You Can’t Talk About Yourself Enough, Apparently

cb012514 I had the most fascinating experience recently. I put out a survey to the subscribers of my newsletter. The very last question on the survey asked whether you’d refer Owner magazine to their friends. Some number of them said, “I would, but I don’t even know the URL.” Others said, “I didn’t know you started a magazine.” And so on.

I swear, to ME, it feels like it’s all I talk about. I tweet almost 30 tweets a day almost every day pointing people to Owner. My About page starts by saying I’m publisher of Owner magazine. Ditto my social media profiles. My LinkedIn profile leads with it. I link to it all the damned time. And yet, people keep saying, “Oh! I didn’t know you were producing a business magazine.”

Think About That

With over a quarter million Twitter followers and almost that many readers of this blog, most people weren’t especially aware of what I do.

How many people follow you? How many people do you tell about your business every day?

Maybe I’ve Got It All Backwards

I’ve said for YEARS that it’s important to talk to people about themselves, to make the story theirs, to put their story first and foremost. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe we DO have to talk about ourselves endlessly. Maybe if we don’t, people just will never really click in what we do, how we do it, and most importantly to the real point, who we serve.

My Strategy As It Has Been

For the last many months, I’ve been sharing the various articles published by the authors of Owner magazine (which I publish, have you heard?). My intent is helping people with the challenges those articles cover.

My New Strategy

Chris Brogan should refer to himself in the third person. More importantly, Chris Brogan the publisher of Owner magazine should refer to himself in the third person.

2014-01-04 08.15.22


And I dunno. Maybe I’ll hire dirigibles to fly around sporting events saying “Chris Brogan publishes Owner magazine, and you really should check out Owner magazine (which Chris Brogan publishes).

What do you think? I publish Owner magazine. It’s . What about you? Do you know that I publish Owner magazine, which I publish? Chris Brogan, that is? runs on the Genesis Framework

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  • Robert Fraser

    Hey Chris I didn’t know you wrote blogs!?

    Just kidding =) Let’s just say with some people you have to reaaaaaaaaally spell things out for them!

    • Paul O’Mahony

      But Robert how many know Chris is a musician & had been for a long time – has even performed with Jacq ( I think) ?

  • JasonFalls

    I think it may also be the opposite problem. When you talk too much, people see you, but don’t hear (or read) you. The volume of our social posts can often drown out our own message, even to a willing audience. That might be a nice way of saying perhaps you’re talking too much — and I think you know I don’t believe that to be true — but it’s at least a thought.

    Think about it this way — I know everything there is to know about me. But 99.9% of the people who follow me on social channels know about 5%. Even if I talk about another 5% incessantly for a week or two, it’s only going to take hold with 10-15% of the audience. The rest are just going to ignore or skim but not comprehend the posts.

    Social is awesome for connecting us to a lot of other people, but it’s not highly efficient. For ever person that reads, understands and “gets” what we post, there are probably 100 that don’t.

    Just two cents.

    • Merlene

      I agree – I find after a while certain “big personalities” in this space – after a while it’s like listening to Charlie Brown’s teacher (mwah mwah wmahhh wahh) – not that it’s boring, not useful or uninformative but often those who’ve listened/followed for a while assume they know the message you’re giving and can skim over it.
      Just my two cents (Canadian) heh

      • Paul O’Mahony

        Some of the Canadians I know have views well worth listening to and sharing.
        Like your phrase “assume they know the message you’re giving:

    • Chris Brogan

      Also worth considering. That’s for sure. At this point, what do I know?

      • SL Clark

        If you don’t know,,, who does? LOL

        Twitter, the last pure social network, meaning giant cocktail party is heading towards content (so far, stream images) and is perplexing. Mention yourself or in some cases others and you get Sparky’s mwah mwah wmahh.

        I’ve spent too much time digesting this nonsense. I’m now building out a MEDIA resource for my Ideal customer. A place I hope they’ll find a visual representation of a real world show: Oh Wow, Oh Wow, Meh, Meh, Oh Wow, Meh.

        From what I’ve seen lately, your recent mag tweets feel 1) weak headlines, not engaging and 2) a “glossy” with no images is what?

        Posting an image into Twitter is a pain, but if I’m following, they can jump out like the Mad Hatter in JLo’s green dress.

