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 concern is harder now more than ever– specifically for content online marketers.

According to our State of SEO 2022, freelancing is a progressively attractive path, with nearly 45% of freelance and contract participants making salaries above $75,000 annually.

However that doesn’t suggest it’s the only feasible profession course for content marketers.

In reality, the future looks intense for internal specialists as more organizations are finding methods to incorporate SEO into broader marketing efforts.

So, which way do you address the fork in the road?

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

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

Continue reading as Frost shares her experience of ending up being an internal content strategist, go-to SEO techniques, and ideas for developing a rewarding SEO career.

Becoming An In-House Material Strategist

What has it been like transitioning from an established freelance writer to an in-house content strategist?

Aja Frost: “My shift from freelancing to in-house was 6 years ago, however I remember it was challenging.

I needed to relearn a great deal of my impulses– for example, your manager and teammates tend to desire more frequent/detailed updates than your clients, who generally just appreciate the high level. I was far less self-governing than I ‘d been as a freelancer.

In addition, I needed to determine the characteristics of working inside what, at the time, seemed like a huge company (~ 1,700 people). Now that sounds little, as HubSpot has 7,000+ staff members.”

What unforeseen ability or experience has assisted you as a marketing leader and SEO strategist?

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

I invest five to 6 hours daily in meetings, and having the ability to translate how somebody is feeling, what they’re saying versus what they’re not stating, if they’re persuaded or doubtful, and so on, is extremely important.

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

If I’m in a bigger group, I keep scanning faces, so I’m determining everyone’s responses. And I consistently duplicate back what I’m hearing so I can challenge my assumptions and make certain I’m analyzing ideas correctly.”

Go-To Content Tools & Techniques

What is your favorite function within the HubSpot platform, and why?

AF: “I’m so fired up about the complimentary website contractor HubSpot launched a couple of months back.

It’s actually a drag-and-drop website builder that’s incredibly easy to utilize (I have actually developed a few test sites for enjoyable), and it uses totally free webhosting and no charge for linking a custom domain.”

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

AF: “AI-driven keyword research study is helpful as a structure.

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

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

How does globalization impact your planning for content method?

AF: “Material that has traffic and need capacity in several markets will be created in English initially and then localized into Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, and/or Japanese for our local blogs.

Our localization team is extraordinary; for every piece of material they localize, they’re equating not just the words and meaning however matching HubSpot’s style and voice to the target audience.

For instance, when localizing an English post to German, the group will change “greatest,” “finest in class,” “incredible,” etc with “it’s good, and it will help you.”

A great deal of material is produced in-language (meaning the keyword research study is done in Spanish, and the material is produced in Spanish). This guarantees we answer the concerns special to our target market.”

What’s the most efficient SEO technique you ‘d advise to someone wanting to improve the results they are obtaining from organic search?

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

If you’re not getting the results you must be when you take a look at your keywords’ target MSV (regular monthly search volume), slow down and spend (method more) time on each post.”

Helping Women Run The SEO World

Any pointers for SEO freelancers who have a bumpy ride selling themselves with no past clients under their belts for recommendation?

AF: “Produce samples for hypothetical customers, ask another freelancer if you can do some free keyword research study or material production for them in exchange for training and your name on a task, and ensure your site looks professional and your own material strategy is flawless.”

What recommendations do you have for a woman pursuing a profession in SEO? For a female desiring a leadership function in the industry?

AF: “Being a female in the SEO industry and a female leader in tech is getting a lot much easier … but it’s still difficult!

My support system has been invaluable for helping me vent when I experience sexism, pressing me to take on brand-new obstacles, and conceptualizing methods to get more airtime in conferences, get individuals to take me seriously, and supporter for myself.

I highly, extremely suggest constructing your network of peers (both inside and outside of your business) to get in touch with.”

What empowers you as a strong female leader?

AF: “I’m empowered by the trust and respect I show my terrific (or, for German readers, “good”) colleagues and manager. And, obviously, the live variation of Beyonce’s Development.”

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Featured Image: Courtesy of Aja Frost