During SourceBottle's early years, I had the pleasure of a by-chance meeting with Naomi Simson. We were at a business conference and I was waiting to join a breakout session. I was a delegate. Naomi was a guest presenter.
We'd just heard Yellow Brick Road's Executive Chairman Mark Bouris explore the stages of a business life cycle, moving from 'startup' to 'rebirth' (or 'decline'). He suggested that as a business reached a milestone within the cycle, owners needed to pivot depending on where the business lay within in.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges was often recognising the phase your business was entering and what was needed to propel it forward.
I recall Bouris suggesting that by year 10, a business was required to renew or risk becoming irrelevant, and as I stood marveling at the few stolen moments I had with a business woman I admired, I asked Naomi how she felt about his observations and where Red Balloon sat within the life cycle. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I can't recall her answer. (Perhaps I was hypnotised by her red lipstick as it danced around her pearly whites. Or I was too nervous thinking of my next 'pithy' question to listen to her response.) Nonetheless, since Red Balloon is still recognised as the pioneer of experiential gifting in Australia and New Zealand and was ranked in the 'Top 50 Employers' by Business Review Weekly for five years running, Simson clearly had it covered.
If only I could remember what she said.
Nonetheless, as SourceBottle nears its 10-year milestone, I'm reminded of the comments made by The Apprentice's (Mr) Bouris and the need to explore how we too can 'renew' the business in line with our unwavering commitment to its mandate: For every journalist or blogger using the service to be INUNDATED with responses from quality sources; and for every SourceBottle subscriber to get publicity or FAMOUS using it.
And I think we've found it.
We're about to introduce some value-adds that give those Sourcey subscribers who are committed to raising their profile via our publicity opportunities a little boost (while ensuring our core service offering remains freely accessible to all).
The first of these is inviting subscribers to pay the equivalent of a cup or two of coffee a month ($5.95 p/m) to be able to conveniently respond to call outs directly from our Drink Up! email alerts (whenever you're logged in). Given our subscriber audience nudges 40,000, we feel that offering subs the option to pay a small fee to get this time advantage is a great low-cost way to help you secure more publicity opportunities.
However, we can only do this since we've invested in the infrastructure that ensures we can guarantee email delivery (and track and manage inevitable issues with mail service providers). Given the volume of emails we send each month, this doesn't come cheap and will increase as people continue to sign up to the service in the coming months and years.
We're also offering agencies or large organisations the chance to have an agency-wide subscription that incorporates all of our featured benefits, including an Expert Profile for every subscriber within the agency (ie. if you've got 10 in your team and you sign up with an Agency Subscription, each member of your team is able to create an Expert Profile for themselves or their client).
Currently, if you're with an agency and have a paid subscription to the Requests service, only one email address activates the subscription. That also means that that only one email address will give the agency 'unlocked' access to respond to the call outs via the twice-daily emails.
Since more and more agencies are using the Requests subscription to 'call out' for case studies for media pitches, this new subscription extends that service to everyone signed up to receive the Drink Up! Alerts, along with enabling them to each post requests for goodies for goodie bags and create an Expert Profile for themselves, or a client.
It's a pretty sweet offer for agencies who wish to harness the full suite of services SourceBottle offers.
That's not everything we're doing to grow the range of value-added services on offer as we travel along this well-tread business cycle – but it's a start. Stay tuned for more to come, and please share your ideas with us if you can think of other ways we can support you in raising your profile via the media.
Of course, our call outs and requests will continue to be freely available to view and respond to directly via our website, Twitter call outs and Facebook posts. But when competition is stiff, and timeliness a critical factor in getting your response in front of journalists and bloggers at the exact time they need it, subscribers to this value-added service will have an edge.
Of course, anyone who already has a paid subscription (or signs up for one of the other upgrade options) will automatically be given 'unlocked' access to respond to the call outs via the twice-daily emails. (You just need to be logged in for access.)
We want to take this opportunity to thank YOU, SourceyBottlers, for your continued support of our service. We know we wouldn't have made it this far without you regularly responding to our call outs and sharing them with other publicity seekers, who are able to offer up fresh stories to source-starved journalists or bloggers (in their time of need).
I really wasn't sure we'd make the 10-year milestone Mr Bouris described, but thanks to you, the treadmill continues.
Wishing you publicity success!