        • Paul O’Mahony

          Found it hard to understand your pointe SL. Until I got to “weak headlines, not engaging”

  • johnpiercy

    I know your a very smart man , sorry for pics I took many years ago ;(
    Hope your well Chris ‘n

    • Merlene

      That comment made my day JP (especially after the photos of ME from years gone by that you shared over lunch on Friday!!)

      • johnpiercy

        I take too many pics ;((

        • Merlene

          balderdash – you take the perfect amount of pics

          • Paul O’Mahony

            Reading between the lines Merlene – I guess JP is a very talented photographer?

  • Chris Cavallari – Part Time Va

    I’ve noticed 2 things: 1) Owner seems more like a blog than a magazine. I’m not sure how you’d rectify that, but that’s what it comes off like to me. And as you know, I love the idea of an online magazine, but trying to make people see it for what it is seems to be very difficult.. 2) I’ve seen tons of twitter posts about Owner from you…and that’s about it. There’s little else coming from your feed.

    • Chris Brogan

      It comes out once a month with 24 or so articles written by different authors. mag·a·zine
      a periodical publication containing articles and illustrations, typically covering a particular subject or area of interest.

      • Chris Cavallari – Part Time Va

        I know what a magazine is. The problem is, due to the nature of web publishing, the site itself doesn’t come across as what people see as a “magazine,” meaning people tend to think of a magazine in terms of a printed hard copy. The OWNER site *looks* like a blog. But that observation doesn’t help you with your question of how to get more eyeballs on it. If I knew that, I’d be as popular as you!

      • Hugh Briss

        Using that definition the words blog and magazine are interchangeable. The difference being that calling it a magazine automatically makes people think of print. I don’t think the word magazine is appropriate either unless you stick the word “online” in front of it, and yet that’s what a blog is, it’s just that this one is only updated twice a month. And that brings me to the possible issue here. Do people really want to read a “magazine” twice a month and try to slog through 24 articles or would they rather read a couple posts a day?

        • Paul O’Mahony

          Alternatively some like to have a place they can easily dig into whenever. I’ve gone back to stuff published months ago. Also it’s a place I can meet like-minded people – and hopefully some views ~I don’t like on first reading

        • Scott Ayres

          Yeah I agree with you there Hugh.. I want to read an article or 2 max per day from a site, not 24 at once.

  • MikeSansone

    You know Chris Brogan? Very cool! I dig Owner Mag.

    I remember when Fast Company came out – it was about the fourth or fifth issue when it started to catch a buzz around the cubicles. Even then, I’d ask someone how they liked this piece or that rant and they said they hadn’t heard about the magazine – and yet they had a stack of past issues under their desk (which is why I brought it up).

    And I really did do the survey, but not for the prize. Stay contagious and courageous.

    • Chris Brogan

      Very generous comparison. : )

      • Paul O’Mahony

        Can I still do the survey? Love surveys? Can’t remember whether I’ve done it already :)

  • SteveBostic

    I’m relatively new to social media but have found it’s focus on “content first” and not “pushing a personal selling agenda” very interesting. In most areas of life, the smart and aggressive self promoter gets out ahead. WAY out ahead.
    As a relative “outsider” to the social media process, my guess is that you MUST be legitimate, offer value, and avoid arrogant behavior…but, if your legit and offer value, some “tooting of your own horn” will get you ahead a lot faster than waiting for others to recognize what your doing.

    • Chris Brogan

      Seems to be true, STeve. : )


    Chris … now, I’m sure “generational” influences come to bear on this, but when I hear/read the term “Business Magazine”, I think of a print product, probably in a rack in an airport shop. When people are surprised to hear that you’re “publishing a business magazine”, I’m guessing that’s what they’re imagining.

    I’m probably too old to ever get comfortable with the idea that a web site IS a magazine … although the whole biz is heading in that direction. The “magazine experience” for me is in a whole different category than “the web experience”, and reading stuff online is a “chore” that I have to do to keep up with various things, and rarely a “pleasure” or “diversion” (or “bathroom distraction” ala the classic location of a year or more of National Geographic).

    Maybe GenY folks would think of Owner as “a magazine”, but for a lot of us it’s another web resource, not a standard web site, not a blog in particular, but still, not what comes to mind under the label “magazine” … and I suspect that this is what’s causing your disconnect, rather not talking about it enough!

    • Chris Brogan

      All the paper magazine people WISH they could be only digital. They spend upwards of $100K a month in churn shipping, receiving, and eventually pulping issues the folks haven’t purchased.

