Chris Brogan is the CEO of Owner Media Group, through which he provides education and tools—books, speeches, courses, and workshops—to help your business (and you) thrive. In short, Chris teaches you which actions will get you what you want.

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He's a sought-after keynote speaker, and he has consulted global companies, including Disney, Microsoft, Coke, Titleist, Pepsico, Google, Motorola, and others.

He's also the New York Times best-selling author of eight books (and counting), including Trust Agents and The Impact Equation, both written with Julien Smith, as well as The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World Dominators.

I invited Chris back for this special video edition of Marketing Smarts to discuss his forthcoming book, Insider: Strategies and Secrets for Business Growth in the Age of Distractions, as well as his success using content marketing to launch Owner Media Group. I also asked Chris to share his incredibly successful approach to email marketing.

Here are some highlights from my conversation with Chris:

You can easily create online courses to drive new sales or nurture your relationship with existing customers (08:49): "We've had some of the graduates of Online Course Maker [create branded educational content]. It's really fun because people are using it in so many different ways: Some people are using it to make free email subscription auto-responder type drips for marketing, some people are using it for internal training....

"I came up in business in the early '90s, and there was a big push to buy a learning management system in my wireless telecom, so I was the poor soul who had to implement it. It was almost a half a million bucks, and it was a lot of proprietary software, and any type of change we wanted took a huge process to get it done. A lot of people have some sort of bad experience with a learning management system in one old business, or they did one online course from their college back in the dinosaur days.... The other thing that makes Online Course Maker cool is that we're platform-agnostic. We show you some really simple ways to do it, and I think that's where the big win can be: It doesn't have to be so heavyweight. It can be very lightweight and still deliver value to the people who you need to serve."

Start a podcast! It's an "attention asset!" (10:41): "Podcasting is something that I put into a category that I call 'attention assets'—and I tell people to create assets that earn them attention that they can then hopefully convert to people on their newsletter list. Creating attention assets includes podcasting because, out of all the other types of media...podcasting is kind of unique because you could stick an earbud in and be walking around the grocery store. You could have the kid watching their baby TV show...and you could still be listening. You could consume it on your commute or while you're walking the dog, so it's a much more consumable media than text.

"The thing is, it eats much more time, so people's podcast is a half an hour, then it takes a half an hour to consume it.... It's not as fast as reading, especially if you're a fast reader. To me, it's an option that some people use for the wrong reasons. It's an option that some people could use to great benefit if they paid better attention to brevity and to delivering something that matches somebody's particular learning and growth needs....

"What's your business goal? What's the [goal of the] person who's going to consume it? How do you both get something out of it? One of the things that I stuck into the 'how to find more time to blog' post was that point: If you're going to bother writing, it better do something for the person that you serve... it better do something for you. If it doesn't do for both, don't even start writing. I think the same for podcasting or all the other media you create: It has to have some kind of value.

"Some of it could be non-converting media, which means I'm not really trying to sell you something, but it could be an attention asset, which is earning me the right to offer a converting media. I have a 3 to 1 ratio...three 'I'm not really trying to sell you somethings' to one 'I'm going to sell you something.'"

Persistence pays off in email marketing (16:06): "We've learned that everything you hate about email is still accurate.... If I send out a last-call or last-chance type email, it converts massively. So, we'll send out a sales letter on say a Tuesday. We'll send out a reminder...on Thursday. I'll add another one on Sunday. I might send another one Friday before that Sunday newsletter. Say it's a Tuesday to Tuesday cycle, so on Tuesday the 1st I'm starting this mess, and on Tuesday the 8th, I'm trying to reap the rewards. On the 8th, I can send up to three messages if I measure based on who did or didn't open. If you didn't open, I'll send you more mail. It is upwards of between 40 to 80 percent of all the revenue we pick up is on the last day of the last call email."

Don't carry dead weight: Remember to cull your email list (18:20): "My list size is awful small because we cull it all the time. Every six months, we put people on a path that says 'it doesn't look like you're opening these,' and then we give them a little chance to respond to that, and if they don't, we kick them out...because we respect everyone's inbox. We would like people to actually care, and want to use the mail.

Learn more about Chris at and Owner Media Group, or follow him on Twitter at @ChrisBrogan. 

Chris and I talked about much, much more, including how reading comic books at a young age impacted his outlook on business (and life), so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

This episode brought to you by Localytics.


Localytics is a lifecycle engagement platform for web and mobile apps. The company's integrated approach to app marketing and analytics helps customers automate and optimize every stage of the app lifecycle to keep their users engaged and to deliver more personalized experiences. Learn how to better monetize your app by downloading this free eBook! 

Special thanks to production company Candidio, an efficient, affordable video production platform allowing marketers and communicators to collaborate and curate video content, with help from a team of professional, on-demand video editors for the finishing touches. Check them out!

Music credit: Noam Weinstein.

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