From Freelance Writer To In-House Leader: Meet Aja Frost

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To work freelance or to go in-house? That is the concern.

And the question is harder now more than ever– particularly for content online marketers.

According to our State of SEO 2022, freelancing is a progressively appealing course, with nearly 45% of freelance and agreement participants earning salaries above $75,000 annually.

However that does not suggest it’s the only feasible profession path for content marketers.

In reality, the future looks intense for internal professionals as more companies are discovering methods to incorporate SEO into more comprehensive marketing efforts.

So, which way do you go at the fork in the road?

Gain new insight from this Q&A-style interview with Aja Frost, who started her marketing profession as a freelance writer making a regular monthly earnings of roughly $6,000.

Now, she’s the Director of English Growth at HubSpot, where she assisted its Sales Blog break an 18-month traffic plateau by utilizing an “organic-first” strategy.

Read on as Frost shares her experience of becoming an internal content strategist, go-to SEO techniques, and suggestions for building a rewarding SEO career.

Becoming An Internal Material Strategist

What has it resembled transitioning from a recognized freelance writer to an in-house material strategist?

Aja Frost: “My transition from freelancing to in-house was six years ago, but I remember it was challenging.

I needed to relearn a great deal of my instincts– for instance, your supervisor and colleagues tend to want more frequent/detailed updates than your clients, who typically just appreciate the high level. I was far less autonomous than I ‘d been as a freelancer.

In addition, I had to figure out the characteristics of working inside what, at the time, seemed like a huge organization (~ 1,700 people). Now that sounds small, as HubSpot has 7,000+ employees.”

What unforeseen skill or experience has helped you as a marketing leader and SEO strategist?

AF: “Active listening and observing is probably my most-used skill.

I spend 5 to 6 hours each day in meetings, and having the ability to analyze how somebody is feeling, what they’re stating versus what they’re not stating, if they’re convinced or skeptical, and so on, is extremely important.

To facilitate this, I make Zoom full-screen, hide my own box so I can’t get distracted by my face, and shut off all alerts.

If I remain in a larger group, I keep scanning deals with, so I’m determining everyone’s responses. And I consistently repeat back what I’m hearing so I can challenge my presumptions and make sure I’m interpreting clues properly.”

Go-To Content Tools & Techniques

What is your preferred feature within the HubSpot platform, and why?

AF: “I’m so ecstatic about the complimentary site builder HubSpot released a few months back.

It’s really a drag-and-drop site contractor that’s extremely easy to use (I have actually constructed a few test websites for enjoyable), and it provides totally free web hosting and no charge for linking a custom-made domain.”

What trends are you seeing in how AI effect keyword research? How do you take and turn these trends into topic-cluster-driven search methods?

AF: “AI-driven keyword research study is useful as a foundation.

It’s far faster to utilize a tool to come up with pertinent longer-tail keywords than by hand dig through the SERPs or even Ahrefs outcomes.

However, absolutely nothing beats an SEO’s instinct and competence for determining which keywords belong together in a post and how those posts must be organized into clusters.”

How does globalization affect your planning for material strategy?

AF: “Content that has traffic and demand capacity in several markets will be created in English first and then localized into Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, and/or Japanese for our regional blog sites.

Our localization team is unbelievable; for each piece of content they localize, they’re equating not just the words and significance however matching HubSpot’s design and voice to the target market.

For instance, when localizing an English post to German, the group will change “greatest,” “best in class,” “extraordinary,” and so on with “it’s great, and it will help you.”

A lot of content is developed in-language (indicating the keyword research study is performed in Spanish, and the material is developed in Spanish). This guarantees we address the questions special to our target market.”

What’s the most efficient SEO technique you ‘d suggest to someone wanting to improve the outcomes they are receiving from natural search?

AF: “Concentrate on quality over amount. It’s much more effective to publish one well-written, in-depth piece of content with unique insights and original research study than 10 higher-level, derivative pieces.

If you’re not getting the outcomes you should be when you take a look at your keywords’ target MSV (regular monthly search volume), decrease and spend (way more) time on each post.”

Helping Women Run The SEO World

Any suggestions for SEO freelancers who have a tough time offering themselves with no past customers under their belts for referral?

AF: “Produce samples for hypothetical clients, ask another freelancer if you can do some free keyword research or content development for them in exchange for training and your name on a task, and make sure your website looks expert and your own content method is remarkable.”

What recommendations do you have for a woman pursuing a career in SEO? For a woman aspiring to a leadership function in the market?

AF: “Being a woman in the SEO industry and a female leader in tech is getting a lot easier … however it’s still tough!

My support system has actually been important for helping me vent when I experience sexism, pushing me to handle brand-new difficulties, and brainstorming strategies to get more airtime in meetings, get people to take me seriously, and supporter for myself.

I extremely, extremely suggest developing your network of peers (both inside and outside of your business) to call on.”

What empowers you as a strong female leader?

AF: “I’m empowered by the trust and regard I share with my terrific (or, for German readers, “great”) coworkers and manager. And, of course, the live version of Beyonce’s Formation.”

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Included Image: Courtesy of Aja Frost