    • Paul O’Mahony

      I’d say BTRIPP that the ambiguity you highlight may be a strong point for some – Owner isn’t the same as other magazines. It’s not the same as other resources. It’s a complex intervention – which Chris has explained in Owner recently seem to remember

  • Ileane

    It’s hard to keep up. You – Chris Brogan – are already an established brand. People don’t feel the need to recognize “Owner” as a brand since it’s the new kid on the block. Why would anyone who already follows you read your bio or your about page? As far as Tweets go – people are waiting for you to Tweet about THEM not your new project.

    Personally, I only follow your podcast and I’m still not sure which direction you’re going with it. That’s the only reason I happened to look at your Twitter stream to see if you released a new episode.

    Keep up the good work and eventually people will catch on to Owner and even if they don’t, everyone knows Chris Brogan so it’s still a win.

    • Chris Brogan

      Great feedback, so thank you. : )

    • Paul O’Mahony

      Serious attractive thinking Ileane – wish I could award you six points up the ladder

  • Konrad W Gorak

    well, i had no idea … ;)

    • Chris Brogan

      Many haven’t. Beats me. I swear I seem to never shut up about it. : )

      • Konrad W Gorak

        I can relate. I remember organizing social media event in Central Europe, i was involved in this event for more than 6 months and i was also the main speaker. I’ve sent some invitation to my friends and followers, and after they saw me on the stage that night, they all were shocked telling me they didn’t even know I was involved in social media business ;) Classic fail :)

        • Paul O’Mahony

          Another great story – thanks Konrad

  • Milos

    Those who truly follow your work and are not simply numbers on your lists of followers do know of your latest endeavor. They also wish you luck and attentively watch what will it develop into and what you will do next. Good luck, Chris!

    • Chris Brogan

      Thanks, Milos. I appreciate it.

      • Sheree Martin

        What Milos said (as for my personal take on Owner Magazine, in contrast to my snarky comment about “welcome to the college professor’s club”).

    • Paul O’Mahony

      +1 Milos

  • Steve Brogan

    I like the dirigibles part myself.

    • Chris Brogan

      Well thanks. : )

    • Paul O’Mahony

      Steve – I must look up that word. And before I meet you – I better read more widely

  • Mitch Jackson

    Mitch Jackson thinks Chris Brogan should toot his own horn so that more people hear Chris Brogan’s success song :-)

    • Paul O’Mahony

      Paul O’Mahony think Mitch Jackson & Paul O’Mahony should toot Chris Brogan’s horn for obvious reasons :)
      Good to see your poetic side being used Mitch

      • Mitch Jackson

        Hey Paul- Hope your day is going well :-)

        • Paul O’Mahony

          As I think you know Mitch – you made my day

  • Nick Lynch

    Every time I see your name anywhere it’s usually a post from you about your new magazine. It’s kind of interesting how some of your audience didn’t know about it, I even remember the months leading up to its debut, you never stopped pushing it. Other than being interested about what you have to say, I have no reason to read it and I haven’t lately due to my own busy life but the fact is, even I know about your magazine. You’re doing good work regardless, so don’t let this bother you :)

  • schneidermike

    wait, YOU’RE CHRIS BROGAN?!?!!!?!!?!?!?

  • Tania Shipman

    Who are you again? What do you have? A magazine you say – AMAZING!

    That’s just crazy that you had to even write this post. Chris Brogan – Owner Magazine – it’s part of who you are now. I know about it, enjoy it and recommend it.

  • Mike Brooks

    There is a lot going on in everyone’s lives. People have to constantly filter in and out more and more things. Sometimes things they want get accidentally filtered out.

    For example, I knew you had a magazine and have been wanting to check it out. However, I put it off until another time and then before you know it, I forget about it completely. I know, hard to believe.

    I belong to a local networking group that meets weekly. Every meeting each of us takes 60 seconds to tell the group about our business and what kind of referral we’d like.

    The one’s who get the most out of these groups, understand it takes a ton of impressions to get the message through to a person. People need to hear/see things a lot before they make whatever connection they’re bound to make.

    After one of the meetings one of the members came up to me and said they didn’t realize I also do websites. They had only heard me say that I do that about 45 times. The 45th time was the charm.

    Thanks for the reminder though… gotta go check out the magazine now.

    • Paul O’Mahony

      I’ve heard BNI criticised because while you are presenting, most people are preparing for their 60 seconds & only pay attention when their name is heard

  • Tania Shipman

    Who are you again? What do you have? A magazine you say – AMAZING!

