So ages ago I signed up for MyRagan, a social network aimed at communication professionals and that’s owned and operated by, which is apublisher of corporate communications, public relations, and leadership development newsletters.” Even though I registered as a MyRagan user before I went to work for a failed social network, I was plenty skeptical about how viable this community was.Granted, they’re a vertical social network that’s going after a niche community, and that’s where future social networking opportunities are supposed to be, but I’m a cynical a**hole with a chip on my shoulder.

Eating My Foot

Well, as much of as I’m an a**hole, I know (1) a good resource when I see one, (2) when something’s done right, and (3) how to admit when I’ve underestimated the potential of something. In the last few months, I’ve been logging in to MyRagan more and more, and it’s been because of the regular emails they send to their users.

What’s so special about these emails? Well, for one, their subject lines are effective. But more importantly, their content is useful and targeted.

Any email marketer could probably tell you (and I’m not one, so I’m only guessing here) that the subject line of an email is pretty much an email’s call-to-action. MyRagan has crafted these calls-to-action by pretty much summing up the content of the email. Basically, they squeeze in the headlines of the content.

And that brings me to the second thing that MyRagan does so well: content. If the content wasn’t solid, including their headlines in the subject line (i.e. calls-to-action) of their emails wouldn’t accomplish squat. After all, content is king.

Where MyRagan Fails

So, despite my skepticism about the MyRagan community, it’s managed to engage me on a consistent (nearly daily) basis. In terms of user retention, then, it seems to me that MyRagan is rather successful. And it’s successful because of it is constant giving to the community.

Where MyRagan seems to be failing, however, is in its raison d’etre. You see, MyRagan is a social network. And as for as being social through the MyRagan channel, I just don’t bother.

Don’t get me wrong. At first, I tried. When MyRagan first launched, despite my skepticism, I made a point of being an early adopter — just in case it grew into the kind of powerful business networking tool that LinkedIn has. I joined a few groups and even uploaded a variety of video content.

But the community was still small, and finding interesting members wasn’t easy. Time went on and I forgot about the network. Then the marvelous email updates started pouring in and re-connected with MyRagan.

But, alas, there still hasn’t been much room for actual networking. I don’t have access to their database and I haven’t taken the time to, well, spend much time on the site, but the overwhelming impression that I get is that the only really active members on the site are MyRagan employees. My guess is also that if that’s the impression I’m getting, it’s the impression that other non-employee members are getting.

Where MyRagan Succeeds

MyRagan nevertheless succeeds, however, in that it’s managed to draw more attention to its parent company. You see. (without the “my” at the beginning) is a content portal that focuses on communication strategy for a variety of professionals (e.g. PR, HR, etc…). By building this social network, they’ve likely pulled in eye-balls that would’ve otherwise overlooked them.

As a social media enthusiast, I turn to peers and their blogs for insight, not large portals. Consequently, I’d never go looking for something like, never mind give it a moment’s consider should I have stumbled across it.

By building a network around this content, however, they’ve managed to socialize it. In a word, they’ve removed the impression that this content is a top-down affair. The content seems more like it belongs to the community instead of the publisher, and through the community users can share and interact with it.

So what may have very well accomplished with MyRagan is preserving a place in the future for the kind of quality content they’ve been producing for some time now. They’ve adapted to changing marketing attitudes and repositioned the brand of the content. After all, marketers and PR people, especially, are becoming more interested in UGC-style content, and less interested in so-called authoritative content. The latter is seen as being out of pace with current content consumption patterns, and that leaves room for the assumption that whoever is producing it is out of touch with the current status quo and, therefore, not worth paying attention to.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *