Growth Hacking Interview Series #119: James Norquay
James Norquay founded Prosperity Media in 2012 after working in the SEO & Content Marketing space for over 10+ years in Australia and the US.
James started working in digital marketing by developing his own network of content websites which went on to generate well over 22 million unique visitors from organic search with a strong focus on the US market. These websites were later sold on to a US media company.
James then moved into enterprise level consulting working for large businesses such as Virgin Mobile, Optus, David Jones, Woolworths, BWS, Apparel Group, Maurice Blackburn, Slater & Gordon, Travel NT, Citi Bank and many more large scale Australian and global businesses to drive SEO and inbound marketing growth.
James also developed numerous training courses to assist with the SEO development of these large scale businesses.In 2012 James decided it was time to start his own business, this is where the team at Prosperity Media were formed. With the first offices been located in the heart of Sydney's CBD at Pitt Street. The Prosperity Media team works on complex and large scale SEO projects for ASX listed companies, funded start ups, affiliates and mid size business.
How did you start out as a marketer?
I was in school back in 2004 and I was always on car forums, I was chatting to another member of the forum who owned a car wallpaper website who was making several thousand a month with ads and SEO. I chatted with him on I think MSN messenger to learn as much as I could as a 17 year old. Back in 2004 their wasn't much information about digital marketing online so I had to be self taught and tested many different things over the next few years this meant digital blogs, digital forums and networking with people.
I ended up making some decent income from SEO as a youngster via a network of sites I built I had entertainment sites and also a Myspace layout site. I also went to university and studied a e-Marketing course which didn't teach me much though I did make some good contacts who I am still good friends with.
After I spent a few years working on my own sites I went into large agency consulting and also worked in-house at Virgin Mobile as the SEO lead.
Looking back what is your hardest struggle when it came to delivering results?
Working on larger companies can sometimes present delays due to the time it takes to have changes implemented, you could find a technical SEO win which could mean a large traffic increase though it might take 3 months to implement. This is where you have to befriend developers and also work with senior team members to push changes quickly or work out which changes can be made quickly.
How did you get your first client back then, and what kind of service did you do for them?
When I started my agency Prosperity Media one of our first clients was actually via a internet forum, where I shared some blog content on my personal blog and they reached out and asked if we did consulting work.
What do you find most rewarding about what you do?
Usually helping business grow rapidly is a great feeling, we have had several clients businesses get acquired or receive investment rounds on the back of digital growth we have assisted with.
It is also good to give back where possible we run a monthly digital event in Sydney where we donate 100% of the entry costs to a new charity each month.
We have a lot of readers who are bent on becoming freelancers, aside from freelancing how else can someone earn online, and what is your advise?
Freelancing is a good way to earn money though you need to ensure that you are a quality freelancer, theirs 100s of ways to make money online it could be selling items on a eCommerce site, running affiliate ads, selling random things on Fiverr or doing translations of content. My advice is do something you like and you will make a good job out of it.
If you were given the chance to build your career all over again what would you do differently so that you will achieve your dreams faster?
I probably would have left my old job at a agency and started my own business earlier, though that been said working for someone else also provided years of insights on many areas of how large business and medium businesses work.
How is your typical work day structured?
Usually we have a team catch up in the morning, review industry news catch up on emails.
Can you tell us about a time where you had to put in significant effort up front and then wait a long time for success?Probably on some Google penalty recovery sites you work for hours and hours to rebuild a sites link profile, content and fix technical issues and it can take months for Google (example recovery project attached to show you time it can take)
You’ve been tasked with redesigning the company’s brand strategy from the ground up. Walk us through your process.Probably pick a name for the company first, ensure the domain is free on .com and .au
Can you tell us about a past situation where you had to juggle multiple projects with competing deadlines?Every week we have numerous deadlines as we work on numerous clients, the best way to manage deadlines is to ensure you have team members working on projects early to manage projects on Asana or Trello and ensure that things are completed early. Also it is important to set dead lines at realistic timelines for your team members.
What recently-developed marketing strategy, technique or tool interests you the most right now?
Facebook Ads, Snapchat, Linkedin Ads are areas of paid media we are interested in at the moment.
Tools we love using at the moment – Ahrefs, Link Research Tools, Majestic ect.
What do you do to stay up to date with new marketing techniques?
Read blogs like Moz, Search Engine Land, Inbound.org, GrowthHackers.com and also network heavily via Linkedin and private Facebook groups to stay up to date with exclusive content.
Can you tell us about a project you’re most proud of from your past work history?
This project for a client where we increased traffic by 400,000 uniques a month was a good one – https://moz.com/blog/increasing-organic-seo-traffic-by-400000-unique-visitors-a-month
Plus working on many well known brands is a lot of fun also giving back to the community via charitable donations and training many staff over the years is always memorable.
Which one book/blog post would you recommend every Marketer should read?
A good book you should read is – Traction by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares
Blogs just look at Inbound.org and Growth Hackers for the best content weekly.
What advice would you share with other Marketer's who want to become more productive?
Use project management tools like Trello and Asana, keep your calendar filled daily and ensure you get things done.
If there's one Marketing Guru you'd recommend who and why.
I like Wil Reynolds because he has done great things building his agency SEER and I like his view point on specific elements of digital marketing.