    That’s just crazy that you had to even write this post. Chris Brogan – Owner Magazine – it’s part of who you are now. I know about it, read it and recommend it

    • Paul O’Mahony

      Ah, got a new idea while reading you Tania. Maybe Chris is being devious? Maybe he’s using the old Platonic method? Raising an issue we all have & personalising it so he can make it arresting? If he’s crazy – maybe I’m too?

  • Sheree Martin

    Now you know what it feels like to be a college professor.

    I can provide a detailed typed, bulleted assignment guide with color-coded, bolded-and-highlighted key information and then explain orally 25 times and still get questions like: When is this due? Can I email it? Does it have to be typed? What?

  • Charles H. Green

    Chris, as far as I’m concerned, you are THE MAN when it comes to principle #1 of successful long-term high-value promotion on the blogosphere, which is – talk about others, not yourself. If you do that, enough glory will eventually get reflected back on you.

    Fame etc is a by product. Once you make it a goal, it all goes to hell.

    I learned that from you. So my advice is, keep the faith baby. Keep promoting the content within Owner, and eventually people will absorb it, and better than if you succumb to merely bleating “Me Chris Brogan Owner.”

    Your brand quality so far exceeds self-promoters that I hate the thought that you’re even troubled by the affliction that is A.D.D. in our online society. Sure you’re not immune to its effects but like I said, keep the faith baby. You’re doing fine.

    • Paul O’Mahony

      Charles, I was nodding all through your comment. When I read your word “eventually” I smiled. Maybe Chris is concerned about his mortality? A human trait I think (at a certain age)?
      Above all it was great to see you come back to Chris with his own message which you’ve clearly made your own. Thank you

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  • Andrzej Tucholski

    Hire a Zepplin with huge “OWNER MAGAZINE – IT’S REAL” on the sides. Zeppelin is always a good idea :)

    • Paul O’Mahony

      Smiling – definite role for humor. Maybe Chris should be more of a joke?

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  • Hana Kazazovic

    I know because I really read what you write :)

    • Paul O’Mahony

      Lovely way you put it

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  • Dan Perez

    With all the self promotion already happening on social media – maybe people just tune that sort of thing out. Or maybe they just don’t care…

  • Lee C

    I have worked with my present company since 2001 in the web development department. It seems that even those who have known me a long time, work with me on many community products, don’t know who I work for in my small town. And I have always shared what I do and who I work for. Seems people just hear what they want to hear… even when you think they are listening.

  • Rex Williams

    That’s okay, the other day I had to explain to someone what Zappos was.
    I think the problem is that you’ve had an established brand for a while, and now you’re doing something new, so it’s hard for people switch that in their minds.
    Plus, the comments you get like that are outliers. How many people didn’t say anything like that? I’m sure more people know about it than don’t.
    And the post was hilarious. Loved it, Mr. Chris Brogan Magazine Owner of Owner Magazine.

    • Paul O’Mahony

      Rex – I’m a poet who’s published the longest epic poem ever written about the state of Ireland in November 2009 (142 pages). Chris has read it all. (it’s in Kindle store)
      I put a text blog version, an audio version + a million tweets + Facebook too. Just when I was sure it was time to stop, as I was even feeling embarrassed people were thinking – he-s a spammer, a friend/acquaintance of mine in Cork (where I live) passed by. We chatted & I mentioned I’d been writing more poems. She said ” I never know you were a poet” – just like you and Zappos eh?
      I was shocked. Taught me a handy lesson (again) – people care about their own stuff.
      So how can Chris make his stuff their stuff?
      Guess that’s why Chris Brogan, author, owner of a magazine for people who want to make more money & friends (+ help others change the world), sort of Buddhist, ex-musician, fitness freak & f…in fantastic generous friend?

  • Neil Ashworth

    I’m on your email list. I read your emails. I follow you on Twitter. I’ve bought your books. I still don’t know enough about you Chris

    • Paul O’Mahony

      Neil you influenced me to share the video Chris & I made recently – designed to introduce Chris to Ireland. It’s in moderation because there’s a link there for you & everyone to use. Thanks v much

      • Neil Ashworth

        Very cool Paul.. I look forward to seeing it. Are you introducing Chris to Ireland or Ireland to Chris? either way, I’m sure it’s worthwhile and could well be the making of many more stories ;-)

        • Paul O’Mahony

          Chris knows more about Ireland – especially Cork comedians – than anyone suspects, I suspect. That’s proved during the 60 mins (in 3 parts) video on YouTube.
          Just thinking – Here’s the link to my ChangeAgents Branding Channel. But (though I wrote it) the text of the blogpost is worth reading.

