can suggest to you from our database. Just pop in some 'keywords' where prompted at the base of the call out and (via keyword matching) we'll shoot through our suggestions to you immediately after you post your call out. You'll unearth great talent before you know it.
Of course not all the responses you receive are going to be perfect for your story, but there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of attracting quality sources through SourceBottle.
The more general you are, the more responses you're likely to get and the more time you're probably going to have to spend wading through them looking for the most relevant ones. On the other hand, the more specific you are, the more likely it is that you will get fewer, but more relevant, useful sources contacting you who can actually help with your story.
For most journalists, this goes without saying. Always check out any source thoroughly to make sure they are who they say they are. This means checking out their website, social media profiles and any previous publications. Tread cautiously if anything does't add up.
Many of the responses you get to your call outs might be from very qualified people who are just not right for the particular story you're writing. There's no reason not to keep them on file and add them to your contact list. In the future you might be able to use them for another story, and having their details on hand will save you both time and energy.
SourceBottle is the go-to platform for journalists, bloggers and writers from publications and media outlets of all varieties. Used well, it can halve the amount of time you spend, and work you need to do, finding those high-quality sources for your story. Using SourceBottle is fast and easy and best of all, it works.