Mac’s List, now a weekly newsletter of job postings that goes to nearly 9,000 subscribers, and a website with 36,000 visitors a month — not to mention a Facebook page and a Twitter account — recently graduated from a sideline to a business with a life of its own.
By Susan Hauser
The Prichard Communications team, from left: Stephen Hammill, Carol Rossio, Mac Prichard and Lori Howell.
// Photo by Alexandra Shyshkina
“Do you get Mac’s List?”
According to the eponymous Mac, Mac Prichard, that simple question repeated myriad times turned an email list among friends into a thriving niche resource for job hunters in Oregon.
Mac’s List, now a weekly newsletter of job postings that goes to nearly 9,000 subscribers, and a website with 36,000 visitors a month — not to mention a Facebook page and a Twitter account — recently graduated from a sideline to a business with a life of its own. Prichard, who owns Prichard Communications, a Portland public relations and social media agency, recently augmented his staff of five to include one person whose duties revolve solely around Mac’s List.
“We’re making a tiny profit,” says Prichard, who estimates that Mac’s List revenues from job postings and ads account for about 10% of the agency’s income, “but by investing now we’re going to do even better down the road.”
Carol Rossio in late August became Mac’s List’s first full-time sales and advertising director. Prichard is assisted in other Mac’s List duties by Stephen Hammill, new media editor for Prichard Communications.
Both Rossio and Hammill found their jobs on Mac’s List.
Rossio says she introduced herself to Prichard after she heard him speak at a Public Relations Society of America conference. About a month later she saw her current job posted on Mac’s List, to which she subscribed.
“I applied the first day it was posted,” says Rossio, whose job is to line up potential job posters and advertisers for the list. “It was a perfect fit.”
Hammill was working as an online media producer in Tampa, Fla., when he got the urge to relocate to Oregon. “I was asking people what were some good local job resource guides for Portland and the region,” he says. “Three or four people said, ‘You need to be following Mac’s List,’ so I subscribed to the newsletter.” He spotted the job opening at Prichard Communications and joined the agency in November 2010.
Mac Prichard plans to double Mac’s List revenues in a year.
// Photo by Alexandra Shyshkina
According to a recent survey of Mac’s List subscribers, about 20% reside outside of Oregon, but find the list to be a more accurate reflection of the employment scene here than large national jobsboards, such as Monster.com.
“I think hyperlocal is the way everything’s going,” says Hammill. “A lot of big sites don’t do a very good job of that, even when they try. Something like what we’re doing is local from the ground up.”
Prichard’s extensive resume includes stints in city and state government (communications director for Earl Blumenauer’s 1992 run for mayor and speechwriter for Gov. John Kitzhaber during his first term as governor), and work for social agencies and philanthropies. He says Mac’s List grew out of his desire to stay in touch with former colleagues in Salem and Portland and to provide helpful information. As was the case in 2001 when he first started emailing job postings to friends, Mac’s List is a reflection of Prichard’s own areas of interest and expertise.
“Our niche has evolved,” he says. “Originally it was largely communications, but our listings for the past year show we’re heavily represented in the nonprofit, Oregon foundation and public agency sectors. That’s where our relationships are.”
The list, informally known as Mac’s List since its inception, became a weekly newsletter in October 2008. “It went viral,” says Prichard. Subscribers numbered about 100 at the beginning. Three years later there are 8,500 subscribers, with the addition of about 45 to 75 new subscribers every week.
In October 2010 Mac’s List went from being a completely free service to charging employers for job postings, just to recover costs. In a year, paid listings went from six to more than 70. The price of a 30-day job listing ranges from $49 for a small nonprofit to $199 for a for-profit business. Those rates are nearly half the prices charged by some national job boards.
Prichard says people often approach him to thank him personally for a great job found on Mac’s List. Sam Chase, Nick Fish’s former chief-of-staff, was one. “It is a great service,” commented Chase, who found on Mac’s List his current job directing the Coalition of Community Health Clinics.
The steady growth of Mac’s List has Prichard confident that the goal of doubling Mac’s List revenues in a year will be met.
“But it’s also about karma,” he says. “I really do enjoy helping people and always have. The more information I share and the more I give, the more I get back.”