          What I think I’ll do is post the two links in a separate comment to Chris’s post – that should be make sure it gets to all those interested – good idea Neil?

          • Neil Ashworth

            Paul – see my last reply once it gets approved – I think you’ll like the video I sent over for Chris :)

          • Paul O’Mahony

            Neil – really looking forward to that. I hoped to share the link to my chat with Chris & the blogpost. But ran out of energy due to other stuff

          • Paul O’Mahony

            Neil I bet Chris gets a ton of spam here. So it must take them ages to sort the good links from the shyte.
            Very happy to email you the link to my conversation with Chris & to have your video for Chris. I’m paulatchangeagentsdotie

        • Paul O’Mahony

          Don’t tell anyone Neil – top secret – I’m hoping to find a way to smuggle Chris Brogan into Ireland for an event I’ve not finished designing, sharing, marketing & selling :)

    • Paul O’Mahony

      Also love your “enough”

  • Real Estate Trending

    I think you’re mixing two distinct segments of your audience – new clients/prospects and existing. Those of us who have followed you for a long time think we know who you are and what you’re doing, even when we don’t (owner what?) We aren’t reading profiles and we aren’t doing due diligence. We know, like and trust you, but we’re busy. If you want us to know something disruptive about yourself, I daresay you will have to hit us over the head.

    • Paul O’Mahony

      Love your phrase “If you want us to know something disruptive about yourself” – think I’ll borrow that

  • Michael Reynolds


    I have learned that 99% of people in the world (made-up statistic) simply don’t pay attention to stuff. Or at least they have a very narrow scope of what they do pay attention to.

    I am well aware of Owner magazine, I followed it since it launched and before that I listened to your podcast (which i very much enjoyed). However, I tend to pay close attention to everything that I subscribe to. When I subscribe to a blog, I at least skim every single article.

    I also tend to keep my email well organized and “Inbox Zero” which means I typically don’t “miss” anything.

    Now all this is not to say that I’m so awesome/organized or anything, but I do think I’m in the minority. Most people seem to struggle to keep up with their email, let alone read every blog post or update that they see.

    Because of this, I do think it’s important to repeat your message over and over. It’s the same with a team of employees. “Vision leaks” so you have to keep reinforcing the message.

    • Paul O’Mahony

      Wow – “I also tend to keep my email well organized and “Inbox Zero” which means I typically don’t “miss” anything.”
      We are so different – I’d love to meet you:)

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  • doncad

    Ha! Had a dream of the Chris Brogan last night. You were in your 20′s and self-promoting. Maybe it means I need to work on that!

    • Chris Brogan


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  • Takis Athanassiou

    Apparently, most people have an attention deficit, but this give and a measure about the audience everybody address himself. I’m not quite sure that more promotion is the solution. the problem is not related to the information or to the sequence of the information. As an e-Learning and instructional design worker I know for sure that first you have educate someone on the core (essential) staff and later to try to enhance his knowledge/abilities/skills. By all cost you should avoid the trap of obvious (there is none, what I believe as “apparently” is not the same as the ones you believe, least alone the cognitive matrix of common premises of the different cultures!). Excellent thoughts Chris and excellent intuition. Thanks for sharing.

    • Chris Brogan

      Doubt it is. : )

      • Takis Athanassiou

        Sometimes, I think, that you should repeat some info and data bit you want to be remain in the conscience of your readers!. It is not always easy to write for a large and diversified crowd, but you have always in mind that you right for your “ideal” core readers (your tribe, segment of market or whatever else you want to call it!) at first and foremost. Just an idea, but I believe it is too difficult to employ a “catch all” policy in writing and marketing, without creating flaws and problems in the communication. Thank you Chris for the reply.

  • Jeff Johnson

    sounds like a good time for a SuperBowl Commercial to get your message out…

    • Chris Brogan

      Good plan!

  • Scott Ayres

    I knew you had launched a new site/blog. But wouldn’t consider it a “magazine” Just assumed you were re-branding your blog. Although I liked the Human Business Works stuff better personally.

  • Bill Zahn

    You’ve talked about your great ability to be an overnight success in the past. I imagine OwnerMag will be much the same. Keep posting great content and people will make their way over to Owner, especially with all the great authors you have there.

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