How Greg Hickman Created a Successful Blog in Under a Year

Greg Hickman is the blogger and podcaster behind Mobile Mixed, a mobile marketing resource for businesses. In addition to providing a wealth of free materials through his site and podcast, Greg works directly with businesses and entrepreneurs as a strategist and consultant.

Though it might seem that Greg has been at work as a blogger and podcaster for years (to be fair, he has been in the mobile marketing business since 2005), Mobile Mixed was only about a year old when we interviewed him in July 2013. Below are the highlights of our Skype exchange, which cover various tactics that have contributed towards Greg’s speedy success as a blogger and online professional, as well as basic tips about mobile marketing.

How to Create a Successful Blog and Business

Greg HickmanFour factors played a significant role in Greg’s success:

  • Creating his own work instead of obsessively reading the work of others
  • Creating a resource that was useful to him personally
  • Singling out and getting to know one person whose online career he wished to emulate
  • Getting involved with various online communities and other digital publications

The Importance of Just Getting Started

Greg acknowledged a habit many people interested in starting their own blogs and ventures develop: that of consuming large amounts of information, then suffering from analysis paralysis.

After a certain amount of time, one simply has to stop reading and start creating. Greg encourages aspiring bloggers to unsubscribe from distracting newsletters, stop reading others' work obsessively, stop feeling intimidated by other bloggers who seem incredibly successful (you might overtake them sooner than you think), and focus instead on creating and publishing content.

The more content you have on your blog, the more useful it becomes. People will end up spending longer periods of time on your site and your reputation will begin to grow. There is no way you will be able to get started without first creating content.

Create the Type of Resource You Would Personally Want to Use

Greg's initial goals with Mobile Mixed were entirely personal: he felt that there were not many new resources available to him when it came to mobile marketing, so he decided to begin interviewing mobile marketing experts and documenting his findings online.

The blog and podcast provided Greg with justification when reaching out to interview subjects, and ultimately enabled him to establish some great new relationships (plus learn a great deal). Just by getting these interviews with experts, Greg got everything he had wanted- new information and the excuse to interview highly qualified professionals. Growing attention and interest in his work was icing on the cake.

Greg also acknowledged how important consistency would be to him as a viewer and took his blog seriously, making sure that he had a new post and podcast up every week. He only missed his deadline once (and even then, published the podcast only one day late) and now has controls in place that drastically reduce the odds of him missing a slot in the future.

Choose a Mentor

In addition to steamrolling through the publishing process and creating a valuable resource, Greg recommends finding a professional who is in much the same position (re: lifestyle, earnings, positioning within the media, expertise... whatever) that you wish to be in yourself, then getting to know him or her on a personal level.

Greg's professional ideal is exemplified by Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income. Greg reached out to him a couple of times with short, non-demanding questions and was transparent and genuine in asking for help. Pat turned out to be incredibly open and helpful, offering useful answers and even meeting up with him at New Media Expo in Las Vegas and introducing him to a myriad of other useful professionals.

The help and guidance Greg has received from both following Pat's example and getting direct help from him has saved hours- if not weeks- of work.

Get Involved

Greg attributes a great portion of his fast success to the guest posts he has made on others' blogs and especially guest appearances he has made on major podcasts. These appearances were made possible thanks to his involvement with various blogs and online communities, plus his willingness to network and build relationships with other bloggers and professionals he admires.

Tips on Providing Coaching Services Online

Greg has taken two particularly noteworthy approaches when it comes to providing services through his site:

  • His services ain't cheap
  • He clearly marks the prices of his services and makes them available for immediate purchase

Opting for Higher Prices

Both Greg and his colleagues have found that higher prices:

  • Weed out the types of customers who take up the most time and complain the most
  • Lead to customers who are truly committed to the services you provide and serious about their work
  • Enable you to have a fewer number of high quality clients instead of a large number of clients with varying levels of commitment

Making Prices Available

Generally speaking, Greg has found that most coaching services online come with an up front price tag whereas consulting service prices are established via private negotiation. That said, the perks of  offering fixed, up front prices to both consulting and coaching clients include:

  • An ability to instantly weed out potential clients who would not be very committed to your services and are not willing to pay for your services
  • Reduced time spent negotiating prices
  • More control over the configuration of your services (which is helpful if you, like Greg, have a very full plate as it is)

Advice on Mobile Marketing

As Greg has been working on mobile marketing since 2005, we were sure to ask him for some advice on the pursuit (though you can of course find loads more helpful information on Greg's blog), specifically with regard to the importance of mobile marketing and common mistakes people make in the mobile marketing field.

Your most important takeaways with regard to mobile marketing should be that:

  • Your website must be optimized for mobile
  • Your website must be properly optimized for mobile (just using a mobile-friendly template doesn't mean you're in the clear)
  • You should make a point of considering the experience you provide through mobile devices whenever creating developing or designing new interfaces
  • It is worthwhile to become familiar with mobile SEO as well as various mobile marketing options (e.g. mobile paid search campaigns, text message campaigns, mobile advertising, mobile-optimized videos, etc.)

Why is Mobile Marketing Important

  • Nearly everything online now has a mobile component
  • Around 80% of web traffic comes to business through search and email; a huge portion of searching and email checking takes place on mobile devices
  • Increased mobile use, even by older demographics, is inevitable
  • Extremely important demographics, such as mothers, are amongst those with the highest smartphone usage rates
  • Mobile devices are commonly used to access retail sites

Common Mistakes People Make with Mobile Marketing

  • Not having a mobile friendly website: in addition to giving users a bad experience (which may drive customers to your competitors) websites that are not optimized for mobile devices may lead your website to be penalized by Google, which is incorporating an increased emphasis on proper mobile optimization into its search algorithms
  • Ignoring mobile marketing entirely: given the points brought up above, this is not a great idea